The 2014 NBA Lottery was perhaps one of the most hyped in the history of the league. With names like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum, most talent evaluators agree that this draft is filled with several potential superstars. The Boston Celtics, in particular, have a lot to gain in this draft.
After a season that saw them go 25-57 without key members of past contending teams like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Celtics clearly “tanked” in the hopes of acquiring a top pick in this draft. Now it has been made official that the Celtics will have the sixth overall selection for their efforts.
While it may not be quite as high as some Celtics fans were hoping for, this year the sixth selection in the draft can potentially bare major fruit. The Celtics will obviously not have a shot at the likes of Embiid, Wiggins, Parker or Exum, but they will still be able to draft a potential All-Star-caliber guy in that spot. One player in particular that many seem to be discounting is former Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle.
The Celtics are a team with some solid players with the likes of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, among others. With Randle, they would get a guy who helped carry his team to an NCAA championship victory this past year. They would also get a powerful inside presence who possesses great athleticism, can get a double-double most nights thanks to his scoring and rebound ability and a player who doesn’t make poor shooting decisions. That is evident by his shooting 52 percent from two-point range a season ago.
Randle is not a perfect player, however. He isn’t a great free-throw shooter as he made just 71 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe in 2013, and he is poor from the three-point line as well, shooting just 17 percent from that range this past year. With all that said, Randle has enough skills to warrant a top-six pick in the league in my opinion, and with the possibility of him being available to Boston, I think you would have to seriously consider taking him at that spot.
Boston has a bevvy of draft picks to choose from the next few years, so their main focus should be improving their team one player at a time. Getting Kevin Love is unrealistic as it would likely take multiple high picks in addition to the sixth overall this year in order to land him. Add to that the fact that there is no guarantee he would sign there long-term, and Love is a huge risk for that much draft capital.
With the addition of Randle, Boston would be on their way to possessing a dominant inside game that could be the start of something special moving forward. With Rondo, Sullinger, Randle, Green and others at their disposal, the Celtics would be well on their way to competing for another title, despite having a multitude of future draft picks to play with.