Last night, the Boston Celtics selected two players in the draft. They originally selected Providence shooting guard MarShon Brooks at pick No. 25. Many people were excited to hear that he was the pick, but he was quickly flipped to the New Jersey Nets for the No. 27 pick and a second round selection in 2014. The 27th pick ended up being JaJuan Johnson out of Purdue University.
Johnson is a 6’10″ power forward and categorized by many draft experts as a “stretch four”. Offensively, he is in the mold of a Kevin Garnett, but a very lite version. He can step out and knock down the mid range jumper and is not afraid to put his back to the basket and make a quick move. His athleticism will be welcomed on offense as I’m sure some Celtic fans have already envisioned him on the receiving end of a Rajon Rondo alley-oop.
Defensively, he is a long, rangy player and can be a shot blocker at the next level. He averaged 2.3 blocks per game as a senior and won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. In fact, he was only the third player in the history of the conference to win the conference Player of the Year as well as Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
A huge deficiency for the Celtics last season was rebounding. JaJuan Johnson is a good, not great, rebounder and relied a little too much on his athleticism in college to be effective on the glass. In the NBA, he’s going to need to be better at getting position and putting his body into opponents to keep them from getting the rebound.
Speaking of his body, he’s got a slender build, much like Kevin Garnett. He needs to put on some serious muscle if he is to be a very good defender in the post as a power forward. Hopefully with some work from the coaching staff he can bulk up.
In the waning moments of Thursday night, the Celtics were back on the clock at No. 55. With some very good college players still available, Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge decided to go with yet another Purdue Boilermaker. E’Twaun Moore, a 6’4″ guard, has some good length that allows him to be a pest on defense. He’s got good range on his jumper and could definitely carve out some minutes in the rotation behind Ray Allen. Having finished his senior season, he is a much more polished product than Avery Bradley and should leap him on the depth chart almost immediately as the backup shooting guard. This will put pressure on Bradley to work on both his point guard skills as well as his jump shot.
Were these two players who I would have selected last night? Honestly, I would have stuck with MarShon Brooks or selected Jeremy Tyler, but I don’t get paid to make these selections. After sleeping on it for a night, I woke up and was very pleased with the selections of JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore. For one, they are both seniors and are ready to step in and contribute right away. Neither of them are “home run picks”, but if the Big Four is still in tact, they don’t need to be. I also love that they were teammates in college, making their transition to the NBA a little easier on each other.
While at Purdue, they set the record for most wins in a career with 107. Winning is always a good thing, especially at major level college basketball. Knowing that these two were a huge reason why they won all of those games should be encouraging to the fans. This is Boston, where we only respect winners.
What do players need in order for Doc Rivers to put them in the game? The answers: defense, intelligence and hustle. The great thing is that both of these kids possess all three of those. Look for both Johnson and Moore to not only make the roster, but push for 8-10 minutes per game next season.
Follow me on Twitter to keep up with my opinions and feelings on everything Celtics. Also, keep tabs on the newest Celtics, JaJuan Johnson (@BoilerBaller25) and E’Twaun Moore (@33ETwaun) to get a feel for their personality and the ups and downs of their rookie seasons.