As originally spotted by Red’s Army, Bob Ryan reported on CSNNE last night that the Boston Celtics are plotting to move up in the draft to select UNC’s Harrison Barnes.
While the Celtics do have numerous assets (including the No. 21 and 22 picks) to deal, I don’t know if Harrison Barnes is the player I would trade up to select. He’s vastly talented, with a polished offensive repertoire and pre-draft measurements that paint him as a prototypical NBA wing. Because of his refined game and physical gifts, he’s unlikely to completely whiff in the NBA. But he also spent two seasons with the Tar Heels disguising his athletic gifts and underachieving to the extent that he shot just 20-61 in North Carolina’s four NCAA tournament games, against Vermont, Creighton, Ohio and Kansas.
Barnes was voted to the AP preseason first team All-American team prior to both of his years at UNC, yet his production didn’t match up to his hype: the 6-foot-8 wing made honorable mention after his freshman season and didn’t make any All-American teams after his sophomore season. It’s entirely possible he doesn’t come close to fulfilling his high ceiling.
The Charlotte Bobcats are rumored to be interested in Barnes with the No. 2 pick. Would you want to package the No. 21 and 22 picks with another asset, maybe as part of a sign-and-trade deal, for someone who spent two seasons underwhelming everyone who predicted such big things for him, whose best-case scenario is Luol Deng?
I like Barnes’ offensive arsenal. He seems like a good guy by all accounts. But if the Celtics are looking to surrender an arm and a leg to trade into the top five of a loaded draft, methinks they should target another player.
If anything, Ryan’s report should reconfirm something we already knew: Danny Ainge is a creative mo-fo who is pondering a zillion different maneuvers this summer.