Jordan Mickey may never get the chance to prove his worth to the Celtics
It’s hard to argue that a second round pick should have seen more playing time during his rookie season. Especially when considering the depth that the Boston Celtics had in their front court, however, Jordan Mickey should have seen more minutes.
He only played in 57 total minutes as a rookie, mostly in garbage time, but dominated the D-League. Mickey led the D-League with 4.4 blocks per game and added 17.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game on 53.1 percent shooting. No matter what level a player is at, averaging 4.4 blocks per contest is impressive and should have warranted him a look at the NBA-level when Boston was in need of a rim protector.
Jordan Mickey isn’t close to seven-feet but he’s one of the most athletic big men in the league and is aggressive on defense. It leads to him being a very good defender, rebounder and someone who does the dirty work on offense.
After the season he put together in the D-League last season, and since Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson are most likely not going to be on the roster next season, Mickey should have a role on the Celtics next season. Although, that could easily change in the blink of an eye for the LSU product if the Celtics put all their focus on their front court this off-season.
There’s no doubt that the Celtics need help in the front court after they compiled a team with four mediocre players down low last season. They also need a rim protector and, despite Mickey possibly being that player, they’d rather have an established veteran step in and assume that role.
Signing a top-tier free agent like Hassan Whiteside or Al Horford would be huge for Boston. It would add another star next to Isaiah Thomas and instantly bolster their weak front court. Although, it once again pushes Mickey farther down the depth chart.
The same goes if Boston drafts Dragan Bender with the third pick and also pick up Jonas Jerebko‘s option. Jerebko would likely resume his role of playing 15 minutes per game and spreading the floor as he gives the Celtics a three-point threat.
Bender will see playing time as a rookie as well. The Celtics aren’t going to draft him third overall and have him sit on the bench for the entire season. Bender would likely take Mickey’s expected role and play between 8-to-12 minutes per game at the beginning of the season, or he could step in and have a major role right away if his game is developed enough.
It’s not to say that Jordan Mickey is the next Celtics’ star or that he’s ever going to develop into a starter for Boston, however, he’s bursting with potential right now and the Celtics haven’t tried to tap into it. He doesn’t need a huge role but putting him in as a rim protector would help his development a lot. It would give him a chance to get used to the NBA speed and develop by getting playing time other than in blowouts.
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Also, Mickey fits really well into Boston’s system. Mickey runs the floor extremely well and can finish alley-oops on fast breaks and does a lot of the dirty work down low. He’s not someone who will score a lot on offense but his offensive rebounding ability will allow him to be more of factor than just on defense.
Jonas Jerebko’s $5 million option is extremely cheap with the salary cap increase and Dragan Bender might be the third best prospect in the draft this year, but Boston can’t forget about their second round pick from last year who’s coming off a very impressive D-League season. The Celtics are also going to go hard after a max-level big man in free agency and if they sign one then Mickey will be up-and-down from the D-League to the NBA all season again.
He’s a second round pick that has a chance to turn out into a good NBA player so he could end up being a piece to a bigger deal. A lot of teams around the NBA are intrigued by Mickey’s game and athleticism and have already inquired about him. If Boston brings back Jerebko, signs a top-tier free agent and drafts Bender then it’s time to move on from Mickey since the only playing time he’ll see will be in blowouts again.