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NBA Mock Draft 2016: Chad Ford, Kevin Pelton debate Jamal Murray for Celtics

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Will the Celtics draft Jamal Murray, or might they trade the pick for someone like Nerlens Noel or DeMarcus Cousins?

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Disclaimer: As a Kentucky Wildcats fan, I really want to see Jamal Murray go high in this year's NBA draft.

As a Boston Celtics fan, I badly want Murray at No. 3. I truly believe he's the third-best prospect in this draft and has as high of a ceiling as either Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons.

So you can imagine that when it comes to Murray vs just about any prospect likely to be on the board at No. 3 when the Celtics are picking, there's not much debate in my mind as to who should go there.

But that feeling is not mutual among the real NBA draft experts, such as ESPN's Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton. They did a debate on who the Celtics should take at No. 3 and if it should be Murray, or someone like Providence point guard Kris Dunn, Croatian forward Dragan Bender or Washington forward Marquese Chriss.

They went really in-depth with it and even talked about several trade scenarios in which Boston trades the pick for an NBA star, such as Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins or 76ers big man Nerlens Noel.

I don't think a deal with Philadelphia for Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel is the answer. Kevin Love will be 28 years old before next season, so that's not the right answer, in my view (assuming he's even available).

DeMarcus Cousins is an intriguing option, although the Sacramento Kings haven't been willing to move him yet and don't appear to want more picks in place of established players.

As much as I'd love to see Nerlens or Boogie in Celtics green, I'd rather keep the pick and take Murray. That's how high I am on his NBA future, and he'd be a great fit for a Celtics team in need of more scoring (finished 24 in field-goal percentage last season) and three-point shooting (finished 28th in three-point percentage last season).

Ford thinks the Celtics are leaning towards either Dunn or Murray, but thinks Bender should be the pick.

Murray's ability to play both backcourt positions is a bonus. And his terrific shooting, which seems to be the Celtics' priority, would be a major plus. Although Murray is young, I see him as an immediate-impact player, too.

I think the Celtics are leaning toward Dunn or Murray. But if it were me? I'd swing for the fences and grab Bender.

Pelton echoed those sentiments.

The Celtics need players who move the needle, and barring a surprising trade package, Bender is their best chance of getting that kind of player with this year's No. 3 pick.

At this point, it's clear Murray is firmly in the running for the No. 3 pick, but it's also far too murky at this point to say he's the favorite for that spot. I'd say if he doesn't go there, No. 5 to the Timberwolves should be the latest he goes. Seeing Murray team up with Karl-Anthony Towns would be fun to watch.

But as a Celtics fan, it's going to sting if Murray ends up not being the pick at No. 3.