In recent seasons, the point guard position has been a poisoned chalice for the Boston Celtics.
Since trading Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics have struggled to find their long-term point guard of the future. Kyrie Irving didn’t work out, Terry Rozier left the team and burnt every bridge on the way out the door, and Kemba Walker’s knees degenerated faster than anybody assumed possible.
As such, the Celtics are currently relying on Marcus Smart to step into a leading role, with short-term rental Dennis Schroder backing him up off the bench. Or at least that’s the plan. But, with the current COVID pandemic sweeping through the NBA, there have been times in recent weeks where the team’s lack of depth at the point guard position has come back to bite them.
Perhaps that’s why the Ben Simmons rumors caught so much traction or why so many trade proposals envision an upgrade at the point for the Celtics. But, as of right now, we don’t know which way Boston’s front office wants to take things. Is the team heading for a competitive rebuild, or is Brad Stevens about to push his chips all-in?
Only time will tell, but with the Celtics owning all of their future draft picks, it could be worth looking around the upcoming class for some additional help at the point – albeit off the bench.
Mock Draft Sees Celtics Land Jean Montero
Jean Montero is a 6-foot-3 point guard hailing from the Dominican Republic, who is currently contracted to ACB Gran Canaria but is playing in the Overtime Elite league as part of a loan deal.
In Bleacher Report’s latest mock draft, the Celtics draft Montero with the 14th pick, giving them an additional ball-handler with some legitimate size. However, a slight snag for any team drafting Montero is that they would need to buy out his current contract with Gran Canaria, as reported by ESPN.
The Celtics already hold the draft rights to two point-guards currently playing in Europe in Juhann Begarin and Yam Madar, which makes them selecting a third player in similar circumstances a peculiar decision. Montero is currently experiencing American basketball with the Overtime Elite, but questions remain about the league’s level of play.
While Begarin is playing in France’s top league, and Madar receives a first-class education from European coaching legend Željko Obradović, Montero is playing in a minor league that only boasts three teams.
When watching highlights of the young point guard, there is no questioning his talent and potential ceiling, but there’s also no guarantee that he would be a better option for the Celtics than the two guards they already have stashed overseas.
Boston Also Has Guards to Develop on Their Roster
Besides Begarin and Madar, the Celtics also have Payton Pritchard, who has produced impressive performances at the NBA level, with one of his better games this season coming against the New York Knicks on December 18. It’s no secret that Pritchard’s size is a stumbling block for the sophomore guard and that teams will target him on defense should he earn a more significant role in the future.
However, Pritchard has shown seemingly limitless range when shooting the rock and has improved his scoring ability off the dribble. The second-year guard out of Oregon has also flashed signs of a potential playmaker when coming off screens or probing the defense with a drive. With his ever-improving offensive game and a bulldog approach to the defensive end, it’s conceivable that Pritchard can overcome his height restrictions and develop into a reliable backup NBA point-guard that remains in the league for years to come.
Including Pritchard, the Celtics already have three young guards under their control, adding another one, who doesn’t project to be an immediate difference-maker, via the draft doesn’t seem like the right play.
Of course, Boston may see value in trading their pick on draft day, and at that point, there’s every possibility that the Celtics do indeed draft Montero.