If there's any reason to believe Boston won't continue making savvy value picks even in the middle of the first round, the departure of former assistant general manager Ryan McDonough to Phoenix could be one. But with Ainge still captaining the ship and going with the same philosophies that have netted results later in the first round, the Celtics should be able to add to a younger core as they usher in the post-Big Three era.
The Celtics this past season got fine production out of 2010's No. 19 pick, Avery Bradley. Last year's No. 21 overall pick, Jared Sullinger, also appeared to be a steal before a known back issue ended his season. How does the 2013 draft situation stack up in Beantown?
The Celtics have one pick at No. 16 overall. It's the highest they've selected since picking Jeff Green fifth overall in 2007 before including him in the draft-day trade to the Seattle SuperSonics that netted them Ray Allen. Their second-round pick is heading to the Portland Trail Blazers.
SF -- Paul Pierce (June 30 buyout deadline), Jeff Green
It'll be interesting to see who slips to the No. 16 pick, because the Celtics have the recent history as the team to take the most intriguing long-term prospects. For example, even though Boston is set with Rondo and Bradley at point guard, it could go with the best available and take a swing at a point guard if a talented one falls.
While the statuses of Pierce and Garnett might make for a few holes to fill at those spots, the Celtics certainly need more big men at center. Fab Melo could be a long way from contributing in his second NBA season and Boston will especially like to add more size if Garnett is shipped elsewhere.
The small forward spot is also a position of need. Green is talented enough to play the power forward spot and a small forward prospect could have time to grow especially if Pierce is traded. Shabazz Muhammad (scouting report), once a top-five pick, could fall to Boston because of character concerns and might be a best-case scenario here.
That said, the Celtics don't have to worry too much about what positions they pick. They are thin at swingman and small in the backcourt with Terry and Lee having underproduced last season -- anything goes.
Muhammad would be a typical talented-but-risky pick for Boston if he falls, and that's not out of the question. Other perimeter players that are more likely to be available are versatile Russian swingman Sergey Karasev (scouting report), rising scoring guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (scouting report) out of Georgia and North Texas' Tony Mitchell (scouting report).
The draft's most mysterious man, Greece small forward Giannis Adetokunbo (scouting report), is a reach at 16, but such a pick wouldn't be completely out of the Celtics' wheelhouse.