Watch CBS News

Who Mock Drafts Have The Celtics Picking In First Round

BOSTON (CBS) -- The NBA Draft is less than three weeks away, and the workouts have ramped up as teams look to identify the best talent available when it's their turn to pick.

The Boston Celtics will have eight total picks come June 23, including the third overall pick, though it's highly unlikely Adam Silver will have announced eight new Celtics when the evening comes to a close. Danny Ainge said Wednesday the team has hosted 40-50 players for workouts, in addition to his recent trip overseas to scout the best Europe has to offer, but it's pretty clear that he and the Boston braintrust would like to spin a handful of their upcoming picks for some proven NBA talent.

But it wouldn't be draft season without a rash of mock drafts, and the various different mockers have different thoughts on how Ainge and company end up using them if the Celtics go that route. These will change about 100 times over the next three weeks, and chances are in the end, they'll have made (dare we say it) a mockery of the whole process?

But a lot has changed since the ping-pong balls figured out the first 14 picks. Dragan Bender is no longer the hot pick at No. 3 for Boston, and many of the "mockers" have a different dark horse pick for that third selection. Here's a quick roundup of who the pundits think will be wearing green in three weeks:

ESPN (Insider Content)

3rd overall: Kris Dunn, G, Providence

The Celtics are looking at everything.

Trading the pick seems like the most probable route if they can fetch a young veteran in return. If they keep the pick, I think the field may be narrowing down to Dunn, Jamal Murray and a dark horse in Marquese Chriss.

Murray and Chriss fit obvious needs for shooting. Dunn seems like less of a fit until you realize that he would be the best pure point guard on the roster -- right away.

Marcus Smart can play off the ball.Isaiah Thomas, an All-Star, can be dealt. Having an elite distributor, especially one that defends like Dunn does, would be very appealing.

It's too early to know for sure which way the Celtics will go on draft night, but if the draft were today, I think Dunn would get the nod.

16th overall: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia

The Celtics are also unlikely to keep all of their picks. You can expect Danny Ainge to shop these selections. If they do end up keeping them, don't be surprised to see Boston gamble on a few projects who can develop over time.

Zizic's elite motor, offensive rebounding and production in Croatia make him intriguing.

23rd overall: Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas

Diallo didn't really do much at Kansas last season, but that won't stop a team like the Celtics from grabbing him -- especially after his strong play at the NBA combine.

He is tough and athletic, and he might have the best motor in the draft. He's raw. But had he stayed in school another season, he probably would have been a lottery pick next year. That makes him good value here and potentially a starter on the Maine Red Claws.

CBS Sports

3rd overall: Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky

This is higher than most have Murray going. But I'm a huge fan of his ability to score off the bounce and shoot from the perimeter. He's not a point guard, but he can handle the ball a little more than he showed in his season at Kentucky. For a franchise in desperate need of shooting help, Murray is a nice fit. He shot 40.8 percent from 3-point range while at UK.

16th overall: Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga

He skipped the combine, which has caused some to believe he might have received a promise from somebody. Whether that's true is unclear. But a top-20 promise from a franchise with three first-round picks -- like the Celtics -- would make sense, and it's not like Boston has inspiring power forwards on the roster.

23rd overall: Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas

Diallo measured and tested well at the combine -- then played well in the five-on-five games. He was active. He rebounded. He guarded. Simply put, the 6-9 forward genuinely helped himself by reminding scouts why he was once a projected lottery pick. And now it looks like that sub-par season at Kansas won't cost Diallo too much money.

Draft Express

3rd overall: Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
16th overall: Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
23rd overall: Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas

Hoops Hype

3rd overall: Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma

There's a good chance the Celtics will look to trade out of this pick with a team targeting a player such as Dragan Bender or Kris Dunn. If they keep the pick, they have a tough decision on their hands. Hield makes the most sense as he's the most ready to contribute to a playoff team that doesn't consider itself in rebuilding mode. Bender or Jaylen Brown offer more upside but also come with greater risk.

16th overall: Devonta Davis, PF, Michigan State

Davis has the talent to go higher, but could be a player that falls with a lot of competition at the power forward position. He hasn't received the best reviews during the draft process, with disappointing feedback coming from his NBA combine interviews and conditioning in workouts. With multiple picks, the Celtics can afford to gamble on a frontcourt player with upside that needs time.

23rd overall: Stephen Zimmerman, C, Nevada-Las Vegas

Big Zimm is an intriguing prospect that gets lumped in with players like Deyonta Davis and could go higher than this. His upside would fit well with a team that seems to be adding solid pieces to its nucleus.

Sports Illustrated (from May 19)

3rd overall: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky

Now ... there's still a chance Danny Ainge will spend the next month cold-calling the Bulls, Pacers, Kings, and anyone else with a superstar. But if the Celtics keep this pick, Murray may have the most upside of anyone left in the lottery. His biggest question mark is athleticism on both ends, but a lot of the same questions were asked about Steph Curry, James Harden, CJ McCollum, and Devin Booker. If he can manage to hold his own against NBA athletes, he's a great shooter and a natural scorer. He's barely 19 years old with plenty of room to grow, and he could provide the Celtics with spacing help in the short term that turns into explosive offense a few years from now.

16th overall: Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor

Prince is built like an NFL linebacker. He also dunks like an NFL linebacker. He plays defense. His three-point shooting is decent (37% for his career at Baylor), and he's giving off strong Gerald Wallace vibes at all times. In years past, his relative lack of dominance as a senior (15.9 ppg) would probably make him a second rounder. But in an NBA that now values smart two-way wings as much as any position on the floor, mid-first round feels right. Let's send him to Boston to be Jae Crowder's understudy for the next few years.

23rd pick: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia

He negotiated a buyout recently, so there's potential for him to come over and play as soon as next year. At just 19, he's also a good candidate for a draft-and-stash if the Celtics decide the roster is too full to add another rookie. In any case, whatever Boston does here depends entirely on whether they actually use their first two picks.

98.5 The Sports Hub's Adam Jones talked with MetroWest Daily News' Scott Souza about C's options in draft:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.