In tonight’s draft, the Boston Celtics hold the rights to three selections — 14, 20 & 22. With one of them, they should look into picking EuroLeague star big man, Goga Bitadze.
When a team selects later on in the draft, expectations are relatively tempered for the player they end up nabbing. Unlike talents chosen in the top-ten, lower selections are not generally seen as players projected to contribute right away for their new teams.
Often, they are seen as developmental players who find themselves collecting minutes in the G-League to better mold their skills for the NBA. Because of this, taking risks at this point in a draft is far more acceptable and, frankly, more expected than with earlier selections. With this truth in mind, if the Boston Celtics are willing to take a chance on one of their three draft picks, Georgia born center, Goga Bitadze may be exactly the type of “risk / reward” talent the franchise needs.
Bitadze (19) spent the 2018-19 basketball season overseas, where his level of play won him multiple MVP awards along with the EuroLeague Rising Star award. In 24.2 minutes-per-game the 6-11 center put up impressive averages of 12.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 2.3 BPG while shooting 55% from the field and 31% from deep. With stellar footwork, an improving long-range game and a knack for swatting shots, Bitadze would be a welcomed presence for a Boston squad who looks to be in the market for a replacement at the center position.
When dealing with players from overseas, history suggests teams should tread lightly, as a number of EuroLeague stars have been selected high in NBA drafts, and have sunken ever so low during their short stints in the league — Darko Miličić, Andrea Bargnani, Jan Vesely, etc. However, due to the recent success stories of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porziņģis and Luka Dončić, GM’s may be a bit more inclined to take a chance on overseas players.
Though the center is by no means a finished product, as he’s not much of a perimeter defender nor does he have a consistent three-point shot, he is young enough where he can easily improve in both areas as his career progresses. Already possessing a phenomenal post and mid-range game, adding a more consistent deep ball would make Bitadze the perfect modern day big.
With player comparisons ranging from Jusuf Nurkić to Nikola Vucevic, the EuroLeague star has the potential to be quite a contributor in the NBA. Whether it be their 14th, 20th or 22nd pick in tonight’s draft, if he’s available, the Boston Celtics should strongly consider selecting Goga Bitadze.