I will be going through all 30 teams, grading their drafts & giving my thoughts on what should happen for that team going forward.
The Boston Celtics
Rd 1. Pick #3: Jaylen Brown, F, Cal
Brown has the best combination of size, strength and athleticism in the class. He also had a very solid freshman season at Cal, leading them into the NCAA tournament. However, his basketball IQ and shot selection are pretty poor, and he’s a poor outside shooter as of now. His stock was thought to be top-10, but seeing him as the third pick seems like a reach, even in this draft class. The Cs weren’t wowed by any offers for their pick, so they smartly kept it and are taking the methodical route towards being a serious contender. They should be able to swing a trade for a star at some point, but this pick wasn’t so bad, as Brown has a lot of potential. I thought they’d be better off taking Kris Dunn or taking a chance on Bender.
Rd 1. Pick #16: Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France
With all the picks the Celtics have, it made sense for them to go the foreign route. Yabusele has been compared by some to Draymond Green, which would be a heck of a get in the mid-first round. He’s got great size and strength with solid quickness and mobility. He’s also got stretch-4 potential. I do think that he was a slight reach here, though.
Rd 1. Pick #23: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
I’ve got to pat myself on the back for getting a pick right this far into this unpredictable draft. Zizic has size and works hard, so he should be able to contribute and he fills a position of need, but I don’t see him being anything special.
Rd 2. Pick #45: Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Jackson, although small, has excellent athleticism and is great value here. He’s very good at scoring, especially in the painted area, and can be a great defender when he sets his mind to it – watch his game tape guarding Bronson Koening in the tournament. He has starting potential down the line. However, he’s not a natural distributer and isn’t a great shooter. His fit with the Celtics with all those guards is also questionable. I think the Cs would’ve been better off trading this pick or investing in a draft-and-stash option.
Rd 2. Pick #51: Ben Bentil, PF, Providence
Much of what I wrote about Jackson applies here – he’s great value at this point, but he joins a crowded 4-spot for the Cs. He looks like a nice stretch 4 with scoring ability, but his lack of height and athleticism projects him as both a below-average rebounder a below-average defender in the league.
Rd 2. Pick #58: Abdel Nader, PF, Iowa State
I’ll give it a 1% chance Nader ever makes the official roster for the Celtics. He can stretch the defense, but has no other NBA-level skill. I don’t think he’d be drafted if there were two more rounds.
The Celtics may have reached for Jaylen Brown, but he may have the highest potential of anyone not named Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. Yabusele is a nice draft-and-stash option that has gotten some rave reviews. Zizic looks like an energy role-player, and both Jackson and Bentil were great value picks in the second round (although their fits are questionable). Overall, it wasn’t a great draft for the Celtics, but they didn’t panic and trade an asset for a return they didn’t love, which is a win for Celtics fans.
Where the Celtics go from here:
Remember to Sell High: The Celtics should continue to remain conservative in the trade market. They have so many assets – in the form of both picks and young players – but there are only so many minutes to be shared on the hardwood. This doesn’t mean that the Cs should jump on the first trade offer that comes their way, however. Danny Ainge should continue to do what he’s doing – draft for talent, and test the trade waters, and make a trade when it’s right.
Let Sullinger and Turner walk: With the plethora of young talent that Boston has, they certainly cannot keep everybody. Sully is a stretch big who can rebound, but his conditioning is still poor and he’s not a very good defender. The Cs would be better off letting him walk, as he’s likely to receive a lucrative contract offer, and look at replacing him with a better version – maybe Al Horford. Turner will also command a nice contract in the free agent market, as he’s still relatively young, and is a very good distributer and solid defender at the wing spot. But, at this point, he would just take minutes from the young guns in Boston – Jaylen Brown, RJ Hunter, James Young.
Shooting: The Celtics’ Achilles’ heel offensively was their inconsistencies from behind the three point line. They should look at some free agent shooting options – such as Jarryd Bayless, Tyler Johnson, Courtney Lee, Marvin Williams, etc.
Continue to build for talent, not for need: The Celtics have done a great job at accumulating talent and assets, and they should continue doing so.