After years of frugal trades by GM Danny Ainge, the Boston Celtics are loaded with top-shelf talent and a borderline embarrassing heap of future draft picks. Heading into the 2019 NBA Draft, the Celtics could own the rights to as many as four first-round picks – depending on how the lottery shakes out.
With Kyrie Irving likely to opt out of the final year of his deal, Al Horford in a similar situation, and Terry Rozier hitting the open market, the Celtics need their draft picks to either make a splash and bring in an Anthony Davis type player or to help fill out the remainder of the roster in the event they lose one (or more).
Irving and Horford are expected to return, with Horford possibly taking a decent pay cut heading into his age-34 season. As a result, it becomes more likely that the majority of these picks will be used in some form of a blockbuster trade. With the Celtics expected to have minimal cap flexibility, any free agents are basically off the table. Their only option to add another superstar to the roster would be to make a splash in the trade market.
That begs the question, just which draft picks do the Boston Celtics own?
Celtics 2019 Draft Picks: When Boston Selects & Top Targets
2019 NBA Draft Picks
- Memphis First Round – Top Eight Protected
- Sacramento Kings First Round – 14th
- Los Angeles Clippers First Round – 20th
- Boston Celtics First Round – 22nd
- Boston Celtics Second Round – 51st
With four of their five draft picks already set, the Celtics get to play the waiting game to see if they will wind up with the Memphis first round pick as well. The Grizzlies retain the rights to the pick if it lands anywhere inside the first eight picks. Currently, the Grizzlies are projected to have the eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft.
The Grizzlies have a 31.2% chance to stay in the eighth seed while having a 7.2% chance to move up to fourth, 6.7% to move into third, 6.3% to jump into second, and a 6% chance to steal the top overall pick. However, despite finishing with the eighth-worst record, they have the highest individual chance to wind up with the ninth overall pick at 34.1%. Should the Grizzlies fall to nine or possibly even lower to 10 (8%) or 11 (0.5%), the pick would go to the Celtics.
Celtics 2019 Draft Picks: Jaxon Hayes Among Top Targets
While the Celtics are loaded at the guard and wing positions, they do have a slight weakness in the fact that they don’t have a true rim protector on the roster. Al Horford is an incredibly cerebral defender, he doesn’t send many shots back and rookie Robert Williams simply hasn’t been able to stay healthy so far. Enter Jaxon Hayes.
Hayes was a relatively unknown prospect heading into Texas but came away as arguably the top center prospect in the nation. An explosive seven footer and elite rim protector, Hayes would offer the Celtics basically a bigger version of Robert Williams with an extra year on his deal. More importantly, Hayes possesses a completely unknown ceiling as a player.
Due to a monster growth spurt at the end of high school that moved him into his new role as a big man, Hayes has minimal experience playing down low. In his lone year at Texas, he dominated almost purely on sheer size and athleticism, two of his traits that should carry over to the NBA. The Celtics have shown an ability to adequately develop players they draft and Hayes fits the bill in terms of their team needs. They can likely get by with another season of Horford/Baynes/Williams as they let Hayes develop before saving money and cutting ties with likely Williams.
Look for Hayes to be in play if the Celtics wind up sneaking away with the Memphis first round pick. There is an unlikely chance Hayes is still around when they are picking at 14 with the Kings pick as given Hayes’ untapped upside, he will likely be going off the board much higher.