With all the intrigue surrounding the Boston Celtics’ potential playoff positioning, one upcoming NBA event has fallen to the wayside – the NBA Draft. Brad Stevens traded Boston’s first-round pick this season in the deal for Derrick White, but they still have a second-rounder. And while the draft shouldn’t be at the forefront of the Celtics’ mind right now, mock drafts are being pumped out left, right, and center.
Some mock drafts only cover the first round, but an April 1 mock draft put out by Sam Vecenie of The Athletic covered both rounds and included the Celtics. In the mock, he had Boston selecting a very intriguing prospect – Isaiah Mobley out of USC.
Boston selected Mobley with the 54th overall pick, but their draft positioning is subject to change based on where they end up finishing in the standings. Mobley is currently unranked in ESPN’s current top 100 players available.
Most people will recognize the name Mobley because of his brother Evan Mobley, who is one of the top candidates for the Rookie of the Year award this season. The two brothers played one season together at USC during the 2020-21 season, making it all the way to the Final Four before losing to Gonzaga.
Mobley’s Tenure at USC
Unlike his brother, who was a one-and-done, Mobley spent three years at USC. He started every game in his sophomore and junior seasons, taking the biggest leap in his third and final year. This past season, Mobley averaged 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 44.5 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from behind the three-point line.
Mobley declared for the 2022 NBA Draft on April 9, making the announcement on Instagram. He was considering entering the draft last season, but after gauging interest, ultimately decided to return to college and play one more season.
At 6’10, Mobley projects to be a solid rebounder and scorer at the next level. However, according to NBA Draft Room, Mobley still has room for improvement in some areas if he wants to live up to his full potential in the NBA. He’s shown some promise as a shooter but needs to improve his consistency from three-point range. In addition, though he has a solid frame and a 7’3 wingspan, Mobley should look to improve his strength and overall defensive presence if he wants to be effective on that side of the floor in the pros.
How Mobley Fits With Celtics
Right now, Boston’s big man rotation is pretty set. Robert Williams and Al Horford take up the starting spots, Daniel Theis and Grant Williams come off the bench, and Luke Kornet is the third-string center. But with Horford getting up there in age, bringing in a new face could be worthwhile for the Celtics.
Mobley is a three-year college player, and the Celtics have had success in the past with those types of guys. Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard are perfect examples. Taking a chance on Mobley and letting him learn under Horford could work out beautifully.
As mentioned, Mobley still needs to work on his defense and three-point shooting. But who better to learn from than a stretch big who’s made an All-Defensive team before? With Horford showing him the ropes, Mobley could eventually turn into a quality backup big for Boston.