Boston Celtics 2017 NBA draft profile
Welcome to the first day of The Game Haus’ NBA Draftmas. We held an NFL Draftmas for the NFL Draft and wrote a draft profile for every NFL team. We will be doing the same with the NBA draft, starting with the Boston Celtics, who have the first pick.
Boston Celtics NBA Draft Summary
The Boston Celtics have been improving over the last several years. In the last three years, they have finished with the seventh, fifth and first seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Despite being the top seed, it is highly unlikely they get past the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers. Clearly Boston has some things they can improve on.
Offensively, the Celtics finished seventh in the league in points at an average of 108 per game. They also controlled the ball very well. They tied for third most in assists per game with 25.2 and were also third in the league with an assist-to-turnover ratio of two.
Defensively, Boston was in the middle when it came to opponent points per game. They ranked 15th at 105.4 for a point differential of 2.6, which ranked eighth in the league.
One thing they could have done better is rebound the basketball. Only three teams had less rebounds per game than the Celtics’ 42 per game. There were also plenty of opportunities for rebounds as the Celtics ranked 16th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 45.4 percent. This is uncharacteristic of a Brad Stevens team.
One other thing to look at is individual play. Isaiah Thomas was the Eastern Conference’s top scorer at 28.9 points per game. After him, they do not really have a second scorer to rely on. Avery Bradley averaged 16.3 a game, but is more known for his defense. Al Horford averaged 14, but has never been a big-time scorer in his career. Most of the league’s top teams have two guys capable of putting up a ton of points, and Boston lacks a second.
Through the draft, Boston should try to add another scoring option and some help with rebounding.
Celtics’ Picks and Needs
The Celtics have four picks in this draft.
First Round: No. 1 (from Brooklyn)
Second Round: No. 37 (from Minnesota via Phoenix), 53 (from Cleveland) and 56 (from L.A. Clippers)
The first overall pick is going to be used to get an impact player and a second scoring option for Thomas to work with. The other three could go multiple directions. These are some guys the Celtics could benefit from drafting.
Scorer: Most top teams have two scorers with 20-points-per-game potential. Boston does not have that.
Rebounder: Boston ranked low in rebounds with plenty of opportunities to grab some. Possibly something they can address in the second round.
Celtics’ Targets and Thoughts
Let’s take a look at the options Boston has with their first-round pick.
Pick #1: Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Almost every mock draft you read has Fultz going first, and there is a reason for that. The 6-foot-4 point guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game in his one year at Washington. He also shot 41.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Fultz has the scoring ability Boston needs. In time, he can develop into an impact player that can help score alongside Thomas.
Thomas is also set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. While he does not seem interested in leaving at the moment, Boston needs to do everything they can to keep him. Giving him more weapons on offense surely helps them. In the event that Thomas does leave, Fultz should be ready to take over as the franchise player.
The other option with the pick is to trade it. Some analysts believe Boston needs to build a team to win now that can defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers. Rumors have swarmed in the past about Boston trading for a superstar like Paul George or Jimmy Butler as well.
However, it may be better to let Fultz develop within the young team. The Cavs are a lot older than Boston. Isaiah Thomas is 28. Avery Bradley is 26. Al Horford is 30. Last year’s third overall pick Jaylen Brown is 20. Gerald Green is their oldest player at 31.
The bottom line is Boston is young. They can afford to wait three to four years for their guys like Brown and Fultz to develop into studs next to Thomas, Horford and Bradley. By then the Cavs should be on the decline. Trading for a superstar now wouldn’t be the worst thing to do with the first overall pick, but trying to beat the Cavs right now in the postseason seems nearly impossible.
Fultz is the best option. Drafting anybody else would be selling themselves short and trading the pick does not make sense when looking at the bigger picture.
Boston has two options with the first pick. They can trade it for an impact player now, or draft one like Markelle Fultz. It all depends on how confident they are in Fultz and if they are willing to let their young team develop and wait for the Cavaliers to get old so they can overtake them. They do already have a point guard, but there is not anybody else that compares to Fultz’s talent. Playing him at shooting guard alongside Thomas would make a scary backcourt.
Thank you for joining us on our first day of TGH NBA Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the draft profile for the Los Angeles Lakers!
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