Ainge gets his center in this Celtics only mock draft

If you read far enough in the last Celtics only mock draft, you knew this was coming. Instead of making three first-round picks for the Celtics, which would truly be a surprising outcome for them, we’re going to craft a deal where they consolidate their assets into a high-upside prospect.

And not just a high-upside prospect, but one that fills a long term need.

Round 1, No. 7 overall: Onyeka Okongwu

Celtics trade No. 14, No. 30, Robert Williams and Romeo Langford to Detroit for No. 7

This is probably the most I’d pay if I were the Celtics. This draft class is deep with useful players but has a flat curve with talent. Once you get to the back-end of the top 10, you can get an equally good prospect at No. 20.

So Boston sends two former first-round picks, the 14th pick and the fina pick of the first round to get a player in Okongwu that could be the team’s center of the future. He’s a modern big with terrific mobility and defensive versatility. He may have a limited offensive game, but he has good hands, great touch and could excel in a limited offensive role.

On a team like the Celtics, he’d be able to just finish on the roll and focus on the defensive end of the floor, where he has a chance to be special.

At this point, the Celtics can use the No. 26 pick on a draft-and-stash player or send it somewhere else in a salary dump to clear Vincent Poirier’s contract for something. That way you just need to get veteran experience on the wing and at backup point guard in free agency.

Round 1, No. 26 overall: Leandro Bolmaro

If Blmaro is still there at No. 26, the Celtics should just take him and allow him to continue to work on his game overseas for a year before coming over. He’s a talented playmaker with a unique blend of ball-handling/passing skills for a 6-8 wing.

Bolmaro still has to improve his jump shot to have a chance at becoming a legitimate rotation player in the NBA, but his skills are intriguing enough to take a flier on, especially if you’re short on roster spots but still want to acquire young talent.

If Bolmaro isn’t there, Boston should look to possibly gain access to the full mid-level exception. They’d have to clear some money attached to the pick.


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