The ESPN analytics department has used its NBA draft projection model to evaluate this year’s class, and found that the average draft grade for the top 50 college prospects this year is the highest it has been since the model began tracking in 2001. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com writes, that high average grade for the top 50 NCAA prospects suggests that this is a deep class, which is good news for a team like the Celtics — Boston holds eight of the 60 picks in the 2016 draft. The C’s surely won’t keep all those picks, but if there are still plenty of prospects drawing interest in the second round, it should increase the trade value of those selections.
Armed with those eight picks, the Celtics figure to strongly consider draft-and-stash prospects, a scenario that Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com examines. As Petraglia details, Austin Ainge is open to the idea of drafting a prospect who will continue to play overseas rather than coming to the NBA immediately.
“[Draft-and-stash talks] will be finalized kind of after you draft a kid, sit down and determine a plan of action, but those discussions go on all the time, year-round, contract situations, age, different levels of maturity and in the players’ game, all those come into play,” said the Celtics director of player personnel. “It’s a partnership with the player, his representatives and the team to try to make the best decisions for him.”
Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:
- The Raptors, who hold a pair of first-round picks, have been busy working out prospects. According to the team (Twitter links), Julian Jacobs (USC), Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia), Justin Edwards (Kansas State), Brice Johnson (UNC), and Jalen Reynolds (Xavier) worked out for Toronto on Monday, with David Walker (Northeastern), Michael Gbinije (Syracuse), Alex Poythress (Kentucky), Troy Williams (Indiana), Daniel Ochefu (Villanova), and A.J. Hammons (Purdue) working out for the club today.
- Joel Embiid won’t be playing for the 76ers‘ summer league team this year, but Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer was impressed with how the oft-injured big man looked during a workout on Monday.
- Ognjen Kuzmic, a former Warriors second-round pick who played 37 games with the club from 2013 to 2015, has agreed to play for the Knicks at the Orlando Summer League, his agent tells international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link).