With the Boston Celtics holding three second-rounders in the upcoming draft, steals could come in leaps and bounds. Florida State forward Dwayne Bacon could be one of them.
Although the fanfare surrounding the Boston Celtics’ activity in the 2017 NBA Draft is focused solely on their right to the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick, the team still has three second-round selections. This includes one from the Minnesota Timberwolves that could land in the top ten selections of the second round.
With this crop of college prospects being incredibly deep, certain blue-chip players could fall to the second round, making the Celtics’ bevy of picks in this round extremely valuable. The team could either package a few of these selections in a trade for an established veteran or a first-round pick, or hold on to them to supplant themselves with unparalleled depth for seasons to come.
If Boston does decide to hold on to the selection that they garnered from the Timberwolves after trading for Isaiah Thomas from the Phoenix Suns in 2015, Florida State small forward Dwayne Bacon could land directly in their laps. Bacon resembles the third overall selection in the 2016 draft, Jaylen Brown. He is impeccably long and athletic, handles the ball with ease in transition, and can score at the rim without hesitation. Bacon is someone that can penetrate at will with his 6’7″, 221-pound frame, and has been a major catalyst in the Seminoles emerging as one of the most dangerous squads in the ACC this season.
He currently leads the 14th-ranked team in the country with 17.6 points per game while shooting efficiently from the field (45.6 percent) and from the free-throw stripe (75.3 percent). Additionally, an impressive facet of Bacon’s game is his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. The sophomore shoots at a superb 38.4 percent rate from three-point land, the second-best mark on the Florida State team for those that play over 10 minutes per game. Bacon has limitless range on the floor and his able to use his height and his high release point to get his shot off over almost any opponent who matches up alongside of him. In a 105-61 obliteration of the Clemson Tigers on Super Bowl Sunday, Bacon exploded for 29 points on an efficient 6-of-9 shooting from three.
His 55.5 percent true shooting percentage is measurable considering that 35.6 percent of his field goal attempts come from deep. Per 100 possessions Bacon shoots an average of 9.6 three-pointers as opposed to 6.5 threes per the same period of time last season, underlining head coach Leonard Hamilton’s growing faith in Bacon as an outside shooter and the confidence that has accompanied this development.
While Bacon averages just 1.8 assists per game, his ability to get into the middle of a defense will bode well for him in the future and allow him to spot open options on the perimeter in the mix of an NBA game. His assist prowess has improved since his freshman year, as his assist rate has jumped from 10.4 percent in 2015-16 to 11.7 percent this season. Overall, Bacon’s offensive rating has soared from 105.2 last season to an astounding 113.2 in 2016-17 while his offensive box plus-minus has jumped from 1.7 in 2015-16 to 4.6 this year, punctuating his effectiveness on this side of the ball.
What is more intriguing about Bacon’s repertoire is his defensive potential. With a tremendously long wing span measured at 6’9.5″, he has the ability to disrupt passing lanes with his arms. His lateral quickness allows him to stay in front of potentially quicker offensive weapons, and his defensive intensity as a whole has ballooned over the course of his college career. After assembling a defensive rating of 104.7 last season, Bacon has decreased this mark to 100.9 in 2016-17, emphasizing a renewed sense of purpose on the defensive end. Bacon has the potential to become a two-way option in the professional ranks, a bargain when considering the notion that he is projected as the 40th selection in the upcoming draft by Draft Express.