With the Celtics just finishing their season, it seems like the NBA Draft is a few weeks away.
The reality is, however, that it is almost here. This year’s draft will take place on Thursday, June 23 at 8 pm and will air on ESPN and ABC. The Celtics only have one pick, the No. 53 pick, and it’s entirely possible they’ll trade him or draft him and hide a player.
If they choose to pick a player with the goal of having him contribute in the relatively near future, here are a few options that might fit in well with the current pieces.
Julian Champagnie, SF, St. John’s
NBADraft.net projects Champagnie, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward from Brooklyn, to finish with the Celtics.
He averaged 19.8 points and 7.4 rebounds as a sophomore and 19.2 points and 6.6 rebounds as a junior. Champagnie shot 42.9 percent from the ground and 34.8 percent from 3-point range in his career with Red Storm.
He became the seventh player in program history to win All-Big East first-team honors two years in a row and was one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given to the best small forward in the nation.
Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest
A 6-foot-5, 201-pound guard, Williams began his career at Division II Triton College and eventually found a home at the University of Oklahoma, followed by Wake Forest University.
He broke out last season, averaging 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.2 steals for the Demon Deacons and earning ACC Player of the Year honors. Williams is an elite defender who can defend guards, shooting guards and forwards.
Williams can also put the ball in the rim and provide a scoring spark off the bench. His shooting, however, is a concern, as he shot just 28 percent of his 3-point attempts last year. However, he shot 60 percent from inside the arc, so he knows his strengths and trusts his athleticism and cunning.
He would have an excellent opportunity to learn from Marcus Smart.
Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga
Nembhard, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard from Gonzaga, is cunning, smart and collected. He projects as a true point guard who could help the Celtics with his space and ball movement, if not next year, possibly for years to come.
He played two years at Florida and two at Gonzaga, averaging 10 points, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals throughout his career. Last season, he shot 87 percent from the free throw line.
He’s a decent size for a point guard and one of the most experienced players in this year’s class.
Trevion Williams, C, Purdue
If the Celtics decide to go with a big man, Williams is a potential option. He’s a true center, with a 7-foot, 2 3/4-inch wingspan, who moves his feet surprisingly well and can hit the occasional 3-pointer.
He is 6-foot-10 and 255 pounds and is a physically imposing, skilled player with a solid touch in the paint. The Celtics were a little content with 3-pointers at times this season, and Williams could provide a long-term post presence.
He averaged 15.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a junior and 12 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3 assists last season. Williams’ defensive versatility could be a problem, but he knows his role and executed it consistently at Purdue.
The Celtics generally like versatile players who can guard multiple positions, so they may see Williams as too one-dimensional.
Ron Harper Jr., San Francisco, Rutgers
Harper Jr., yes, Ron Harper’s son, is unlikely to be around at the end of the second round. If he is, the Celtics could end up taking him.
Harper, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season. After shooting just 31 percent of his 3s as a junior, he increased that number to 39.8 last year.
He can score at all three levels and is always a threat in the game with the ball in his hands who wants to take the big shot. NBADraft.net has him going 39 to the Cavaliers, so only time will tell if he’s still there at 53.
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