2022 NBA Draft: 3 realistic targets for the Boston Celtics with 53rd pick

Johnny Juzang is hopefully an option for the Boston Celtics with the No, 53 pick (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Johnny Juzang is hopefully an option for the Boston Celtics with the No, 53 pick (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Celtics are fresh off a disappointing finals loss and looking to rebound with a complete off-season. They now enter a time period that kicks into high gear with the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night. The C’s will hope to find a late-round hidden gem, as they own just one pick in this draft at 53rd overall.

I wish I could say there were many NBA notables found in precisely that slot. I would be lying, which is something I will not do in this article. Unless, guys like Kadeem Allen, Nando De Colo, or Charles Bassey ring a bell.

However, there were many gems found in the mid-to-late 50s range of the draft such as future Hall of Fame guard Manu Ginobili (57th pick), E’Twaun Moore (54th pick), who ended up being a high-quality role player, and Isaiah Thomas, who was the last pick in the draft. Thomas, of course, was the consensus best player for the Celtics for three seasons.

This will be the second time, GM Brad Stevens is in this position to make a draft pick for the franchise. Last year, he swung for the fences by taking a draft and stash option in Frenchman, Juhann Begarin, a risk that we still do not know the payoff to.

Fans should maintain level-headed expectations as it is incredibly rare to find immediate impact players at this late of a draft position.  They could even end up trading the pick for a future pick or cash.

For the sake of this piece, we will assume it will be kept and, if it is, we believe there are 3 prospects the Boston Celtics should strongly consider pursuing:

Boston Celtics draft target No. 1: Johnny Juzang, UCLA

Our first scenario sees the Boston Celtics draft a six-foot-six shooting guard out of UCLA, Johnny Juzang. The 21-year-old scoring guard is an absolute sniper from the 3-point line.

This Boston Celtics team likes to live or die by the 3-pointer a little too much sometimes, so it makes sense to add another weapon from long range to their arsenal. Juzang is not afraid of big-game situations and he showed up in two deep March Madness runs with the Bruins. The C’s could use a guy that could potentially develop into that tertiary scoring option that they failed to get with Kemba Walker from 2019-2021.

He may project as a bit of a project defensively, but at six-foot-six and 210 pounds, he has an NBA-ready body type and length to have the ability to guard effectively long-term. The defensive upside is there, this is not another undersized guard.

Beantown needs marksmen that can hit effectively off the catch, in the mid-range, and convert with high efficiency at the line. Juzang checks a whole line of boxes offensively and fits like a glove as a potential bench scorer. He is one of the more NBA-ready prospects as evidenced especially in his earth-shattering 2021 Final Four run with the UCLA Bruins, where he boasted a scoring average of 22.8 points per contest.

His one low point is despite the fact he has a formidable jumper and length, Juzang’s weak points are on the defensive side of the ball and at creating for others.

League comparisons of Luke Kennard and guys like Duncan Robinson are the likely ceiling projections.