Ok, so I’ve had several days to chew (stew?) over the NBA draft that occurred last Thursday. Well, not the draft as a whole. Just the Boston Celtics performance throughout it.
As usual, the delay in commenting is partly by design. Part laziness of course. Maybe part “life getting in the way” too. But definitely some by design. And that can be a good thing in cases such as this. Because Thursday night I was furious. And now? Not as much. Disappointed? Yup. But I’ve certainly cooled off quite a bit.
That’s because Kevin Durant is coming to Boston!! Haha…no, I still believe that has zero chance of happening. It’s great that they are one of the 6 teams that will get a meeting with him. But maybe that’s only because Ainge has been trying to schmooze KD’s Mom for quite some time and Kevin is just doing a solid for Danny…or something like that. But in any event, it’s hard to believe he would come to the Celtics over the other teams, specifically the teams from the West. Still feel like he isn’t leaving Oklahoma City. We’ll find out soon enough, but I digress…
To recap briefly, with their 8 picks, the C’s took 6 bodies and traded 2 of the picks for a protected (1-14) 2019 first round pick or a protected (1-14) 2020 first round pick or a 2022 second round pick from the Los Angeles Clippers. 2022 is a long ways away, but it looks like it may be the 2nd rounder. Whatever. More on that later.
Most of the locals thought the Celts would trade their first pick at #3 overall. After all, it was supposed to be a 2-person draft in Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. After that, maybe from 3-8 you could get some pretty good talent still, but no one had a consensus of which order they would go in and what each of those players’ upsides may be. Lots of question marks. Many also thought a trade was a given because of all the rumors swirling around and the long-standing promise by C’s management of “fireworks” and all that nonsense.
Of course, if you have the #3 pick in what is considered a “2-person draft”, well, that can impact the value of that pick…thank you, Captain Obvious. But I think the fans were buoyed by the fact that rumors were rampant. Not that one is supposed to believe any and all rumors out there on the mill. But where there is smoke there is fire. If you hear enough rumors, maybe one will come true. And I think most of us were hanging our hats on that.
The one that got a lot of us, maybe most of us, including definitely myself, were the rumors with Philly. The Sixers have plenty of big men and were set to take Simmons. The C’s have plenty of guards. The Sixers lacked guards. The C’s lack big men. It looked like a perfect match.
As the week went on, as a C’s fan, you hoped they could pry Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel for the #3 pick alone. You thought the Sixers would want more. As draft time moved closer, you heard that Danny wanted one of those two for the pick, but he also wanted Philly to sweeten the pot. Then after the draft you heard Philly offered Noel, picks #24 & #26 and Robert Covington for the #3 pick alone. But Ainge wanted next year’s Philly first round protected Los Angeles Lakers’ pick and Noel for the #3. Blah, blah, blah…and nothing happened.
I don’t blame Philly for balking on next years’ pick. But I wonder why Danny didn’t take Noel, Covington and the picks? The picks were low, I get it…but there’s your 2 foreign guys you actually took this year, if you wish. Noel should be an upgrade down low and Covington is useful. Seems like it may be fair enough…from my observation anyway. But maybe Noel is overrated…according to people more connected to the league than I am…and therefore likely more knowledgeable as well.
Was Ainge thinking he could’ve done better with that pick? I don’t know. Apparently, the Chicago Bulls were asking for all 3 first rounders, next year’s Brooklyn pick (likely a good one also), Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley all for Jimmy Butler. Yikes! Glad they didn’t do that one. I’m pretty sure anyway. You would also have to think there was some team out there that liked one of the players from 3-8 and they may have been trying to make a last-minute push to land at #3. Sure, no one was going to ridiculously overpay to move to #3. But you have to believe there were more offers out there. And Danny obviously stood pat.
In any event, the Celtics took Jaylen Brown at #3. Underwhelming, to say the least. When it became apparent that they were keeping him, that’s when I was pretty aggravated. Angry, actually. Celtics fans were clearly feeling the same, judging by the negative response…everywhere…and by the booing of co-owner Wyc Grousbeck at the Celtics draft party when he announced the pick. Ouch.
Brown may be a helluva player. And a model citizen to boot. But he’s 19 years old. Unproven. Among other things. The reports on him are that he COULD develop into a stud…but right now he can’t shoot. Ummmm…WHAT?! The C’s need big men and shooters. Brown is neither. If you can’t shoot at 19, presumably after hoisting up thousands and thousands of shots as practice throughout all your youth, can you really learn to shoot as you get older? And he is the crown jewel of their draft. Yuck…I think…
Then the 2 foreign dudes, at #16, Geurschon Yabusele (who?) and Ante Zizic at #23. A lot of “experts” actually had Zizic in that very spot, so maybe he is ok, but no one has ever heard of Yabusele I don’t think. Not that high in the draft anyway. If they both stay overseas, how does that help the team next year?
I normally don’t care about 2nd rounders, but #31 and #35 are kind of high. Great players like Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan have fallen to this area in the past. So the trade irked me that night as well. I have no idea if Deyonta Davis can play even a lick. But seeing that he was a lottery consideration at one point, and a big guy the C’s need, when he went at #31, it got me a little riled up. Rade Zagoric at #35? No clue. But there could’ve been another flyer taken on someone with potential there, even if it wasn’t Zagoric specifically.
Then you could have given away the later 3 picks if you wished. Though some thought the C’s did well to get Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil with 2 of them.
So to make a short story long, the masses, myself included, were hoping to land an established star for the pick, obviously with the Celtics adding other assets to get that star. And instead, all we got was a 19-year-old kid, 2 foreign guys that may stay overseas and maybe a 2022 draft pick. Oh, and some probable roster filler.
No wonder we were all sour, when you put it that way.
BUT, I have kind of changed my tune on it…at least a little. Why? Well, allow me to explain!
In the next post…