Celtics Snag ‘Bama Sharpshooter in Mock Draft

Keon Ellis, Alabama Crimson Tide

Getty Keon Ellis of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The collegiate season is well and truly underway, and with that, this year’s draft cycle is in full swing. Over the coming months, we’re going to get inundated with mock drafts, player profiles, and endless streams of highlight reels as we look for a potential difference-maker on a cost-controlled contract to help the Boston Celtics in the coming seasons.

Of course, somebody has to be first when putting potential draftees’ names out into the ether, and this year Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated was the guy to take that plunge, releasing his first mock draft on November 23rd.  This season, the Celtics own both of their draft picks, allowing them two rolls of the dice come draft night, assuming a trade isn’t made in the meantime.

As such, Woo looks at options in both rounds for the Celtics, taking into account their team needs along with the perceived best talent available. With that being said, let’s look at who Woo has mocked going to the Celtics in the mid-first round.

Keon Ellis is a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter currently playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide, who is currently shooting 37.5% on reasonable volume while also averaging 7.8 rebounds per game, per ESPN.

“Ellis is a quality shooter and efficient scorer who should be a neat fit as a 3-and-D wing in the NBA. He has excellent instincts defending the perimeter using his length and has enough chops to knock down open shots, attack closeouts and move the ball effectively,” Woo wrote when explaining his reasoning for the Celtics selecting Ellis with their first-round pick.


Keon Ellis vs Louisiana Tech (18 PTS 9 REBS 3 ASTS 3 STLS 1 BLK)PTS: 18/ DREB: 7/OREB: 2/TREB: 9/ AST: 3/ STL: 3/ BLK: 1/ TO: 1 2FGM: 2/2FGA: 3/ FG%: 67% 3PTM: 3/3PTA: 4/ 3PT%: 75% FTM: 5/FTA: 5/ FT%: 100% Scouting videos trying to show the best and worst offensive and defensive plays a player makes throughout a game. I do not own clips or videos…2021-11-12T07:48:32Z

The Celtics are short on quality shooters off the bench, an issue that has blighted them for numerous years at this point. Sure, Grant Williams has developed into a reliable outside threat from the corners. Romeo Langford looks drastically improved in his jumper, but floor spacers that can rebound and run the floor are always valuable commodities.

With Aaron Nesmith struggling to start his sophomore season and Payton Pritchard resigned to garbage-time minutes, it makes sense that the Celtics would look to add another shooter with size into their rotation. And the draft is the most cost-effective way to do so.


Mock Draft Sees Celtics Snag G-League Ignite Foward

While Woo found a seemingly perfect fit in the first round of his mock draft, he has opted to send G-League Ignite forward Michael Foster to the Celtics in the second round.

According to Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report, Foster is a 5-star prospect who ranked 14th in the 2021 collegiate recruiting class before he spurned the traditional college route to enter the G-League.

“The Milwaukee native does most of his damage in the paint, but he’s started to showcase offensive range that stretches to the three-point line. His length and athleticism have also made him a high-end defender in high school,” Daniels wrote back in April of this year.

In his first four professional basketball games, Foster is averaging 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks per game in 30.7 minutes of floor time, per Real GM. The G-League is a considerable step up in talent from the high-school ranks. While this mock draft has Foster going in the second round, should he continue this production level against professional competition, he likely finds himself going much higher in the draft.


Michael Foster Jr. Posts 13 points & 15 rebounds vs. South Bay LakersThe NBA G League is the NBA's official minor league. Fans can get a glimpse at the players, coaches and officials competing to ascend to the NBA's rank. With 41 percent of players on start-of-season NBA rosters boasting NBA G League experience when the 2021-22 season tipped off in October, the NBA G League YouTube…2021-11-18T07:23:53Z

Celtics’ Had Mixed Results From the Draft in Recent Years

The Celtics have had mixed results when building through the draft in recent seasons, yet most of their roster is made up of homegrown talent.

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Payton Pritchard are all former draft picks and have had their moments in recent history.

While not every Danny Ainge draft pick has panned out, the current Celtics rotation primarily comprises young, high-upside talent, which Ainge saw fit to bring into the franchise.

However, with Brad Stevens moving into the front office and his only draft pick in Juhann Begarin currently playing overseas, we’re unable to get a firm grasp on what to expect in the upcoming draft – should Stevens wish to keep (and use) his picks. It’s also worth noting that Stevens has recently been seen attending collegiate basketball games, which while not an indicator of his future intentions, is something to bear in mind as these mock drafts continue to come out.

But, should Stevens find a way of landing both Ellis and Foster, we can be sure that many would view that as a successful draft cycle.

Let’s be honest, though, we’re still only in November, and there’s a lot of basketball to be played between now and draft night.

We’re going to see hundreds of these mock drafts popping up as we traverse the season, each helping us get a feel for each of the realistic prospects available.

 

 


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