The Boston Celtics enter the 2023 offseason without their own first-round draft pick. Instead, the Indiana Pacers will utilize the 29th pick of the first round after receiving the rights to that selection as part of the Malcolm Brogdon trade from last summer.
As such, the Boston Celtics only have their second-round pick to use during the draft process. That draft selection is set to occur pretty high on the second-round board, coming in as the 35th overall selection. Given the Boston Celtics' depth and championship aspirations, what they choose to do with that draft selection will be intriguing.
Heading into the draft night, the Boston Celtics have three avenues they could potentially explore.
The Celtics' first option - use the draft pick
The first and most logical option is that the Celtics retain their 35th pick and look to select the best talent available at a position of need. Currently, the Celtics are in need of a backup wing who can help take some of the scoring load off Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's shoulders. They also need a legitimate big man who can make an impact on the defensive and offensive glass as the third big in the rotation.
Of course, there is always the need for more shooting when you're playing under Joe Mazzulla, so a sharpshooter could also be another enticing route to take when selecting early in the second round.
The Celtics' second option - package players and the pick to move up
While the 2023 NBA draft doesn't project to be awash with star-level talent, it does project to have multiple role players littered throughout the first round. The Boston Celtics could look to remove some of their depth (which at times was a problem) along with their 35th draft pick, to move up into the late teens or early twenties of the first round.
Payton Pritchard, Malcolm Brogdon, and Dallino Gallinari have all been rumored as potential trade chips this summer, so sending one or two of those players out along with the 35th pick could see the Celtics climb into the first round. From there, Jett Howard of Michigan or Ben Sheppard of Belmont could be logical targets.
The Celtics' third option - draft and stash
With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement due to kick in next summer, having cost-controlled talent will be at a premium. As such, it's unlikely the Celtics would look to trade out of the draft completely. However, if Brad Stevens believes that adding a young talent is not what the Celtics need right now, he could potentially look to stash a prospect in Europe.
Currently, the Boston Celtics have two European stash prospects in Yam Madar and Juhann Begarin. Tristan Vukcevic of KK Partizan, James Nnaji of Barcelona, and Rayan Rupert of the New Zealand Breakers are all projected to be available in the early second round and could be kept overseas to continue their development.
Celtics G-League affiliate is also an option
Should the Celtics decide to draft a player who projects to be more of a project, it is likely they sign them to a two-way contract and look to develop them via their G-League system with the Maine Celtics.
This past season, both Sam Hauser and Luke Kornet were part of Boston's 15-man roster, having both impressed during their time in the G-League.
In return, 2022 draftee JD Davison joined Maine's roster and has developed into an exciting young guard who could potentially make the cut for Boston's main roster in the upcoming season (depending on what happens with Payton Pritchard and Malcolm Brogdon.)
As such, it's clear that the Boston Celtics have multiple options available to them heading into the upcoming draft, all of which come with their pros and cons. It will be interesting to see what route the team takes on June 22.