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Chris Mannix on D&C: ‘I just don’t think that Boston has enough’ to acquire top pick

06.25.14 at 10:16 am ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix checked in with Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning to discuss the Celtics and the NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Celtics hold the No. 6 and 17 picks in Thursday’s draft, but the C’s reportedly are interested in acquiring the top overall pick from the Cavaliers.

“If Boston moves up in the draft it’s to get the player they want,” Mannix said. “And I think there are a couple of cornerstone players still available in [Andrew Wiggins] and [Jabari Parker] that can change the shape of a franchise. I don’t think Boston has abandoned the pursuit of Kevin Love by any stretch.

“Cleveland, really since they won the lottery, has let teams know that if you’ve got an offer for the No. 1 pick, we’re willing to listen to it. David Griffin, the GM out there, has been reluctant to trade it, but certainly he’s been fielding offers.

“I just don’t think that Boston has enough. ‘€¦ I just think it’s a long shot at best that the Celtics are able to get in that position.”

If the Celtics were to obtain the top pick, Mannix said general manager Danny Ainge would be deciding between Wiggins and Parker after Joel Embiid‘s stock fell following a foot injury.

“Danny has had a thing for Jabari Parker for a while. He scouted him extensively,” Mannix said. “The Celtics think that he can come into the NBA and be a ready-made scorer immediately at either forward spot when he gets there.

“Andrew Wiggins, I just see teams having a hard time passing him up with the top overall pick. I thought that he would’ve been a tough call for Cleveland if Joel Embiid were healthy. I just think Wiggins, even though he’s got some issues with his aggressiveness and he’s going to have to polish the game once he gets to the pros, the games you saw him play at Kansas, when he was on he was spectacular. He’s a two-way player, can defend multiple positions already.

“I just see him being the biggest star in this draft, and I include Joel Embiid in that mix.”

Parker may have hurt his stock with some poor pre-draft workouts.

“He hasn’t looked good in these workouts, I can tell you that much,” Mannix said. “The workouts that he’s done, the people that I’ve talked to that have seen him, were unimpressed with his conditioning. It wasn’t that he was overweight, according to the people I was talking to, he just was out of shape in these things and that raised some red flags.

“In the individual workouts he’s gone to, none of them he shot the lights out. None of them he’s been extremely effective, whereas Wiggins, when he went to Cleveland, he was really good from what I’m told from the people there.

“So Parker has been mediocre throughout this whole process, but people look at his body of work in college, they see his offensive potential and there’s very little chance he escapes those top three picks. I do think now that Embiid is off the board for that first overall pick that Wiggins and Parker are going to be neck and neck for it.”

The popular rumor involving the Celtics since they landed the No. 6 pick has been their interest in trading for Love. Mannix, however, doesn’t expect Love to be traded on draft night. But he also doesn’t expect him to play for the Timberwolves next season.

“I don’t think that Kevin gets to training camp with this team,” Mannix said. “I think that both Minnesota and Kevin Love do not want to get into October and have to sit down and have to deal with the constant media crunch that’s going to come with a season with Kevin on the roster.

“[Flip Saunders] honestly believes — and I’m not sure why he believes this but I know he does — that this team can make the playoffs next year. He thinks that a team with a healthy [Ricky Rubio] and [Nikola Pekovic] and some of the other talents on the roster, if they can flip Kevin for some real assets before the season, they can make a push to get into the playoffs.”

Mannix doesn’t believe Rajon Rondo will get moved, either.

“I just don’t see it. I don’t think that Rondo is going to go at any time during the draft or really any time this offseason,” he said. “I think the Celtics want to get a good look at what Rondo looks like at full strength, in Brad Stevens‘ system with whatever players they are able to bring in during the offseason.

“That’s not to say that right now they believe that Rondo is part of their long-term plans, I just think they want to get a look him before they make any moves.”

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