2014 NBA Mock Draft: Boston Celtics Edition

By Zak Kondratenko
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 NBA Draft a little over a week away we finally have enough clarity, in regards to who worked out for whom and other logistical things of that nature, to try and predict how things will turn out. Most of the analysis in this mock will be focused on the Boston Celtics, but I’ll still make picks for the rest of the first round in order to determine what the Celtics’ board may look like when they’re on the clock.

There are no trades in this mock, though I definitely think the Celtics are shopping both their first-rounders, even if a deal doesn’t necessarily include Kevin Love.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Kansas

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

4. Orlando Magic: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

5. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

I’m extremely confident that these are going to be the first five guys taken. With that being said, I am not so confident on that being the order. I think Exum could go as high as No. 2, especially if some bad news about Embiid’s health pops up in the next week. Regardless of Embiid’s status I think Wiggins goes No. 1. His upside as a perimeter player in the modern NBA is simply too much for a team like the Cavaliers, which lost a superstar years ago (LeBron James) and are facing the possibility of losing another (Kyrie Irving) very soon, to pass up. Everyone is mocking Exum to the Magic, but Vonleh fills a bigger need and has rocketed up draft boards in the last two months.

6. Celtics: Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Arizona

This where the draft really starts to get interesting and unpredictable. There have been a couple of reports out there saying that Danny Ainge is locked into Gordon if he’s on the board here. I don’t buy it. Every year we hear tons of talk about GMs being “locked into” a player and more times than not those reports prove false. Even if Ainge is 100 percent set on Gordon, why would he tell ESPN or Yahoo about it? And if he did, he’s just blowing smoke. The Celtics don’t want to show all their cards before the draft even starts. That’s just dumb team-managing.

However, if the draft plays out this way I believe Gordon is the pick. He would immediately make the Celtics significantly better on defense and provide an athletic element their current front court lacks with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. This rebuilding process is going to take longer than one or two years, so the Celtics can afford to try and develop Gordon much like the Indiana Pacers did with Paul George. He has that kind of upside if he can develop his skills. He’s still 18 and had the fastest shuttle time of ALL players at the combine despite standing 6-foot-9.

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Oklahoma St.

8. Sacramento Kings: James Young, SF, Kentucky

9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton

10. 76ers: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

11. Denver Nuggets: Nick Stauskas, SG, Michigan

12. Magic: Elfrid Payton, PG, UL-Lafayette

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

14. Phoenix Suns: Gary Harris, PG/SG, Michigan State

15. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric, PF, Croatia

16. Chicago Bulls: PJ Hairston, SG, North Carolina

17. Celtics: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

You probably didn’t see much of LaVine at UCLA. That’s because he rode the bench for most of the year. He’s a 6-foot-6 combo guard with outstanding athleticism as well as being one of this class’ top shooters. The Celtics have a lot of questions in the backcourt moving forward in regards to both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. LaVine’s upside and versatility would give them much more flexibility.

18. Suns: TJ Warren, SF/PF, NC State

19. Bulls: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia

20. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Duke

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State

23. Jazz: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA

24. Hornets: CJ Wilcox, SG, Washington

25. Houston Rockets: KJ McDaniels, SG, Clemson

26. Miami Heat: Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

27. Suns: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland

29. Thunder: Mitch McGary, PF/C, Michigan

30. San Antonio Spurs: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee

So there’s how I have the first round playing out for now. I’ll likely make some changes over the next few days. Boston doesn’t currently have a second rounder.

As always, I have more draft thoughts on Twitter @ZakKondratenko.

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