GBB Community Mock Draft: Boston Celtics Pick #17

USA TODAY Sports

Dekebarron once again selects for the Celtics. Who will he pair with Noah Vonleh?

Previous Picks: #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16
Team and Draft Order Representative GM Player Selected
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers Chris Faulkner Andrew Wiggins
#2 Milwaukee Bucks Kwhittington Joel Embiid
#3 Philadelphia 76ers KellyMelvina Jabari Parker
#4 Orlando Magic BluesCityJoe Dante Exum
#5 Philadelphia 76ers (from UTA) KellyMelvina Aaron Gordon
#6 Boston Celtics Dekebarron Noah Vonleh
#7 LA Lakers Tonyallenismyhomeboy Marcus Smart
#8 Chicago Bulls (from SAC) Chip Williams Julius Randle
#9 Charlotte Hornets Andrew Ford Nik Stauskas
#10 Utah Jazz (from PHI) Jmxisnext Adreian Payne
#11 Denver Nuggets VancouverGrizz Gary Harris
#12 Atlanta Hawks (from ORL) Matt Hrdlicka Dario Saric
#13 Phoenix Suns (from MIN) Adam Rubrum Rodney Hood
#14 Memphis Grizzlies (from MIN) Joe Mullinax Doug McDermott
#15 Orlando Magic (from ATL) BluesCityJoe Kyle Anderson
#16 Chicago Bulls Chip Williams T.J. Warren

Wow! What an action packed draft we've had so far. Despite having tons of financial flexibility and two first rounders this year, and many more coming in future drafts, the Celtics have decided to stand pat and make both selections (#6 and #17). For a refresher on what the Celtics, as run by yours truly for the purposes of this discussion, did with the #6 pick and the rationale behind it, you can simply click here.

Much like the #6 pick, the Celtics could go a few different directions here based on who is left on the board. USA Today cited power forward, shooting guard/wing players, and point guard as positions of need for the C's. Power forward was taken care of at 6 with the selection of Vonleh, so based on need the Celtics would be looking to add a wing player or a point guard here, which really works out based on the board.  Let's take a look at a couple of prospects at each position of need that are left on the board before we make the pick.

Wings

1.     Zach LaVine- Standing at almost 6'6 with a 6'8 wingspan, LaVine is an interesting player here because of how well he'd pair in the backcourt with Rajon Rondo. LaVine isn't ready to step in day 1 and dominate on the wing, but given the Celtics' current roster, LaVine could really be finding his groove by the time the team is ready to make some noise in the East. LaVine has great range, shooting 37% from 3 on the season, even taking into account an ice cold finish to his season that saw him go just 6 for his last 31. LaVine is also a capable midrange shooter, both off the dribble and coming off of screens. He has tremendous athleticism and projects well down the road. LaVine will need to work on his passing skills and his defense to become an elite NBA player, but the Celtics have time for him to work on those aspects of his game.

2.     James Young- Standing at nearly 6'7 with an incredible 7'0 wingspan, Young has the ability to play either wing position in the NBA. Young was a highly touted prospect heading into college, but many would say he left a lot to be desired in his one year at UK. Young is among the youngest players in the draft, as he won't turn 19 until August. While he possesses better shooting mechanics than LaVine, he's not quite as capable a shooter at this time, connecting on just 35% of his 3PAs. Young's greatest skill is his ability to shoot over the defense because of his tremendous length. However, that also led to Young taking a lot of contested jumpers at UK but only connecting on 32% of those. He'll also need to work on his focus on defense and his offensive awareness, but again keep in mind he isn't even 19 yet.

3.     Cleanthony Early- Okay, I'll admit it. This is probably a tad Early for Early to go (see what I did there?). I just love this guy, especially after reading this. I love players with a chip on their shoulder, and Early definitely possesses that. Sure he mostly played PF in college and sure he's not as athletic as LaVine or Young, but the guy just has something about him I really like, much like Shabazz Napier. Early was an extremely proficient scorer last year, sporting a 64% True Shooting Percentage. He also has enough of a post game to make you pay for guarding him with a smaller player. He'll face questions about his level of competition and defensive ability, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't turn out to be a very solid NBA contributor on the wing.

Point Guard

1.     Tyler Ennis- Ennis is undoubtedly a pure point guard. His ability to create for others while also not turning the ball over is evidenced by leading the NCAA in Pure Point Rating. In fact, Ennis was 50% better than the next best guy. If Rajon Rondo isn't in the Celtics' long term plans, Ennis is a really compelling option, especially getting him this late. His athleticism and ability to finish around the basket leave a lot to be desired, but his finishing ability should improve as he continues to refine his floater and get stronger. He will also need to keep improving from long range (shot just 35% this season from beyond the arc), especially if he doesn't get better around the basket. His defense will also be a question mark since he comes from the vaunted  2-3 zone system employed by Jim Boeheim.

2.     Elfrid Payton- What Tyler Ennis lacks in physical tools, Elfrid Payton possesses. His athleticism allows him to be a great finisher in transition, as well as to excel on the defensive end. While he doesn't have the feel for the game as a facilitator Ennis possesses, he's still a more than capable point guard and is more than willing to create for others. The biggest knock on Payton is his shooting, as he only shot 26% from 3 and 59% at the FT line. He will also need to improve his alarmingly high turnover rate going forward.

Again, the Celtics could go a few different directions here. Without further adieu, on behalf of the Boston Celtics in the GBB Community Mock draft, at #17 I select:

17) Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA


Ultimately LaVine's elite athleticism and scoring potential were too good to pass on with this pick. I'm including Rajon Rondo in the long term plans for now, which is why I passed on the two Ennis and Payton. It came down to LaVine vs Young with PJ Hairston's name also being thrown around in the draft room. If LaVine can improve his shot selection while continuing to refine other areas of his game discussed above, LaVine could be a perennial All-Star scorer if the Celtics are patient in bringing him along.

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