2021 NBA Draft: Josh Giddey among Celtics point guard fits

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Josh Giddey among five best PG fits for Celtics in NBA Draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics have selected 17 players in the past five NBA Drafts. It's about time they sit one out. Or is it?

In his first move as Celtics president of basketball operations, Brad Stevens dealt Boston's No. 16 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft along with Kemba Walker and a 2025 second-rounder to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 third-rounder.

That means the Celtics' lone pick in the 2021 Draft is a second-rounder (No. 45 overall). And with a crowd of recent picks on the bench -- Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard, to name a few -- it's hard to see the Celtics trading back into the first round.

 

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But to quote one Kevin Garnett, anything is possible. Boston could end up trading current point-guard-by-default Marcus Smart (or any of their young players) and look to the draft to find their future Walker replacement.

With KG's words in mind, here are five point guard prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft who would make sense for the Celtics. Keep in mind this is about best fits, and not necessarily about who the C's have the best chance of landing at No. 45.

Josh Giddey, Adelaide 36ers

Age: 18

Height, weight: 6-foot-8, 205 pounds

2020-21 stats: 10.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 7.5 apg, 42.7% FG, 29.3% 3PT

Why he fits: A 6-foot-8 point guard averaging 7.5 assists per game? Yes please. Giddey is an elite playmaker who would give the Celtics much-needed size and can guard multiple positions.

There's some Ben Simmons in Giddey's game (right down to the poor outside shooting), and before you bring up his ghastly 2021 playoffs, a Simmons-type player would be the perfect complement to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Alas, Giddey probably isn't making it past the top 14.

Projected pick: Lottery

Jared Butler, Baylor

Age: 21

Height, weight: 6-foot-3, 195 pounds

2020-21 stats: 16.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 47.1% FG, 41.6% 3PT

Why he fits: Butler checks both the size and shooting boxes for Boston after improving his 3-point percentage to north of 40% for the NCAA champion Bears. He's a solid scorer, strong facilitator and high-effort defender whom The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor described as "Avery Bradley with a handle".

He'll likely go in the first round, but the Celtics should be watching closely if he slips past No. 30.

Projected pick: Late first round

Sharife Cooper, Auburn

Age: 20

Height, weight: 6-foot-1, 180 pounds

2020-21 stats: 20.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 8.1 apg, 39.1% FG, 22.8% 3PT (12 games)

Why he fits: Cooper is the smallest player on this list and his outside shot needs some work, but he apparently shot the ball well in a "great" pre-draft workout with the Celtics at the NBA Draft Combine.

Cooper lit up the SEC in a 12-game sample size and would bring a scoring punch to Boston's offensively-challenged second unit. 

Projected pick: Late first round

David Duke Jr., Providence

Age: 21

Height, weight: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds

2020-21 stats: 16.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.8 apg, 38.7% FG, 38.9% 3PT

Why he fits: A local kid from Providence, R.I. who attended Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, Duke grew up dreaming about playing for the Celtics.

If he's still on the board at No. 45, the C's could do a lot worse than a 6-foot-5 point guard who finished second on the Friars in rebounding and has a Smart-like motor on the defensive end.

Projected pick: Second round

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland, VCU

Age: 20

Height, weight: 6-foot-3, 165 pounds

2020-21 stats: 19.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 44.7% FG, 37.1% 3PT

Why he fits: If you put stock in Combine workouts, Hyland reportedly was the "best player on the floor" during his session with the Celtics that included Cooper and other prospects.

"Bones" is built like a bowling ball and was a 40% 3-point shooter over two college seasons, so perhaps he could provide what Boston envisioned from Carsen Edwards as a spark-plug scorer off the bench.

Projected pick: Second round