Among the players available when the Boston Celtics picked at #21/#22 in the first round were a great shooter in 2 guard John Jenkins, an hyperathletic 6'6" point guard Tony Wroten Jr., an offensively talented quick big man in Arnett Moultrie, a mobile and athletic big in Perry Jones III, a 6'10" small (!) forward in Quincy Miller, a very athletic small forward in Quincy Acy, and a sharp and hard working seven-footer in Festus Ezeli. The Celts brain trust read the press clippings of Ohio State's ground-based big man Jared Sullinger and selected "the guy with the bad back at #21. Then at #22 They selected one of the more puzzling and enigmatic bigs in Syracuse seven-footer Fab Melo. Sigh.
I was listening to Celtics draft coverage on their home cable sports network, Comcast SportsNet, and none of the individuals providing commentary liked the idea of selecting Sullinger when first queried. As the night wore on and Sullinger dropped in the draft, some changed their tune. I didn't. He was a very good college player precisely because his size and strength overwhelmed most opponents. That doesn't happen in the NBA. I hope he proves me wrong, gets up and down the court quickly enough to run with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, is able to post up down low in the pros like he did in college, and is able to play at least a little above the rim. But I would rather have seen the team add athletic bodies rather than just a big one.
Melo is another story. The kid has potential, but came into his freshman season at Syracuse woefully unprepared and inadequately able to push himself. To his credit he improved dramatically between year one and year two in his fitness, ability to run, and understanding of the game. Unfortunately that simply moved him from Complete Bust to Serviceable Big Man on a team that played zone and had so many wing scorers that the middle was vacant for him. He had academic issues, along with some others - ahem - and it's doubtful that a few million dollars in his bank account will improve his motivation and character. I hope he proves me wrong, too. He has bigger upside than Sullinger, but is also a riskier pick because you don't know where his head is.
In the second round you simply hope you strike gold, and the Celtics may have. Kris Joseph is a talented small forward, though his shooting is erratic, and his handle could use some work. Both are things he can improve, and it won't hurt him a bit to understudy Paul Pierce.
I think I might have preferred Moultrie and Perry if you wanted two bigs with those two picks. I didn't think, from my reading, that either of those would be still on the board at that point. Neither of the first round picks makes the C's more athletic, and quickness in the NBA is a lethal weapon. While I hope I'm wrong, I have the sinking feeling that with these two picks the Celtics have rolled the dice, and may have crapped out.
One aside/possible ray of sunshine: I notice that West Virginia forward Kevin Jones went undrafted. If I were Danny Ainge I'd be bringing him in for a free-agent tryout ASAP!
7/1/12 0800: Bummer. Kevin Jones signed by Cleveland. The Celtics better hope that they can sign both Jeff Green and Brandon Bass now. Scott Machado, perhaps, as a Rondo understudy? On the other hand, the Celts may be fine if last years second rounder, E'twaun Moore, can step up his game. He's a good shooter, and just needs to get a bit more creative with the ball.