ESPN’s new NBA Mock Draft makes interesting Celtics projection originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics, barring another trade, will not pick in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. It will be the first time since 2009 that the C’s don’t take a player in Round 1.
The Celtics traded their 2021 first-rounder (No. 16 overall) as part of the Kemba Walker trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.
The C’s first pick in next month’s draft comes at No. 45 overall, which is in the middle of the second round.
Which player(s) could the Celtics target with this selection?
ESPN’s NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony released his new 2021 mock draft shortly after Tuesday night’s draft lottery. He projects the Celtics to take Rokas Jokubaitis, a 20-year-old point guard playing for Zalgiris in Lithuania.
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Jokubaitis could potentially be a “draft-and-stash” player for the Celtics, which would probably be best for both sides. The Celtics don’t really have the minutes to fit another unproven young player into the rotation. Staying overseas also would allow Jokubaitis to gain more experience and further develop his exciting talent before coming to the NBA.
Point guard also is a positional need for the Celtics with Walker gone and Marcus Smart entering the final year of his contract.
Of course, at that stage of the second round, just taking the best player available probably is the optimal strategy.