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Celtics Check-In: 2019 Draft edition

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Anyone who’s paying attention knows that the Boston Celtics are going through some things right now. Mercurial star point guard Kyrie Irving had one foot out the door for most of the season – he won’t be returning to the C’s. And it’s starting to look like Al Horford will join him; the do-everything big man declined his player option and seems inclined to head elsewhere in free agency.

In the midst of all that uncertainty, general manager Danny Ainge and the rest of the Boston front office had to deal with the draft. Despite the multitude of accumulated assets, the Celtics were unable to make the big splash for which many had hoped; it remains to be seen how well the players selected will perform in the Kelly green.

There were a lot of deals, with picks and players moving hither and yon. In the end, these are the players who were added to the Boston roster.

(Obligatory caveat: We here at The Maine Edge believe that draft grades are utter nonsense. Attempting to establish the specific success and/or failure of a draft – in any sport – before those players ever see the court/field is a fool’s errand. This is one man’s look at and thoughts on a team’s selections, nothing more.)

Romeo Langford, guard, Indiana (Round 1, Pick 14)

Picking in the middle of the first round wasn’t the ideal position in this year’s draft, but the Celtics seemingly were able to address a need with the selection of Langford. He’s tall for a guard – standing 6-foot-6 – and showed a solid scoring touch in his one year with the Hoosiers. His usual M.O. is to attack the basket, something he did to the tune of 16.5 points per game. He gets to the foul line regularly, averaging over six trips per game. All this while battling a hand injury all season, by the way.

There are some gaps in his game, however. That scoring punch is lacking in range – Langford’s shooting percentage from three was well under 30%; in today’s NBA, that isn’t likely to get it done. His assist numbers aren’t great, and Boston needs to hope that he continues to develop as a rebounder.

On initial review, Langford looks like a solid pick as far as mid-first-rounders go. If his scoring instincts translate to the next level and he can improve his three-point shooting, and if he can become a versatile defender – he could potentially guard multiple positions – then he could turn into a valuable wing player for Brad Stevens and company.

Grant Williams, forward, Tennessee (Round 1, Pick 22)

The odds of getting a future star this low in the first round aren’t great, but just because a guy might not be an All-Star doesn’t mean he’ll lack value. Williams had a great year for the Volunteers – he scored 18.8 a game with 7.5 rebounds; he even dished out 3.2 assists. All that plus some tenacious defense led to Williams being named the SEC Player of the Year.

The biggest knock on Williams is his size; he’s just 6-foot-7 – undersized for the frontcourt. That lack of height might mean that his game may not translate from college to the pros.

However, he has a reputation as being both strong around the rim and a diligent worker. He’s also notable as far as his basketball IQ – and dudes like that tend to thrive around Stevens.

Carsen Edwards, guard, Purdue (Round 2, Pick 33)

When guys fall into the second round, they’re often talented players with specific flaws in their game. That’s the case with Edwards, who was an undeniable scoring force for the Boilermakers last year – he put up over 24.3 points per game – but did so largely through sheer volume. And scoring is what he brings to the table – his rebounding and assist numbers are ho-hum.

Edwards is reasonably accurate shooting the ball and is an unabashed gunner – he put up more than 10 threes per game, making just shy of 36% of them. But at just 6-foot-1, it remains to be seen if he’ll have the physical presence to create his own shot. If not, he’ll have to up his accuracy even more to score consistently for the Celtics.

Tremont Waters, guard, LSU (Round 2, Pick 55)

Here’s the thing about Tremont Waters – if he was a few inches taller, he probably would have been a lottery pick. Instead, the 5-foot-11 guard is more of a lottery ticket, a gamble by the Celtics. As far as gambles go, you could do worse – Waters scored over 15 a game for the Tigers and dished out six assists.

But it’s on the defensive side that the diminutive Waters shines brightest. He was an SEC All-Defensive pick; he averaged nearly three steals a game and set the school’s single-season record. Guys his size don’t have great track records moving to the NBA, but Waters has the skill set to potentially be the exception.

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 June 2019 09:15

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