After ending last season with just 25 wins. and opening the 2014-2015 campaign sporting distant 200/1 odds in NBA futures betting at the online sportsbooks, the Boston Celtics proved to be one of the top stories of the year at BettingSports.com, winning 40 games to claim the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference before being swept in the first round by Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But while the Celtics’ success this season indicates their rebuild may be progressing faster than expected, their return to the post-season means that management will have to wait longer than expected to make their first selection in this year’s NBA Draft.
Boston currently owns three of the first 33 picks in this year’s NBA Draft, but barring a trade, will not be on the clock until No. 16, in the middle of the first round.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the young guns that may be on the Celtics’ radar when the 2015 NBA Draft kicks off on June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
RJ Hunter, G, Georgia State Panthers
The 6′ 6” 190 lb. junior from Indianapolis, Indiana, has generally been projected to go late in the first round, but could be taken as high as No. 16 by the Celtics.
Hunter averaged 19.7 points per game and 37 minutes per game at Georgia State this past season, and was outstanding from three-point territory, draining an average of 2.3 shots from downtown including seven games where he scored at least four.
While selecting Hunter at No. 16 could raise eyebrows among fans and observers, landing him with the No. 28 pick could prove to be one of the steals of this year’s Draft.
Myles Turner, F, Texas Longhorns
Texas Longhorns freshman Myles Turner has been pegged as a Top 10 prospect in the 2015 Draft, but given the depth of this year’s class and the unique needs of a number of teams picking ahead of Boston, the Celtics could have a shot at the 19 year-old.
Turner averaged 10.1 points and 22.2 minutes in his first season at Texas, along with an impressive 6.5 rebounds per game. While his game is still raw, their is no questioning the 6′ 11”, 240-pounder’s talent.
The challenge for the Celtics is whether they can be patient with a youngster who will likely need a year of apprenticeship before challenging for a job as a starter
Trey Lyles, F, Kentucky Wildcats
A consensus pick to go in the middle of the first round in a number of online mock drafts, Lyles adds to the growing number of young players from north of the border who have been changing the face of the NBA.
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Lyles finished high school in Indianapolis before joining the high-powered Wildcats last season, averaging 8.7 points and 23.0 minutes per game before an impressive performance at this year’s March Madness.
Lyles has demonstrated outstanding athleticism, and is an exceptional ball handler for a big man, but at age 19, he may also need additional time to round out his game.