While the Boston Celtics are not going to have an opportunity to pick up a top 10 prospect in the upcoming draft, they still remain to be in quite an envious position. The C’s have one of the most impressive track records when it comes to their success rate in trade deals, and this will once again pay off come June.
Boston currently has three draft picks in the first round, which includes the No 14 pick (from the Sacramento Kings), followed by the No 20 pick (via the Los Angeles Clippers), as well as their own No 22 pick.
With this draft class packed with a fair amount of prospective talents, the Celtics could very well be on their way to further strengthen their core for the future.
Make no mistake about it, though. Knowing general manager Danny Ainge, one, two, or perhaps even all three picks might be dealt away even before the draft. The C’s are still extremely high on New Orleans Pelicans want-away star Anthony Davis, and Ainge could include these picks in whatever trade deal they might offer for the All-Star big man.
However, under the assumption that the Celtics actually keep these picks — or at least the highest-ranked No 14 pick — one prospect stands out as the player the team should target in the draft. In our my mind, Boston should set their sights on none other than Oregon’s 7-foot-2 big man Bol Bol.
Here are three reasons why we believe this to be the case.
3. In Need of a Big
At this point, very few will argue with the notion that the biggest need the Celtics have in the upcoming draft would be for a big man.
Al Horford has been the team’s cornerstone big for the past three years, and while he is now 33, he still remains to be in the upper echelon of centers in the league.
However, he’s not going to be around for long, and probably has a good two or three years ahead of him.Surely, the team has already been thinking about their future sans Horford, and Bol might just prove to be their big man of the future.
In the meantime, though, he would be an ideal backup center while he also develops his game under Horford’s tutelage.
2. High Risk, High Reward
Bol was having a tremendous start to the season for the Oregon Ducks before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
As reported by Forbes’ Jeff Feld, the 20-year-old’s injury is actually not a common one, which might just have an adverse effect on his draft stock.
A navicular fracture is relatively rare for NBA athletes. But if history is any indication, they are serious, and complications during and after recovery are unpredictable. There’s still debate in the medical community on whether surgery is the best remedy to fix such an ailment; some argue that casting and limiting the weight bearing on the foot is the better alternative.
Simply put, Bol is an injury risk. There’s no saying what type of long-term effect — if any — his current injury will have on his career. However, as with every other big man, this is the type of risk teams will need to live with.
The good news for the Celtics is that in Bol’s case, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.
He was killing it in the NCAA prior to his injury, and there’s no reason to believe that he won’t be able to do the same in the NBA.
1. A Unicorn in the Making?
21.0 points (on 56.1 percent shooting), 1.4 three-pointers, 9.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.7 blocks. These were Bol’s averages in nine appearances for the Ducks during his freshman year.
While the sample size is indeed small, Bol’s unique combination of size and skill definitely makes him an extremely intriguing prospect.
Bol is still raw and untested, but there’s no denying that the similarities are there. Taking a pass on the mere prospect of having a Porzingis-like talent on your roster is simply something the Celtics can’t afford.
In truth, Bol might actually still be available for Boston at the No 22 pick. They could roll the dice with Bol, and if they’re lucky, they could still be able to get their man a few spots down.
However, is this really a risk worth taking for the Celtics? With all of his upside, we would beg to disagree.