The Boston Celtics opted to take Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard with the two first-round picks in which they kept. Bleacher Report is not a huge fan.
Heading into this year’s NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics were seen as one of the most buzzed-about franchises.
Being that it was the third time in five years, and the second-consecutive season in which they held the rights to 3 first-round draft picks, many expected that, due to their lack of success in keeping such capital in the past, Danny Ainge and co. would be heavily inclined to swap them out for either a higher spot on the board or an already established NBA talent.
Neither of the two wound up happening — though they did deal their 30th pick to Memphis — and, in turn, the team opted to take stud scoring wing Aaron Nesmith with their lone lottery pick and Oregon point guard Payton Pritchard at 26th overall, while going on to select Israeli point guard Yam Madar at 47th overall.
While many of the C’s faithful were pleased with the team’s choices on the night, as made evident by the team’s most voted on grade of “B” on the Houdini’s Twitter account, Bleacher Report came away from the night with their own grading scale, giving all 3 of their picks grades ranging from a C- to a C+.
Their grades and main reasonings for each of their pick read as follows:
No. 14 Pick: Aaron Nesmith
- Grade: C+
Some players can shoot. Nesmith is a professional shooter. He’s always ready and willing to fire, and before a foot injury knocked him out after just 14 games of the 2019-20 season, he was hitting an absurd 52.2 percent from range on 8.2 attempts per night.
The question is where he can make an impact beyond shooting. He can straight-line drive around aggressive closeouts and won’t get torched defensively, but Boston should depend on him for spacing and consider any other on-court contributions an added bonus.
The Celtics were top-heavy last season, and they looked gassed at times in the postseason. Nesmith will lengthen their rotation, though he may not carve out the biggest role without providing more than a perimeter stroke.
No. 26 Pick: Payton Pritchard
- Grade: C-
He’s a clever ball-handler who’s always looking to push the tempo. He can catch defenders sleeping with pull-up threes, and while he’s most effective as a scorer, he won’t dominate possessions and keeps his teammates involved.
He competes defensively, but he’s not the quickest side-to-side mover, which could leave him exploited in unfavorable matchups. Saying that, he seems destined to fill a reserve role, so he should be able to provide passable defense most nights.
Boston is in the championship chase, and targeting an NBA-ready talent makes sense. But was Pritchard the best instant-impact prospect left? That’s debatable with Desmond Bane, Robert Woodard II, Malachi Flynn and Cassius Winston still available.
No. 47 Pick: Yam Madar
- Grade: C
On offense, he’s constantly looking to attack off the dribble (in part because he can’t really shoot). On defense, he’s routinely beating his matchup to the spot and forcing redirections, ball-pickups or turnovers.
While neither a sniper nor an explosive athlete, he still offers several key ingredients of an instant-impact, high-energy reserve. Wasserman delivered the spot-on comparison of T.J. McConnell.
From the night, we at HH had many takeaways in reference to the Boston Celtics. Perhaps the biggest of them all: we still have no answer as to what they plan on doing about their lackadaisical center rotation.
While there is much to like about the talents in which Ainge managed to bring aboard, the question is, were they the right choices at the time in which they were drafted?
If B/R is concerned, they don’t necessarily believe this to be the case.