By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bet 'ya didn't know this: The Celtics, like the rest of the NBA, have a draft to get through in just two days.
Rightfully lost in the madness known as Kyrie Irving's indecision, as well as the uncertainty potentially surrounding Al Horford should he truly test free agent waters outside of Boston, this year's draft looms over the Celtics with three first-round selections to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge's name.
And while none are of the lottery-style that made picks for Jaylen Brown (No. 3 overall in 2016) and Jayson Tatum (No. 3 overall in 2017) so intriguing, there's no underselling the importance of Ainge's moves on Thursday night, especially with the aforementioned unknowns that come with both Irving and Horford entering the start of NBA free agency on June 30.
But before diving into the who, it's important to know the where of the C's draft.
Here's where the Celtics will be picking in this Thursday's NBA Draft in Brooklyn...
No. 14 overall
This pick is already a disappointment, really.
A Sacramento pick acquired as part of the trade package that landed Jayson Tatum in Boston with the No. 3 overall pick in 2017 (the Sixers sent the C's an additional first-round draft pick so they could draft Markelle Fultz in what will always be the greatest story in the history of sports, prove me wrong), the expectation was that this Sacrmento pick was going to finish somewhere in the top five. (After all, this is the Sacramento Kings we're talking about.) But the Kings surprised everybody in 2019, and finished with 39 wins, good for the ninth seed in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Nevertheless, a free pick is a free pick, and the Celtics will take it.
The Celtics have selected in this spot just three times previously in their franchise history, with their last No. 14 overall pick coming all the way back in 1995 with the selection of Eric Williams out of Providence. Williams would go on to spend seven of his 12 NBA seasons with the Celtics. Notable 14th overall picks in NBA history include Basketball Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler (Portland, 1983), Tim Hardaway (Golden State, 1989), and the league's 18th-most prolific three-point shooter Peja Stojakovic (Sacramento, 1996).
No. 20 overall
This pick comes to the Celtics courtesy of the Clippers but by way of the Grizzlies.
The Celtics last picked in the 20 spot back in 2003 with their selection of Dahntay Jones. Jones would never play for the Celtics, of course, as his rights (along with the rights to Troy Bell) were traded to Memphis in exchange for the draft rights to point guard Marcus Banks and center Kendrick Perkins. Before Jones, Sam Vincent was the last Celtic drafted at No. 20 overall, which came all the way back in the first round of the 1985 NBA Trade, and with Vincent earning a ring on the C's bench in '86.
Some other notable 20th overall picks in NBA history: Larry Nance (Cleveland, 1981), Gus Williams (Golden State, 1975), Jameer Nelson (Denver, 2004), and two-time NBA All-Star Zydrunas Ilgauskas (Cleveland, 2003). At the very least, there's some hope for an absolutely bonkers name to come out of this pick; Just ask Dick Boushka, Major Jones, Speedy Claxton, and Jan Van Breda Kolff. I swear to you, these are all real people selected with this pick.
No. 22 overall
And finally, we've arrived at the Celtics' natural first-round pick.
Barring a trade, this will be the fourth time that the C's have picked from the No. 22 hole. Most recently, the Celtics drafted the late Fab Melo at No. 22 overall in 2012. Melo would play just six NBA games, all with the C's during the 2012-13 season, and sadly died of natural causes in his native Brazil in Feb. 2017. Before Melo, Reggie Lewis was taken by the Celtics with the 22nd overall pick in 1987. Like Melo, Lewis was taken from this world far too soon, with a cardiac episode at an offseason workout life ending his life at just 27.
Truck Robinson (Washington, 1974), Norm Nixon (Lakers, 1977), and veteran journeyman Jared Dudley (Charlotte, 2007) are among the noteworthy players selected with the 22nd overall pick over the years.
No. 51 overall
Let's acknowledge the obvious: For every Isaiah Thomas and Draymond Green, there's about 90 players you simply never hear from on the NBA stage. Such is life when talking about a 30-team, 15-person roster league.
But the Celtics will look to find a diamond in the rough at No. 51, their lone pick of the second round. The Celtics have some experience with this pick in recent seasons, with Ben Bentil (2016) and Kris Joseph (2012) taken from this spot within the last five years. Kyle Korver (New Jersey, 2003) is undoubtedly the most famous player selected with the 51st overall pick. But just three of the 14 No. 51 overall picks taken since Korver in '03 have gone on to play at least 20 NBA games.