2017 NBA Draft preview: Boston Celtics

2017 NBA Draft preview: Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, right, celebrates with Jae Crowder after defeating the Washington Wizards 129-119 in a second-round NBA playoff series basketball game in Boston. Thomas scored 53 in the overtime win, taking a 2-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

NBA.com draft preview by Lang Whitaker

(Editor's note: This has been updated to take into account the team trading down to #3 with the Philadelphia 76ers)

2017 Draft picks: 1, 37, 53, 56
2016-17 record: 53-29, first in the Atlantic division, lost in conference Finals to CLE

Areas of Strength

Years of assiduously accumulating assets finally paid off big time this summer for the Boston Celtics, who won the Draft lottery and came away with the first pick in this summer's NBA Draft. But even while the Celtics are on top of the lottery, they've managed to build a contender, finishing last season atop the Eastern Conference. With Isaiah Thomas on the mend and Al Horford manning the middle, the Celtics have a proven framework on which to build.

Needs Work

As good as Boston has been, and even with all of their still-developing assets, they still need another front-line frontcourt player, as evidenced by their changing starting lineups throughout the playoffs. To that end, a rebounding specialist would be a nice fit, and they could also use someone to help Thomas share the scoring load, no matter the position.

Two Stats That Matter

42 -- Rebounds per game the Celtics averaged in the regular season, putting them tied for 26th in the NBA.

6 -- First round picks the Celtics have in the next four NBA drafts.

The Way to Go

“The Celtics still have several good options after trading out of No. 1. Markelle Fultz will be in Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Lakers will, with the No. 2 pick, take Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox or Josh Jackson. That will leave two of the three from the L.A. list -- plus Duke's Jayson Tatum. Possibly two point guards (Ball, Fox) for a team with Isaiah Thomas, two small forwards (Jackson, Tatum) for a team that spent a No. 3 pick on Jaylen Brown a year ago. Jackson is the consensus around the league.” - Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com

2016-17 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank) 
Offensive: 108.6 (8th)
Defensive: 105.5 (12th)

Under Contract 
G: Avery Bradley
G: Demetrius Jackson
G: Terry Rozier
G: Marcus Smart
G: Isaiah Thomas
F: Jaylen Brown
F: Jae Crowder
F: Jordan Mickey
C: Al Horford
C: Tyler Zeller

Free Agents 
F/G: James Young (unrestricted)
F: Gerald Green (unrestricted)
F: Jonas Jerebko (unrestricted)
F: Amir Johnson (unrestricted)
F/C: Kelly Olynyk (restricted)

Recent Draft History

2016: Jaylen Brown (3); Guerschon Yabusele (16); Ante Zizic (23); Deyonta Davis (31), traded to Memphis; Rade Zagorac (35), traded to Memphis; Demetrius Jackson (45); Ben Bentil (51); Abdel Nader (58)
2015: Terry Rozier (16); R.J. Hunter (28); Jordan Mickey (33); Marcus Thornton (45)
2014: Marcus Smart (6); James Young (17)
2013: Lucas Nogueira (traded to Atlanta)
2012: Jared Sullinger (21); Fab Melo (22); Kris Joseph (51)

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