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


They have the No. 53 pick Thursday night.

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

With the Celtics just wrapping up their season, it feels like the NBA Draft should still be a few weeks away.

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

If they do opt to choose a player with the goal of having them contribute in the relatively near future, here are some options that could fit in well with the current pieces.

Julian Champagnie, SF, St. John’s

NBADraft.net projects 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 floor and 34.8 percent from 3-point range in his career with the Red Storm.

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

Alondes Williams, G, Wake Forest

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

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

Williams can also put the ball in the hoop and provide a scoring spark off the bench. His shooting, however, is a concern, as he hit just 28 percent of his 3-point attempts last year. He shot 60 percent from inside the arc, though, so he knows his strengths and relies on his athleticism and savviness.

He would have a prime opportunity to learn from Marcus Smart.

Andrew Nembhard, PG, Gonzaga

Nembhard, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard from Gonzaga, is shifty, intelligent, and poised. He projects as a true point guard who could help the Celtics with their spacing and ball movement – if not next year, then potentially in years to come.

He played two years at Florida and two at Gonzaga, averaging 10 points, 5.4 assists, and 1.2 steals throughout his career. This past season, he shot 87 percent from the free-throw line.

He has 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 decide to go with a big man, Williams is a potential option. He’s a true center, with a wing span of 7 feet, 2 3/4 inches, who moves his feet surprisingly well and can hit the occasional 3.

He’s 6-foot-10 and 255 pounds and is a physically imposing, skilled player with solid touch in the paint. The Celtics got a little 3-pointer-happy at times this season, and Williams could provide a 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 this past season. Williams’ defensive versatility could be an issue, but he knows his role and executed it consistently at Purdue.

The Celtics typically like versatile players who can guard multiple positions, so it’s possible they would view Williams as too one-dimensional.

Ron Harper Jr., SF, Rutgers

It’s unlikely Harper Jr. – yes, the son of Ron Harper – will still 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, New Jersey, 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 upped that number to 39.8 this past year.

He can score at all three levels and is always a playmaking threat with the ball in his hands who wants to take the big shot. NBADraft.net has him going 39th to the Cavaliers, so only time will tell if he’s still there at 53.

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