Should Boston Celtics fans care about the 2023 NBA Draft?
On one hand, the Celtics own just one selection in next Thursday's draft (No. 35 overall), and they're certainly not finding the next Victor Wembanyama with the fifth pick of the second round.
On the other hand, No. 35 is actually Boston's highest draft pick since Brad Stevens took over as the Celtics' president of basketball operations in 2021 -- he traded the team's first-rounders in 2021, 2022 and 2023 to acquire Al Horford, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon, respectively -- and history suggests there's value to be had at the 35th slot.
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MORE CELTICS ANALYSIS
To illustrate that point, here's a look at every No. 35 pick from the past decade -- a list that includes a four-time All-Star (Draymond Green) and a promising young role player (Herbert Jones).
Based on recent history, you're more likely to land a Jarnell Stokes or a Rade Zagorac than a player like Green or even Jones. Of the 11 players on this list, only four -- Green, Willy Hernangomez, Jones and Xavier Tillman -- have made any real NBA impact.
Still, that's not a bad success rate a selection that comes with relatively low expectations -- and the success rate actually improves with a larger sample size. If we zoom out to two decades (from 2002 to 2022), we find up to nine players (out of 21 total) who have carved out legitimate NBA careers from the No. 35 pick, including the likes of DeAndre Jordan, Carlos Boozer and P.J. Tucker.
Interestingly, a majority of the players listed above are forwards or big men -- a position the Celtics need to address much more than guard, where they have a surplus of talent. To that end, several NBA mock drafts have Boston going the forward route at No. 35, with G League Ignite power forward Sidy Cissoko and Serbian big man Tristan Vukcevic among the names recently tied to the C's.
It's also worth noting that second-round picks come with a lower price tag than first-rounders: Herbert Jones' rookie deal in 2021 was for just $5.3 million over three years with no guaranteed money.
It's still more likely than not that the Celtics' No. 35 pick (if they stay in that spot) won't make a major NBA contribution. But there are enough success stories to at least somewhat pique fans' interest ahead of June 22 at 8 p.m. ET.