If this year’s NBA Draft class were a movie, it would be Gigli.
Actually, that might be unfair to Gigli. At least the movie had a few stars, even if they didn’t perform as such. This year’s NBA Draft might not have any stars. Sure, Kyrie Irving shows abnormal polish for a 19-year old and Derrick Williams burst onto the college scene with a fantastic sophomore year. But there’s no Kevin Durant or Lebron James in this class, nobody who has superstar written in bold letters across his forehead. Sadly for the Celtics, the later parts of the draft don’t seem very promising either.
Already a talent-bare year, the Draft’s depth has been hurt even further by the uncertain Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players like Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones and Terrence Jones, all probable lottery picks, dropped out of the draft to remain in college. What’s left is a draft class one NBA scout simply called “abysmal.”
The Celtics, who have the 25th and 55th picks, will need to decide whether to use their own picks, move up in the draft, or move out of the draft altogether. Danny Ainge says he will consider all possibilities.
“There’s a chance we could move up. We have to see how it unfolds,” he told the Boston Herald. “We’ll definitely explore the possibilities. We have two (first-round) picks next year, so we have something to use if we wanted to move up in this year’s draft. But we could also explore moving out.”
Boston could have a deficiency in the middle next year (Nenad Krstic and Glen Davis are free agents, and Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal might retire), so adding size would be preferable. But big men picked later in the draft tend not to pan out; if there’s a seven-footer with skill, he’s almost always a lottery pick. Some big-bodied lottery picks aren’t even skilled. Just ask Rafael Araujo or Hasheem Thabeet.
“Everyone can always use bigs,” Ainge said. “And that’s where mistakes get made, because you’re drafting more for size than what the player can actually do.”
As Jeff Clark pointed out, I guess that’s why Ainge selected J.R. Giddens instead of DeAndre Jordan (doh).
Ainge said he isn’t worried about the draft’s talent level, describing the “expanding middle class” that might benefit a team like the Celtics picking in the late first round.
“It’s a draft that’s similar to recent drafts, and things seem to be moving in this direction. There’s a lot of decent players,” he explained. “There will be good players, but no transcendent players — no LeBron (James), Dwight Howard or Derrick Rose.”
You can call it an expanding middle class if you want, or you can call a spade a spade: this NBA Draft class could very well prove to be the league’s worst in a long time. In a telling statement, Ainge said Avery Bradley would have gone top five in this draft. Considering the extent Bradley’s struggles this past season, that says a lot about this year’s crop.
The Giddens pick notwithstanding, Ainge has been known to pull rabbits—or, rather, productive NBA players—out of his magic hat on draft day. If the Celtics are to improve their roster through such a weak draft, he’ll have to do just that.