Now that the 2019-20 NBA season is more than halfway over, it is now time to start thinking about the upcoming draft.
The Boston Celtics have three first-round picks for the 2020 NBA Draft, one from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Milwaukee Bucks, and their own. The Grizzlies’ pick will mostly fall around the middle of the first round (maybe late-teens or early-twenties), while the Bucks and their own picks will fall at the end of the first round.
Here are some players that the Celtics could be looking to target with this surplus of picks.
Jordan Nwora – F – Louisville
Nwora is the best player on one of the best teams in the country. Despite this, the fact that he is a couple of years older than the highly-rated one-and-done prospects could cause him to drop to the end of the first round. Nwora is not the fastest player, but what he lacks for in speed, he makes up for in other areas. This season he is averaging 18.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the floor.
His best ability is his three-point shooting, as he is making 41.5 percent of his shots from behind the arc this season. His prolific long-range shooting should really appeal to the Celtics because it is something they have lacked for many years.
Additionally, Nwora’s leadership and defensive versatility are things that the Celtics will love.
NBA Comparison: Nemanja Bjelica
Isaiah Stewart – PF/C – Washington
Stewart was one of last year’s top high school recruits, and he has been one of the most underrated players in college basketball this year. It is easy to see why Stewart is not projected to be a lottery pick. At six-foot-nine, he is undersized for a center in today’s NBA.
However, he has a similar build and skill set to the current Celtics center Daniel Theis. I actually think that Stewart is a much better offensive player and rebounder than Theis, and he has the potential to be a solid defender as well.
This season he is averaging 17.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game on 56.5 percent shooting. He has shown promise in being able to stretch the floor also with a 25 percent three-point percentage. Stewart could turn out to be a decent all-around center for the Celtics.
Pro Comparison: John Collins
Tyrese Maxey – G – Kentucky
Maxey is a combo guard with great athleticism, speed, and offensive potential. He had a terrific start to the season and was tipped as a possible top-ten pick in early mock drafts but has cooled down a little bit since then. There is a good chance that he will still be available to be taken with the Grizzlies pick.
Maxey is more of a pure scorer than a facilitator, averaging 13.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 43.8 percent from the floor. He has shown flashes of being a decent three-point shooter but needs to improve from his inconsistent 29.5 percent from deep.
I think that Maxey’s offensive upside, ability to play both guard positions, and explosiveness would be a great addition to a Celtics team which has struggled offensively.
Pro Comparison: Malik Monk
Jahmi’us Ramsey – SG – Texas Tech
I have a strong feeling that Ramsey will have a very successful career in the NBA as a “d and three” player. The freshman shooting guard has already made his mark as one of the best shooters in college basketball.
This season, he is averaging 15.9 points and 4 rebounds per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from three. In addition to being a prolific shooter, Ramsey has a lot of tenacity and is a quick, disruptive defender.
The Celtics are known to value strong defenders very highly, so they will definitely be doing their due diligence on Ramsey. As stated earlier when talking about Nwora, the Celtics desperately need shooting.
Ramsey would be perfect for them as he can come off the bench and make threes while being a capable defender.
NBA Comparison: Danny Green
Cassius Winston – PG – Michigan State
Winston was the only consensus selection for the 2019-20 AP Preseason All-American Team. He has had a decent year but neither he or his team have lived up to expectations.
Nevertheless, Winston is still one of the best players in the country.
He is averaging 18.2 points and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three. Outside of Kemba Walker, the Celtics don’t have much at point guard. Brad Wanamaker is a free agent next year, Carsen Edwards has been underwhelming, and Tremont Waters just isn’t good.
Winston possesses great leadership qualities and has a ton of experience from playing four years of college ball. His high basketball IQ and solid all-around offensive play would be perfect for the Celtics.