The Lakers secured their 12th Championship on Sunday night as a Los Angeles-based franchise. So congratulations to them. Congratulations to LeBron James too, for becoming the 2nd player to ever earn 4 MVPs, 4 NBA Championships, and 4 Finals MVPs. He is undoubtedly the greatest player I have seen during my lifetime, which dates back to 2002.
It’s time to look ahead to the draft through the lens of purely a Celtics fan, however. Boston GM Danny Ainge has already stated that instead of drafting more for more-or-less the best available guy this year, he will draft for “specific needs” because of the position the Celtics are in in terms of their draft slots and their overall team construction. Boston has three first-round picks (14th, 26th, and 30th). Here are some Heat- and Lakers-based Celtics draft targets:
Tyler Herro type: Tyrese Maxey
Maxey, the 6’3″ combo guard from Kentucky, is currently the 12th ranked player on my big board, so it’s realistic that the Celtics could take him at 14. Herro was also taken in this range, at 13 overall, in the 2019 draft, which feels like forever go. Herro, as he demonstrated in these bubble playoffs, has tremendous confidence and can hit big-time shots.
Maxey is also a confident scorer, as he can knock down pull-ups, utilize his quickness to get into the paint for floaters and attack the rim with great determination, focus, and body and ball control. The Celtics could use a consistent perimeter scoring presence off the bench, and Maxey has the ability to provide that.
Duncan Robinson type: TBD
Nobody in my big board top 30 strikes me as a true Duncan Robinson type of player. Although Villanova’s Saddiq Bey and TCU’s Desmond Bane appear to be potential comps because they both cracked the top 7 among all D1 college players this past season in three-point percentage––45.1% and 44.2%, respectively–– their playstyles don’t really match that of Robinson, who is almost strictly a three-point specialist.
Bey, who should be a solid pro simply because he played under Jay Wright at Villanova, has more of a driving and pullup game than Robinson, while Bane pretty much ran TCU’s offense. In the postseason, the Celtics main three-point “guys” off the bench were Brad Wanamaker (44.4% in 16.1 MPG) and, somehow, the suddenly-can’t-miss-corner-shooter Grant Williams (58.8% in 10.0 MPG). It’s safe to say Boston is still seeking out a player for the role of a reliable three-point shooter/specialist.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope type: Ty-Shon Alexander
A guy by the name of Lindell Wigginton caught my eye as the 2019 NCAA Tournament approached. I fell in love with how he played and convinced myself he could lead Iowa State to the Final Four. The Cyclones proceeded to lose in the Round of 64 to 11-seeded Ohio State.
Ty-Shon Alexander of Creighton caught my eye as the 2020 NCAA Tournament approached (before COVID hit, sigh). Alexander outplayed Myles Powell, a top-5 Player of the Year finalist, when Myles Powell and Seton Hall came to Creighton with the Big East Regular Season Title on the line, and he made it look easy. He’s a natural two-guard who is borderline elite at catch-and-shoot threes. He can also hit threes and make things happen off the dribble. KCP proved to be a guy who can hit spot up threes and can occasionally make stuff happen off the dribble, in the Finals at least. Both guys can also defend well. I will be very excited if we draft Ty-Shon Alexander, as a fan. He should be one of the top Celtics draft targets.