With the fourteenth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select…
Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.
2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
- New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
- Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
- New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
- Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver
- Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter
- Phoenix Suns – Coby White
- Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish
- Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya
- Washington Wizards – Bol Bol
- Atlanta Hawks – Jaxson Hayes
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Nickeil Alexander-Walker
- Charlotte Hornets – Darius Garland
- Miami Heat – PJ Washington
Current State of the Boston Celtics
Most people had the Boston Celtics coming out of the Eastern Conference before the season started, and for good reason. The Celtics were coming off a successful season that lacked their two star players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. The young core of the Celtics pushed LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers to a close seven game series and showed the world that they were up next.
The Boston Celtics were finally back with their two healthy stars, Irving and Hayward. The Celtics went into the season with hefty expectations. Jaylen Brown went on the record for saying they will definitely get to the NBA Finals, and famous Celtic fan Bill Simmons predicted that they would dominate the NBA with a 67 win record.
However, both of those things didn’t happen. Nobody thought that a team with such a large collection of talent would struggle so heavily during an entire NBA season. The Boston Celtics managed to scrap together a 49-33 win record. A respectable season indeed, but it came nowhere close to their expectations.
What was the reason behind their struggles? Well, nobody has a clear answer.
You can blame Kyrie Irving. Throughout the season we saw him provide the media with cryptic responses, mostly with his impending free agency. There’s certainly an argument that Kyrie Irving can’t be the leader of a competitive NBA team. There were questions brought out about his fit with team-play oriented head coach Brad Stevens.
You can go down the entire roster of the Boston Celtics and put blame on certain players. Gordon Hayward not returning to All-star form certainly hurt. Clashes among teammates certainly didn’t help the Celtics win games either. Players weren’t okay sacrificing their roles for team success.
You can go on and on about the strange year that the Celtics had, but two words describes it perfectly: complete disarray.
Looking ahead into 2019 Free Agency
The Celtics have a lot of major contributors entering into free agency. Both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford can enter free agency if they turn down their player options (at $21 and $32 million respectively). Aron Baynes also has a player option at a much less expensive $5 million.
Marcus Morris is hitting free agency as an unrestricted free agent for the first time. Morris has developed into a quality starter/role player and will demand a decent payday. It’s very unlikely the Celtics will be able to retain him as they are limited in salary cap.
Terry Rozier is also looking for a major payday as a restricted free agent. He was a big reason the Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals a few seasons ago as he caught fire in the postseason. It’s very likely a team will take a chance on Rozier and throw a contract that the Celtics simply can’t match. If that isn’t reason enough to think he’s gone, I suggest you also take a look at his interview comments where he suggests “he might have to go” on First Take.
The Celtics will not be big players in free agency and will most likely opt to retain their big key guys in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. They will have to look for a selection of forwards via draft or free agency, as they will probably lose key guys in Morris and Theis.
The Selection – Brandon Clarke
The Celtics managed to get a steal here with Brandon Clarke falling right into their laps.
Clarke is the perfect “Brad Stevens player.” He has shown a capability of being a swiss-army-knife type player at an NBA level. While he’s primarily a power forward, he is more than capable of playing either forward spot, as well as center in small spurts.
Brandon Clarke is a major athlete and has developed into a quality defensive player at a college level, averaging an impressive 3.1 blocks-per-game during his last season. He has the physical tools to become an elite defender that can cover a wide range of players.
Clarke does lack size for his position at only six-foot-eight. He does, however, make up for this with an impressive basketball IQ. If you watch a few games of Brandon Clarke, you’ll realize that he’s never out of control or does anything questionable. A shot blocker with discipline and high IQ can be incredibly valuable to any NBA team.
The biggest weakness of Brandon Clarke revolves around his jumpshot. He recently changed it, and it led to lackluster results. He only attempted 0.4 threes-per-game and hit 27% of them. There is an obvious hesitation with his shot, and it’s definitely his biggest area that he needs to work on. Fortunately, the Celtics are filled with shooters. Developing Clarke in this system wouldn’t lead to too many problems in terms of floor spacing.
Brad Stevens is famous for experimenting with his players. He isn’t afraid to throw a rookie out there and give him a large role early on. Clarke could certainly be capable of playing himself into the rotation.
Right now Brandon Clarke is primarily a four, which is arguably the Celtics biggest area of need. They have a wealth of forwards, however most of them are “small-ball fours.” Clarke could be inserted into the lineup with Al Horford and could provide them some size and help defense.
Playing time would likely determine Clarke’s impact, along with stats. I could see him playing give-or-take 20 minutes-per-game and putting up respectable averages; somewhere along the lines of 8 points-per-game, 4 rebounds-per-game, and 1.5 blocks-per-game.