It’s only been a little over a month since the Los Angeles Lakers raised the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, and yet another NBA season is upon us; the highly anticipated free agency period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and the abnormal 2020 NBA Draft will take place on Wednesday. The Boston Celtics hold three first-round picks this year, which is not uncommon for general manager Danny Ainge; he loves to collect draft picks and believes that grooming prospects is the recipe to winning an NBA title. With the Celtics’ championship window closing faster than ever, Ainge is looking for talent and depth this season, two traits that will be hard to come by in this weak draft class. Nonetheless, with three first-round picks in their arsenal, the Celtics will most likely be aggressive on Wednesday.
Round 1, Pick 14: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, University of Alabama
After recently garnering some draft hype over his “high ceiling,” Kira Lewis Jr. is the perfect option for the Celtics. He averaged 18.5 PPG and 5.2 assists during his sophomore year at Alabama. He adds experience from leading an SEC team as a sophomore, and combined with his agility and promising jump shot, Lewis would give the Celtics a solid role player. Since Kemba Walker continues to struggle with injuries, this pick needs to be a guard that has similar traits to Walker and is able to run the point when needed — Kira Lewis Jr. fits this mold perfectly.
Round 1, Pick 26: Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State University
With extremely weak depth at the 4 and 5, the Celtics should look to draft a big somewhere in the first round — cue Xavier Tillman. Although Tillman isn’t known for explosiveness on the offensive side of the ball, his defense is elite; he was awarded Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and is able to defend all parts of the floor, specifically under the rim and beyond the arc. Currently, I’m not the biggest fan of Daniel Theis, who isn’t capable of starting on a playoff-contending team. Also, Enes Kanter is a terrific scorer, but his defense is abysmal. Tillman would be able to provide a defensive spark for the Celtics and fit well in the rotation.
Round 1, Pick 30: Tyler Bey, PF, University of Colorado
The Celtics do not need another power forward, since Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams III are both capable of playing at the 4. However, I love Tyler Bey’s game; he has an impressive seven-foot wingspan, which helps out on the defensive end tremendously. He’s relatively versatile on the floor and is able to “play bigger than his height.” At a small sample size, he was able to shoot at a 42% clip beyond the arc, but his stroke needs improvement. He does have some room to grow, and this would be a perfect developmental prospect for the Celtics.
The Celtics must approach this draft with an aggressive mindset; they are currently in a shrinking championship window and must make “win-now” moves in order to help their chances of another NBA Finals victory. In all honesty, Ainge will most likely boot on two of these three draft picks in order to stockpile for future years. In other years I’d support that move, but now is not the time to think about the Celtics’ future. The window for a championship is closing and could shut in the next few years, so Ainge must adopt some type of aggressive mindset in this draft, or Celtics fans will be calling for his head.