Well, that was fast. Clearly, once Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics said farewell to Nathan Knight, they had a player in mind. That individual was the ex-USC and Rice forward Drew Peterson. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the 6-foot-9 Illinois native will join J.D. Davison and Neemias Queta as the organization's third two-way player. Compared to Knight, a guy who has been around the bend a few times in the league, this rookie has loads more upside. The 24-year-old went undrafted but was snatched up by the king of identifying sleepers, the Miami Heat.
Peterson suited up for one of Boston's Eastern Conference foes in the Summer League, competing in the fifth most minutes on the team while averaging 10 points per game on over 46 percent shooting from the floor. He was cut following training camp and later designated as an affiliate player for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League ball club.
Since joining the Skyforce, the former No. 13 for USC lit it on fire. In a recent contest against the Motor City Cruise, Peterson piled up 25 points on 11-16 shooting. Wait, that's not all. He finished with a team-high nine assists and two steals. During his short 13 game stint in Sioux Falls, the 2023 All-Pac 12 selection competed alongside former Celtic Justin Champagnie.
There is a lot to be excited about when it comes to this guy. Sure, he went undrafted, but there is a lot of room for growth. Before you tune into the next Maine Celts contest, here's what you need to know about the newest addition to Boston's developmental system.
3 things to know about the newest two-way addition of the Boston Celtics
1. Has shown an ability to take steps forward in his game throughout his college career
Throughout his extensive collegiate career, Peterson found ways to continuously make strides. Even though some of his production dipped a little bit during his first campaign in southern California, the 6-foot-9 stretch forward made adjustments. His three-point shot jumped from 31% at Rice to over 38% during his time on the West Coast according to CBB reference. In short, the ex-Miami Summer Leaguer is not afraid to let it fly. Whether that be off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations.
Most notably, the ex-Libertyville High School star boosted his assist total from freshman year to his final college season by 94 assists. To some, including Joe Mazzulla assists is the most misleading stat. While that may be true, a substantial leap by nearly 100 shows how he was able to put his teammates in better positions as time went on.
In each of his last three seasons in college, Peterson experienced an increase in his points, rebounds, assists, and stocks per game. That's credit to his work ethic in the offseason. It is going to take that type of dedication to make it in this league, especially as someone who went undrafted.
2. His skillset doesn't cement him to just one position
In today's NBA, these are the guys you want to invest your time in. Poisitionless basketball. Gone are the days when we were locking one player into that point guard position. At minimum, four players on the floor have to be comfortable shooting the basketball from deep in addition to have a tight handle. You can trust this undrafted rookie in both areas.
Almost everywhere, Peterson is listed as a forward. That word, "forward" by no means defines who he is as a player. His length, almost like Jayson Tatum allows him to get off shots over the outstretched arms of opposing players. Peterson is extremely creative in the post, showing off the numerous ways he can finish around the rim for the Trojans. He owns that up and under. Don't forget about that fadeaway. He possesses that too.
We could see him compete at the three in Maine or even the four or five if the Celts of the North want to go small at times. The fact makes him such an enticing project. You can see why Stevens was willing to give up one of his three two-way spots for a 24-year-old rookie.
3. Wasn't a sought after recruit, most of his offers came from the Ivy League
Being that player few were scrambling to sign was something Peterson experienced long before the NBA draft. His phone wasn't blowing up with top-level ACC schools calling his name. Prior to committing to Rice, it is reported that he had around 13 college offers, most of them being from schools in the Ivy League. In an interview with Draft Digest, he spoke about how that was a blessing in disguise.
"I think everything happens for a reason in where you go and your journey there. I’m thankful for every step and the character it’s built.”
It's not where you start. It's where you finish. Peterson ended up at one of the most elite basketball schools on the West Coast. Not getting an offer like that right out of high school is not the be-all end-all. Similarly to the NBA Draft, nobody gave him a shot right away. Once one did, he executed, later attracting the attention of one of the winningest franchises in the history of the league.