With Brad Stevens’ move this week to swing point-man Kemba Walker for former Beantowner Al Horford, the 2021 NBA Draft has definitely lost some luster for the Boston Celtics. In order to make the deal happen, Stevens had to part with his team’s first-round selection at No. 16 overall.
That doesn’t mean, though, that the draft has become a night off for Stevens and his brain trust. After all, trade chatter will be in full effect and, as it stands, the Celtics still have a pick to make at No. 45.
Moreover, the second-round pick could factor into Boston’s effort to round out its roster given the club’s cap constraints.
Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is on the books and the selection is order set, mock drafts are being updated around the hoops blogosphere. Sports Illustrated is the latest outlet to do so — here is who its draft guru, Jeremy Woo, currently sees as the Cs’ pick at No. 45.
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SI Mock Draft: Celtics Select Austin Reaves
With the 45th pick in his latest mock draft, Woo has the Celtics selecting Oklahoma Sooners guard Austin Reaves. The 23-year-old most recently measured at 6-foot-4½ and 197.2 pounds and is fresh off a senior season during which he picked up First-team All-Big 12 honors.
Reaves had the option to return to school for a fifth collegiate season as a result of the extra eligibility players were awarded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he looks to be going full steam ahead on tipping off his pro career.
He is one of nearly 70 players currently participating in the NBA Draft Combine.
The Newark, Arkansas product began his college career with the Wichita State Shockers in 2016 and played for the school for two seasons. He was largely utilized as a depth piece and three-point shooter there, connecting on 45.1% of his 6.6 long-range attempts per 40 minutes.
After his sophomore season, Reaves made the move to Norman, Oklahoma, sitting out the following season due to NCAA transfer rules.
With the Sooners, Reaves reinvented himself as a scorer and all-around contributor. His three-point shot was nowhere near as potent as it had been, but he developed a floater and mid-range game that expanded his offensive repertoire. He also thrilled at times as a passer.
In his senior year with the Sooners, Reaves averaged 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per contest.
Athletically and defensively, he’ll have some hurdles to overcome in order to make it at the NBA level.
Can Stevens Reel-In a Winner?
Although mid-to-late second-round picks don’t have the same sizzle for fans (or the same hit rate for GMs), it’s entirely possible that Boston could get lucky.
Bob Dandridge and Antonio Davis were both selected 45th overall and, eventually, worked their way into All-Star nods. The former was one of the better wing players league-wide during the 1970s and a two-time NBA champion. In May, Dandridge was elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
Expecting the Cs to land a future HOFer here would be a tall order. However, it’s not outrageous to think that there’s a rotational player out there waiting to be discovered. Whether Stevens can identify him in his first-ever draft as an executive remains to be seen.
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