5 players the Celtics could take with their lone selection in the NBA Draft


They picked #53 on Thursday night.

Could Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard be a good fit for the Celtics? Craig Mitchelldyer/AP photo

With the Celtics just finishing their season, it seems like the NBA draft is still a few weeks away.

The reality, however, is that it’s almost there. This year’s draft takes place on Thursday, June 23 at 8 p.m. and will air on ESPN and ABC. The Celtics only have one pick, the No. 53 pick, and it’s entirely possible they’ll either trade it away or draft and tuck a player.

If they do decide to pick a player with the goal of contributing in the relatively near future, here are a few options that might go well with the current plays.

Julian Champagnie, SF, St. John’s

NBADraft.net is predicting Champagnie, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward originally from Brooklyn, to end up with the Celtics.

He averaged 19.8 points and 7.4 rebounds as a sophomore and 19.2 points and 6.6 rebounds as a junior. Champagnie shot 42.9 percent from the ground and 34.8 percent from 3-point range during his Red Storm career.

He became the seventh player in program history to earn a first-team All-Big East two years in a row and was one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given to the nation’s top small forward.

Alondes Williams, G., Wake Forest

Williams, a 6-foot-5, 201-pound security guard, began his career at Division II Triton College and eventually found a home at Oklahoma University, followed by Wake Forest University.

He broke out for the Demon Deacons last season averaging 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.2 steals and was named ACC Player of the Year. Williams is an elite defender who can protect point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards.

Williams can also throw the ball in the basket and get a shot off the bench. However, his shooting is a concern as he hit just 28 percent of his 3-point attempts last year. However, he shot 60 percent from inside the bow, so he knows his strengths and relies on his athleticism and skill.

He would have the best opportunity to learn from Marcus Smart.

Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga

Nembhard, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound security guard from Gonzaga, is sly, intelligent, and even-tempered. He’s projecting himself as a true point guard who could help the Celtics with their distance and ball movement – if not next year, then possibly for years to come.

He played two years with Florida and two with Gonzaga, averaging 10 points, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals over his career. Last season he shot 87 percent from the free throw line.

He’s a decent size for a point guard and is one of the most experienced players in this year’s class.

Trevion Williams, C, Purdue

If the Celtics go for a big man, Williams is a viable option. He’s a true center with a 7ft, 2 3/4 inch wingspan that has surprisingly good foot movement and can hit 3’s occasionally.

He is 6ft 10 and weighs 255 pounds and is a physically imposing, experienced player with a solid touch in color. The Celtics have been a little 3-pointer lucky at times this season and Williams could provide post presence long-term.

He averaged 15.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists as a junior and 12 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3 assists last season. Williams’ defensive versatility could be an issue, but he knows his role and executed it consistently at Purdue.

The Celtics usually like versatile players who can defend multiple positions, so it’s possible they see Williams as too one-dimensional.

Ron Harper Jr., SF, Rutgers

Harper Jr. – yes, Ron Harper’s son – is unlikely to be around late in the second round. If he is, the Celtics could end up taking him.

Harper, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward from Franklin Lakes, N.J., averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists last season. After hitting just 31 percent of his 3s as a junior, he increased that number to 39.8 last year.

He can score on all three levels and with the ball in hand is always a playful threat looking to make the big shot. NBADraft.net put him in the Cavaliers 39th place, so only time will tell if he’s still there at 53.

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