However, rookie head coach Brad Stevens currently has his club fighting for a playoff spot in the underachieving Eastern Conference. With so many teams plummeting in the standings, it appears the Celtics are going to win too many games to have a legitimate shot at a top lottery selection. While Boston fans may have to give up on their dreams of seeing Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Julius Randle in green, the Celtics are still facing a favorable draft situation.
Boston has two first round picks next summer -- their own, and either the Brooklyn Nets' or the Atlanta Hawks', whichever is worse. Considering Brooklyn's horrific start, it looks like the Celtics will end up choosing in Atlanta's place. While the Hawks have put together the East's third best record so far, they recently lost their leading scorer and rebounder, All-Star center Al Horford, to a season ending injury.
If I had to take a guess, I'd place both Boston and Atlanta's 2014 draft positions in the neighborhood of 10-20 overall. With that in mind, here are some players the Celtics may have available to take with their two selections:
The pipe dream - Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona Wildcats (Freshman):
Most projections place Gordon among the top 5-7 players available, but HoopsWorld has him at #10, and draft.net ranks him #21. Gordon is a 6'8" dunking and rebounding machine who often draws comparisons to Blake Griffin.
Amazingly this list doesn't even include power forward Julius Randle, who is expected to be taken in the top five. It's unclear as to whether or not either of the two Harrisons will declare for the draft, but all four of these Kentucky players are potential mid-first round choices.
Expected to be a borderline top-10 pick, Harris is a deadly three-point marksman who can also create his own shot and get to the rim. Like Gordon, Harris may fall just of of Boston's reach.
Hood sat out all of last season after transferring from Mississippi State, but now finds himself as the second expected lottery selection from the Blue Devils behind Jabari Parker. Hood is another player who could be off the table before the Celtics are up.
Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton Blue Jays (Senior):
Generally considered the first senior likely to be taken in the draft, there is some debate as to whether the 6'7'' McDermott will be a small or power forward on the next level. He has good post moves, but his long range shooting ability may facilitate him playing further away from the basket in the pros.
Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville Cardinals (Sophomore):
Despite standing just 6'8", Harrell has a 7'4" wingspan that makes him a spectacular shot blocker. He is also a surprisingly adept mid-range jump shooter, and a great finisher at the rim.
Dario Saric, PF, Croatia:
The 19-year-old Saric is a decent scorer, but his most impressive attributes may be his ball handling skills and court vision. At 6'10" he possesses guard-like abilities rarely seen in a player of his size.
Wayne Seldon, SG, Kansas Jayhawks (Freshman):
Much less hyped than fellow Jayhawk freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, Seldon has a solid all-around game, but is clearly still a work in progress. He's a Boston native however, which could add a little incentive for the Celtics to consider him.
Ennis is a pass first distributor with exceptional decision making skills. Like Harrell, Grant is a long armed forward with great athleticism around the basket. He is also the son of former NBA player Harvey Grant. Both Ennis and Grant should still be available well into round one.
Either Michigan Wolverine - Glen Robinson III, SF (Sophomore), Mitch McGary, C (Sophomore):
Another ex-NBA player's son, Robinson's status has been climbing of late. On the other hand, following a tremendous NCAA tournament last spring that likely would have landed him in the lottery had he left school, McGary is now out indefinitely after electing to have surgery on his lower back. While his draft future is murky, the lack of prospects at the center position could easily keep McGary on Boston's radar.
Obviously there is still a lot of basketball left to be played this season, both in college and in the NBA. The fates of the Celtics, Hawks, and Nets might each dramatically change, as could the ratings of all the potential draftees. But don't be surprised if you hear Boston call the names of one or more of these players next June.
Mark Vandeusen has been a Boston Celtics season ticket holder since 2007, and writes daily articles for CelticsLife.com, one of the largest NBA fan sites on the web. He is also the owner and creator of LucidSportsFan.com.
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