Andrew Nicholson, No. 22 (Mock)

by Eldon Khorshidi | @eldonadam

This is the second of back-to-back selections the Boston Celtics own in Round 1 of this Thursday’s NBA Draft. At No. 21, we (I) selected former St. John’s forward Moe Harkless, giving the Celtics some much-needed youth and athleticism, and a dude with a plethora of untapped talent. Harkless is one of those what could be cases, and at this point in the Draft, the reward outweighs the risk.

Regardless if Boston takes a chance on wing player like Harkless, the Celtics will undoubtedly use one of these two picks on a post presence. With the futures of Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, and Greg Stiemsma in a state of flux, grabbing a youthful big man to provide another body, and either stretch the floor or score close to the basket will be a nice pick-up.

Fortunately for the Celtics, there’s someone on the board who can do a little bit—and maybe a lot—of both.

With the 22nd pick of the 2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Boston Celtics select….

Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure.

Nicholson played all four years in college, each season showing considerable growth and progress, culminating in winning the Atlantic 10’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. The 6-10 forward started his career as scrawny dude who could intermittently score in the low post and grab some boards. But Nicholson gained 50 pounds in four years, continued to rebound at a decent clip, and expanded his game outwards each year, all the way out to the three-point line. This past season, 32 percent of Nicholson’s shots were from 20-plus feet away. Andrew gradually advanced his offensive game so much that he is now considered to have the complete package—outside, inside, rebounds, blocks shots, high energy, penchant for finishing plays with dunks, etc.

Peep his college numbers:

Freshman year: 12.5 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.7 bpg

Sophomore year: 16.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 bpg

Junior year: 20.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 bpg

Senior year: 18.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2 bpg

Talk about a model of consistency.

Nicholson has excellent hands which help him operate in the paint, is a good shot blocker and looks to dunk everything when attacking the basket. He could be a better rebounder, though. If he bulks up a bit more (he’s only 234 pounds right now), he could become a dangerous mix of power and speed. Even if he doesn’t develop a “power game,” per se, the Celtics have long coveted the pick-and-pop big man, and Nicholson could immediately contribute in that department.

Nicholson also fits perfectly with the winning and competitive culture in Boston; he’s mature, smart and plays with consistent energy. He likes to have a good time, but winning and the concept of team easily trump any of the other, irrelevant stuff.

He may not pay dividends right away or become a starter in the L, but if Andrew Nicholson’s career trajectory indicates one thing, it’s that he’s ready for the next step.

2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft
Pick Team Player Pick Team Player
1 Hornets Anthony Davis 16 Rockets Tyler Zeller
2 Bobcats Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 17 Mavs Fab Melo
3 Wizards Brad Beal 18 TWolves Dion Waiters
4 Cavs Thomas Robinson 19 Magic Terrence Ross
5 Kings Jared Sullinger 20 Nuggets Royce White
6 Blazers Andre Drummond 21 Celtics Moe Harkless
7 Warriors Harrison Barnes 22 Celtics  
8 Raptors Damian Lillard 23 Hawks  
9 Pistons John Henson 24 Cavs  
10 Hornets Jeremy Lamb 25 Grizzlies  
11 Blazers Kendall Marshall 26 Pacers  
12 Bucks Meyers Leonard 27 Heat  
13 Suns Perry Jones III 28 Thunder  
14 Rockets Austin Rivers 29 Bulls  
15 Sixers Terrence Jones 30 Warriors