We are about two weeks away from the 2019 NBA Draft (June 20) allowing prospects to get in proper training for NBA purposes. One of the premier teams entering the draft, the Boston Celtics, own four draft picks (14th, 20th, 22nd and 51st). Whether or not they will draft four players is a mystery, but in all likelihood, they will keep that 14th pick, the last one of the lottery picks (1-14) for a potential long-term answer.
Below are projected hopefuls that could fall in the lap of the Celtics, sitting in prime position to snag someone who could fall out of the hands of the other 12 clubs (Atlanta owns two in the top 10) before them, and late first- and second-round players.
Freshman: SG Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) A long wing player/shooting guard who can stretch the floor, Porter has been flying under the radar due to the lack of collegiate experience (only 21 total games played) during his lone freshman campaign. Averaging just under 10 points a game with about 4-5 rebounds, Porter does not have eye-popping statistics, but the intangibles he possesses is intriguing for teams looking for a 2-3 wing player that can shoot from essentially anywhere on the court. At only 19, Porter is 6-foot-5 and almost hitting 220 pounds with a 6-feet 9-inch wingspan, something Boston can work with for getting more shooting on the outside along with mid-range jumpers.
Porter is being pegged around the 13-20 area of the draft, midway through the first round. If Porter takes a drop-off out of the lottery picks, Boston could be able to scoop him up at 20. The left-handed shooter has some untapped potential that will intrigue teams to take a flyer on him. Boston, in need of shooting guards, could take Porter to help carve out his role with the Cs.
Junior: PF Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) A small ball player who understands his role inside the paint, Hachimura stands at 6-foot-8, carrying 225 pounds of finesse power moves and craftiness. Playing in the NCAA Tournament the past three seasons, the 21-year-old native of Japan has risen to the occasion in clutch moments and provided durability for the Bulldogs. Averaging just under 20 points to go with 6.5 rebounds, he has proven himself to be a valuable asset. Rumors say that Hachimura will not have a transferable skill set to the pro level, claiming he is a paint-only player that does not have the fundamentals to work outside, but a team will absolutely love to have a player with a high field goal percentage and accuracy to deploy into their lineup. Ignore the rumors.
For Boston sitting at 14, Rui could be the one to find a favorable situation if he starts to drop due to the depth of the deep freshman class. The Celtics could, in fact, get Porter at 14 and scoop Hachimura at the 20 spot if they decide to hold onto it.
Junior: PF Dedric Lawson (Kansas) A Marcus Morris clone, Lawson provided Kansas with his versatile skill set at 6′-foot-9 and 235 pounds from everywhere around the court. A forward who can drill the 3 ball and take it inside, he is an easily-transferable player into the extended range of today’s NBA game. Nearing 22 years of age, he is on the older spectrum of the age bracket for incoming players, but Boston could get him with the 51st pick if they decide to hold onto it. Averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds, he has been a double-double machine when activated. Before Kansas, he and his twin brother, KJ, played at Memphis before sitting out a year due to NCAA eligibility requirements on transfer players and awaiting their roles at Kansas this coming season.
Boston would be a perfect puzzle piece for Lawson, allowing him to be a role player and give Boston an extra spark off the bench and coming in when needed. A nice value pick at 51, he has a well-rounded game but lack of elite athleticism will batter his draft stock.