2016 NBA Draft: Celtics options at 16 and 23

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By Tyler Sullivan Follow on Twitter @TylerSully

A lot of talk, arguing and speculation surrounds what the Celtics will do with the number three overall pick on Thursday’s NBA Draft. What they do at the top may impact what Boston does later on in the draft, but currently they hold 16th and 23rd overall picks.

Here’s some prospects that have been linked to the Celtics at 16 and 23.

Options at 16…

Denzel Valentine

Valentine saved his best collegiate season for his final year at Michigan State averaging 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

He has a great feel for the game, but there have been some health concerns. An MRI on his right knee has given NBA teams a scare. This may benefit the Celtics because he now may be available at 16.

Valentine told MLive.com that he is healthy, but teams will still have some concerns about his longterm durability.

Fit with the Celtics – Let’s face it Evan Turner is going to get paid this offseason and will probably not return to the Celtics. Boston will need to replace his unique skill set and Valentine is the perfect replacement for him. Yes there are concerns about his health, but Danny Ainge has proven (with Jared Sullinger) that he isn’t afraid to take a flyer on a player with an injury history if it is later in the daft. Valentine won’t be asked to play a huge role with the Celtics and could be an immediate impact in the Evan Turner role.

Domantas Sabonis

Averaging  17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game last year at Gonzaga may make Sabonis go a higher than 16 but if he falls the Celtics would be wise to pounce on the 6’10 big man.

He plays with a ton of emotion – which is both plus and a minus as he gets himself in trouble sometimes – and will be a fan favorite wherever he goes.

He improved his jump shot making baskets at a 47.7% of mid-range jumpers in his sophomore season. A knock on him is that he isn’t the most athletic big man and while it didn’t hurt him in college it may in the NBA.

Fit with the Celtics –  Would be a solid player for the Celtics, but I doubt he gets this far down.

Options at 23…

Brice Johnson 

Superb athlete who can hold his own on the defensive side of the ball. At UNC last season, Johnson averaged a double-double with 17 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Being 6-foot-10-inches and weighting 210 pounds, Johnson possess a solid NBA frame for the power forward position.

He is wiry, but needs to be more willing to shoot the outside shot. If he can do that he’d be a steal at 23.

Fit with the Celtics – Want a Jared Sullinger replacement? Here you go. He could also be an improvement.

Thon Maker  

The mystery prospect gave NBA teams hope that he could be more than just the hype.  He clearly has the size for the NBA being 7-foot-2-inches and doesn’t shy away from contact.

He also is remarkably skilled handling the basketball.

Maker can hit the outside shot, is a willing passer and was able to hit his free throws in high school.

The concern for Maker is that the NBA game might be too fast for him and, yes he can handle the basketball, but he may be turnover prone by trying to do too much. He also may struggle defending NBA bodies.

Fit with the Celtics – Who doesn’t want a 7-footer? If the Celtics don’t mind waiting for him to develop, it could pay off. With the 23rd pick, the Celtics can afford to and should gamble.

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