Grizzlies Pick: 3 bigs for Celtics to look at in 2020 draft

Nick Friar
January 28, 2020 - 1:49 pm
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With the Grizzlies still set as the last playoff team in the Western Conference, their 2020 draft pick would convey to the Celtics if the season were to end now. And it would land at No. 17, since Memphis enters play on Tuesday with a better record than the Magic (21-27) and Nets (19-26), the East’s seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.

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The Celtics could try to move this pick elsewhere for future assets, or in a trade if they get one done before the deadline. Boston also wasn’t expected to walk out of the 2019 NBA Draft with four new players, yet here we are.

Operating under the idea that the Celtics will use the pick from Memphis and that the selection will fall where it’s currently positioned, here are three bigs Boston should look at further:

Isaiah Stewart, F, Washington

2019-20 PER GAME STATS: 19.2 points | 8.9 rebounds | 2.1 blocks

At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, Stewart has been a good rim protector at the college level. He’s got the energy to defend the pick-and-roll, but whether or not he can actually do so is still unclear.

Stewart attacks the glass on both ends of the floor, which we’ve seen can be a big help with a 3-happy Celtics team.

Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona

2019-20 PER GAME STATS: 16.9 points | 8.7 rebounds | 1 block

He’s only shooting 33.3% from 3-point territory, but he doesn’t pull up from deep much. The fact he’s already working to stretch the floor is a good sign. Nnaji is athletic and can switch on defense, but he’s not a rim protector, despite his 6-foot-11, 240-pound frame.

Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC

2019-20 PER GAME STATS: 17.3 points | 8.9 rebounds | 3.1 blocks

The 6-foot-9 freshman’s major drawback: he doesn’t shoot 3-pointers (three attempts this year). He’s efficient from inside the arc (63.2%), but the Celtics are like every other team in the league — they would like it if everyone can help stretch the floor.

Though, Okongwa’s big plus may outweigh his offensive deficiency. He has the build, athleticism and intensity to fit into Brad Stevens’ defensive system.

Now, the reason he’s listed third on this list is the Celtics might need the Grizzlies to drop in the standings a smidge to get Okongwu, or they need him to slip. Nnaji and Stewart should be there for the Celtics at No. 17.

With Okongwu, some mock drafts have him as a top-10 pick. Some see him falling right outside the lottery — which is where the Memphis pick would land right now.