Thursday, May 15, 2014

Celtics Draft 2014: Breaking Down Pick 17

Finally, after a season long tank fest the winner of the NBA Draft Ping-Pong-Ball-Palooza will be announced and awarded the # 1 pick on May 20th. The annual tradition of rewarding teams that showed true determination and grit to really suck during the regular season with a hope for a brighter future is upon us. The Boston Celtics for the first time in 6 years have a watchful eye on the Draft Lottery They ended the season with the 5th worst record in the league and a 10.3% chance at the #1 overall pick.  So even though the Celtics most valuable pick in the 2014 draft is still in flux, the Celtics still hold the 17th pick as a parting gift from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. (Thanks Guys!!) For right now, let’s forget about the potential top 3 pick for a minute and really take a look at the pick we know.  

Pick number 17 is usually very hit or miss; just look back at recent NBA history. Here’s the last ten # 17 picks :
Dennis Schroeder (2013) - too soon to tell
Tyler Zeller (2012) - NBA Body, 8th or 9th guy
Iman Shumpert (2011) - Great role player on a good team
Kevin Seraphin (2010) - sucks unless he plays against the Celtics 82 games a year – he’d average 50 ppg.
Jrue Holliday (2009) - All Star
Roy Hibbert – (2008) - All Star
Sean Williams (2007) - Bust
Shawne Williams (2006) - Bust
Danny Granger (2005) - All Star
Josh Smith (2004) - All Star

So with the 17th pick there is a 40% chance of drafting an All Star, and strangely enough a 20% chance of drafting somebody named Sean/Shawne Williams.  The Celtics finding an All Star in this particular draft at pick 17 may actually a tad higher than that. It is probably one of the deepest drafts in the past 10 years with a lot of intriguing prospects that are projected to be mid first round picks. 

Here are a few I would have my sights set on if I was Danny Ainge.

TJ Warren – NC State  6’ 8” 225lbs  PF   Soph

2013-14 Stats:  24.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 spg

T.J. Warren was the 3rd leading scorer in the NCAA last season.  He can flat out score the basketball, and has shown a ton of improvement in his all-around game from his freshman to sophomore year.  Warren has an NBA ready body, and still has the ability to get bigger. He is very good at attacking the defense and can make a living in the NBA on getting to the hoop and going to the line. Warren is a very efficient player on the offensive end and is in the process of polishing up the rest of his game to become more of a complete player.

Warren is a typical tweener at 6’8” but isn’t really meant for the low post, and there are questions about his exact position is in the pros. He’ also not the fastest person on the court and that lack of quickness is why he is dropping in many mock drafts to a mid-first round grade. 

Warren proved that he was a gamer in the NCAA Tournament. He scored 25 and 28 points respectively in his two tourney appearances and shot 50 % from the field. Warren proved he is not just a scorer for hire, he was great on the defensive end in both games.  Warren’s best game of the year, however, was against our own Eagles of Boston College. He put up 42 pts, 13 rebs, 3 steals and shot 60 percent from the floor. Absolute BEAST MODE.

NBA Comparison: Glenn Robinson, Caron Butler  

Jerami Grant: Syracuse - 6’8”  215lbs SF  Soph.

2013-2014 Stats:  12.4ppg  6.8rpg  1.3apg 

To sum up Jerami Grant in three words, I would say Raw, Raw, and Raw. Grant is a physical freak,  6’8” with a 7’2” wingspan , aka GMs dream.  He can jump out of the building defend any frontcourt position and really has an active motor on the court. He is very much so a work in progress though, as is with most “pure athletes” that enter the draft. Grant has trouble shooting the ball even with mid-range jumpers. He is going to have to work on his offensive game in the half court set, but is very dangerous in transition.  He also loves slashing to the rim and drawing fouls, some may say because he doesn’t have a jumper so what else can he do, but still; he does this with reckless abandon.
Grant made a huge leap from his freshman to sophomore year. He nearly quadrupled his production and proved to be a valuable member of the Syracuse zone defense.  Against Duke, Grant posted 25 points and 13 boards in 40 mins in an overtime win for the Cuse to keep their then unbeaten streak alive. He shot 7-11 from the field and made all ten of his free throw attempts. It was his only real break out game of the year where he filled the stat sheet, but Grants game isn’t so much meant for the box score, he affects the games in different ways on the court.

NBA Comparison – Darius Miles, Thaddeus Young, Hakeem Warrick

Adreian Payne- Michigan State  6’10” 245lbs  PF/C  Senior

2013-2014 Stats :  16.4 ppg 7.3 rpg  1.0 bpg

Adriean Payne is a man child. He is a NBA sized center that can bang down low and also shoot the outside shot with efficiency.  Offensively he has all the tools you look for from your big man.  Along with his size and polished offensive game he is a freak of an athlete for his size. (See video below)

Where Payne needs to improve is on the defensive end, he has trouble guarding bigger players and is apt to get pushed around. Also he is a little slow in rotations and probably will need to be coached intensely at the next level on defense.

In the NCAA Tournament, Payne exploded for 41 points in the first round against Delaware.  Payne was 17-17 from the line, 10-15 from the field including 4 triples. Yes, it was against Delaware, but it was the NCAA Tournament and he truly dominated on the offensive end.

Payne is a great dude off the court too. It has been well documented his relationship with a young girl with cancer who he brought to as many Michigan State games and texted and talked every day until she unfortunately passed away too young.  He has a great head on his shoulders and is definitely mature enough to handle the NBA Lifestyle.

NBA Comparison - Chris Bosh, Andray Blatche

James Young – Kentucky  6’7” 213lbs  SF/SG Fr.

2013-2014 Stats :  14.3 ppg  4.3rpg  1.7 apg  

Bold Prediction time : James Young is going to be the best NBA player from Kentucky drafted this year.
Julius Randle will be drafted before Young, but If Young falls out of the lottery and is available at pick 17 as he is in a few mock drafts, the Celtics would be foolish to pass him up.

James Young is your prototypical NBA swingman. He can play either the 2 or 3 and has a really smooth offensive game. He has shown the ability to drain the outside shot, even though his 35 percent from behind the college arc last year doesn’t scream out sharpshooter, he definitely has the range. Young also is an athlete that has demonstrated quickness and really unique silky offensive game that makes him very intriguing as an NBA player. 

The regular season was middle of the road for Young, but when it came to NCAA Tourney Time he stepped his game up big time and was one of the main reasons that Kentucky made it to the NCAA finals as an 8 seed.  Even though Aaron Harrison may have been Mr. Big Shot, Young was the most consistent player during that run. 

NBA Comparison: Joe Johnson, Jimmy Butler

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