2011 NBA Draft Recap: Boston Celtics
Prediction Alert: The Boston Celtics have traded Ray Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers for rights to the #1 overall pick, the entire Gilbert family, and rights to blast “Rolling In The Deep” during every game and practice. Just kidding. But for those of us who weren’t totally captivated by ESPN’s questionable decision to choose Adele’s new pop song as the theme of the draft, they have undoubtedly realized that The Boston Celtics 2011 NBA Draft was quite impressive.
With picks coming at the 25th and 55th spots, both Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge were modest in their expectations for the Draft. Making matters worse was the glaring hole permeating the Celtics front line. With Shaquille O’Neal retiring, Glen Davis set to be a free agent, and Nenad Krstic signing with a team in Russia, the Celts were left with only two big men under contract: Kevin Garnett and Jermaine “balky knees” O’Neal. There is no question that this lack of size, up front was a main concern heading into the draft (if you recall last season, injuries led to limited big men and eventually left the Celtics with no choice but to start Semith Erden for seven games before the trade deadline). The need to have a big man available to eat minutes is a huge dilemma and certainly was a primary concern as the Celtics chase Banner 18.
With the 25th pick, the Celtics selected Marshon Brooks out of Providence College. They then quickly dealt the pick to the New Jersey Nets for a 2014 second round pick, and the 27th pick in the draft. This pick was used to select Purdue Forward JaJuan Johnson. With Johnson, the Celtics not only get the Big Ten Player of the year, but also the Big Ten Defensive player of the year, and a First Team All-American. This move wasn’t done out of skill set or scoring ability, which Brooks would have brought to the table, but more out of necessity. Outside of the 6’ 10’’ Johnson, the Celtics wouldn’t have had a big man under the age of 32. However vital the move, Celtics fans shouldn’t be too dismayed with the pick. Johnson averaged 20.5 PPG, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, last season for Purdue when their best player went down with an ACL injury. Aside from given size, Johnson comes equipped with athleticism to consistently run the floor, and the ability to stretch the defense with a solid mid-range jumper. Additionally, Johnson is a gifted leaper. Celtics fans may get to enjoy a fast break, or two, with guard Rajon Rondo tossing ally-oops to Johnson. Perhaps it’s something to potentially start salivating over?
Here is more information on the Celtics first-round selection:
Celtics have been accustomed to winning games over the past four seasons, leading Danny Ainge to frequently pick late in drafts. With that said, The Celtics used the 55th pick in the draft to complete a clean sweep for Purdue by selecting
E’Twaun Moore, a 6’4 Guard for the Boilermakers. With a solid 18 PPG average as a senior, while being described as a combo guard who can shoot the rock (44.7%, 40% from 3), Moore figures to have some solid NBA-ready intangibles and could potentially provide ball-handling skills at the backup guard position. With the guard position being so crucial in the NBA, the uncertain return of Delonte West and Avery Bradley’s on-going maturation process, the Celtics could really use as much help as they can get at this spot. Another statistic worth noting is that the Celtics currently only have six players signed. Jeff Green, a restricted free agent, would count as 7th player under contract. The current lack of bodies will definitely give Moore the opportunity to compete in camp and challenge Bradley for a roster spot in the upcoming season.
Below is more information on the Celtics second-round choice:
Weight: 192 lbs
Since the 2011 NBA Draft was being labeled as weak, there was definitely little expectation for the Celtics; however, there is no question that they have found ways to upgrade their roster with the order of the picks they were given. They have answered a potential need in size, in Johnson, while also obtaining Moore to help backup wing players in Rondo, Ray Allen, and potentially Jeff Green. It will be interesting to see how these new players mesh with their veteran mentors in the Core four of: Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rondo, and Allen.
With past late selections such as: Rondo at #21 in 2006, Kendrick Perkins at #29 in 2003 and Glen Davis at #35 in 2007, there is reason for optimism with the back-end picks the Celtics were left with in 2011. Doc Rivers did a nice job of summing it up, “If size is available at the 25th pick, I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign,” Rivers said. “But sometimes you can get lucky. Danny, I’ve said it for years, if there’s a guy there at that spot that can play, he’ll find him.” Let’s all hope that Doc is right and Danny has found another two guys that fit with this team for years to come.