ESPN’s Chad Ford offers up his latest mock draft and I’m not happy:
Joel Embiid #6
Embiid could go No. 3 to the Sixers (or to the Cavs in a Sixers-Cavs swap) or the Magic at No. 4. But if he slides past both of those teams (I don’t see the Jazz taking the risk on Embiid) there’s an increasing belief that GM Danny Ainge won’t let him slide further. Ainge always has been a gambler, he’s always emphasized have great assets and Embiid has the potential to be a franchise center, and there’s no one else on the board that the Celtics are in love with.
There are a few caveats. The Celtics, like everyone else, are still gathering medical info. Sources say that the foot and back fractures aren’t the only issues with Embiid’s physical. There are several other issues that need to be addressed. Something they see in the next four days could scare them away. And second, the Celtics are engaged in a number of different trade scenarios that could alter this plan (by either trading the pick or getting an established star that would necessitate getting a player in the draft that could help them now.).
If the Celtics pass on Embiid, I believe Gordon is their top target. If he’s gone, Marcus Smart seems to be the next guy up. The Celtics love his toughness and think he can play with Rondo as well as free them up to explore Rondo deals.
Dario Saric #17
Saric might go as high as No. 10. He’ll get looks at 11, 12, 14 and 15, as well. But with Saric staying in Europe for two more years, there seems to be more reluctance toward taking him that high. Again, I don’t think the Celtics let him pass. Yes, I know that it means that Celtics fans would not see EITHER of their first-round picks play in Boston next season. But as far as talent goes, Ainge could walk away with the best player in the draft and a top-10 pick for Nos. 6 and 17. I’m not sure he could help himself.
As for Embiid, it appears there are additional concerns aside from the foot and back. Wonderful.
If the Celtics follow up Embiid with Saric – a guy contractually obligated to play Europe for two years – I might go off the deep end.
We were promised fireworks. I want fireworks, damnit.
And regarding the trade Rondo talk, Chris Mannix said:
“I don’t think Rondo gets dealt on draft night. I don’t think he gets dealt in the offseason. I think this team has to see what he looks like going into next year healthy with this group. The earliest he can get dealt, and the last time he can get dealt is at the trade deadline. I think that’s the plan with Boston.”