Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Celtics didn’t make any major trades on draft night despite a flood of rumors linking them to deals across the league. Nevertheless, fans shouldn’t let the lack of fireworks disappoint them. Though no blockbuster moves were made, fans should reserve their judgement until they evaluate the prospects the Celtics picked. There’s no sense in lamenting the players based on factors unrelated to their talents. There’s every chance Boston landed a player capable of immediately contributing to a championship run.
Regarded by most as the best shooter in the draft, Nesmith provides the Celtics with the exact type of player they needed. Boston has plenty of playmaking on their roster with Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. What the Celtics needed is a player who is content in a catch-and-shoot role. The Celtics haven’t had a bench player shoot over 40% from three since Kelly Olynyk during the 2015-16 season (minimum 40 3PA). The last time they had a SG or SF off the bench do that was Marcus Thornton in 2014-15.
Having just shot 52.2% from three last season, the second highest percentage of any player in SEC history (minimum 100 3PA), Nesmith is more than capable of thriving as a kick out option on the perimeter for the Celtics from day one. His ability to navigate off-ball screens is elite and no doubt a trait Brad Stevens will be eager to utilize. Nesmith appears more than happy to step into a bench role for Boston.
“I think I could step right in and make life easier for those guys,” Nesmith said when prompted about the possibility of joining the Celtics last week. “Kemba, Jayson, Jaylen, Marcus, et cetera, just giving those guys more space and more room to operate I think is going to really help elevate their game.”
Tyrese Haliburton would’ve been the best possible outcome, but Nesmith is a fantastic consolation prize.
Pritchard is a winner, which makes the pick very understandable from the Celtics perspective. He’s drawn comparisons to Fred VanVleet, and should have no trouble endearing himself to Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge. It was a bit of a reach for the Celtics, as Pritchard was projected as a second round prospect by every major outlet. One has to wonder if they could’ve dealt the 26th pick for more value and taken Pritchard at 30, but perhaps there was no deal to be made. He’ll have to compete with Carsen Edwards for minutes and the two should have quite the battle during training camp for one of the final spots in the rotation.
“I can really shoot it, dribble, pass,” Pritchard said after the draft, “But I think the biggest thing I bring to the Celtics is a competitive nature.”
This was the fear going into draft night for the Celtics. With teams knowing they didn’t want to use all of their picks, Danny Ainge lacked the leverage he needed in negotiations and it appears to have cost him some significant value. Boston was essentially backed into a corner, forcing Ainge to deal a first round pick for two future second round picks. It’s a far from ideal trade for the Celtics, and there’s really no silver lining. Chalk this one up as a loss.
A draft and stash was a likely scenario for the Celtics to target given their current roster outlook, and Madar is about as good as they could’ve done in the second round given those restrictions. Madar needs to improve his shooting, but is lauded for his competitive spirit and feistiness. A few more years overseas could turn Madar into a prospect worth a flier for the Celtics in the years to come.
Overall Grade: B–
Photo: (Julie Bennett – AP Photo)