Danny on JaJuan: “I think he can contribute” | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Danny on JaJuan: “I think he can contribute”

I spent last night trying to temper expectations about the Celtics draft picks.  To me, the bottom line is this is a weak draft that got worse as you got down the board.  But, as with every draft night, people get enamoured with the guy they draft, looking past his deficiencies and exaggerating his abilities. 

But the analysts seem to like the JaJuan Johnson pick.  And I'll admit that he has a better chance than other guys to contribute strictly because he's a tall guy that rebound and block some shots.  And, like Danny Ainge says in the quote coming up, there aren't that many guys like that around. 

We started following JaJuan closely last year, trying to see if he should come out to the draft. He was counseled to back to school. We liked him some last year, but we did follow him closely this year.

I think the only minus, really, is just he’s very thin. But he’s multi-skilled. He can shoot, handle the ball, pass, block shots, rebound. He just needs to put a little weight on.

Can he contribute right away?

I think he can contribute. I always hate to put too many expectations on guys before the draft and after the draft. I think that sometimes we get all excited and get carried away on the draft. Historically, there’s just not that many guys that come in on a good team, on championship-caliber teams, that are able to contribute. Well have three or four young guys on our roster this year, and one or two of them might contribute day in and day out. The others will have to find their spots through injuries and opportunities in other ways.

Size is hard to find. I think that his size gives him a little bit of an advantage. And his experience in college — he was an All-Big Ten player, and he’s nearly 6-foot-10 and he’s long. There’s just not that many of those guys out there, so the competition is much thinner.

This might seem like I'm diving into semantics here, but I'm not.  There is a difference between "can" contribute and "will" contribute.  Can JaJuan Johnson pull a Semih Erden, take advantage of a numbers crunch and an injury to get some minutes and make a little bit of a contribution?  Yes.  

Will JaJuan Johnson walk into camp with a full 15 man roster and play so well that Doc has no choice but to give him 15-20 minutes a game?  Probably not.  The kid may or may not turn into a solid player someday… and maybe he'll get some spot time… but I don't see him being a consistent, night-in and night-out contributor to this team.  I hope I'm wrong here, but I think the most realistic expectation for THIS SEASON is spot minutes, maybe a highlight or two, but mostly bench/D-League time.

Plus, what's Danny Ainge supposed to say today?  "No, this guy will either be fetching the vets their PB&J's or spend the whole season in Maine.  But its the NBA draft and we had to pick someone… so…. here we are."

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  • Really dont understand the hate on Jajuan when people on your staff are admitting they have “no idea who this guy is”…again I have seen him play tons the last 4 years, but I am admittedly one voice…. this is via Ball Dont Lie’s draft report card that was just published, from someone who lived 8 min from Purdue,but is not a college b ball fan:
    Boston Celtics
    Additions: JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore
    Grade: A
    For the last few years, I’ve lived in Lafayette, Indiana, which is just an eight-minute drive from West Lafayette, Indiana, where Purdue is located. Both of these players are from Purdue, and I should either be terribly biased in their favor, or reacting negatively and inappropriately based solely on the punk Purdue hipsters that dodge in front of my car every time I cross over the Wabash River to buy used LPs in West Lafayette.
    The truth is that I don’t care about Purdue, I watch as much Purdue basketball as I do Duke or College of Charleston basketball (that is to say, no basketball), and my location has no impact on this rating.
    With that in place, I think Johnson can be a terrific player in the right system, so much so that he was my favorite target for my hometown Chicago Bulls as they picked late in round one. And Moore, though his game is full of holes and he is a wing trapped in a point guard’s body, could be a rotation-level talent. Even knowing Johnson’s rebounding issues and understanding his small frame, Boston could turn him into a contributor that lasts for years. Not bad, for the end of the first and second rounds. Boilermaker-hoy!
    (I don’t think that’s what they say, here. I’m not at all certain what they say, here.)
    Give the guy a shot…

  • Why couldn’t DA flip our pick for Rudy Fernandez?
    Dallas just made Caron Butler expendable, any chance we can get him?

  • who’s hating on him? I’m just saying not to expect anything from him this year.
    If he was a spectacular talent, he would not have dropped to 25. If he was going to be a star this coming year, do you think a 6’10” guy would slip to 25?
    All I’m saying is to not blow this guy up right away. It’s going to take time.
    That’s not hate. That’s being real and waiting for the kid to develop.

  • I’m not sure how Boston nabs Rudy considering the payroll and lack of pieces under contract. Delonte at the 2 works for me and see if Avery can finally give Rondo some much needed rest.

  • Before I comment.. Did you (John) watch Purdue basketball this past year?

  • personally i agree with john barry’s playoffs and draft rant “it takes talent to win”.. and w/o a doubt this was a weak draft, there’s no way they crack the lineup.. lateral moves do nothing

  • Fair enough hate was not the proper description, valid point. That being said I dont think this kid will go to Maine once and will play 10-15 solid minutes a game.He dropped to 25 because college sr’s are out these days and hes not a “sexy” euro with unlimited (and usually never found) upside…10 years ago this guy is the 10-16 pick in the draft. Also that Purdue team went 4 deep, hes on a team by himself he would have garnered a lot more attention. We have a small window as we all know, Id rather have Jajuan now then a 19 year old that will take 2 years to learn half our plays.

  • (Ohio Celtic) Here’s the deal…Doc is a great coach, the best in the league right now, but he never wants to play young players…we need bigs, and I’d rather see JuJuan learn at the NBA level, than at the D League level…MAKE him contribute…a bench with Jeff Green, D-West, Von Wafer, Big Baby and JuJuan is a very good start. Put Baby on the opposing beef-eaters, JuJuan on the skinnier guys – or the slower guys, my guess is he’s faster than a lot of bigs, and things might work out okay…trust these guys to want to learn…and they will learn with KG, Pierce, and Ray Ray. Celtics fans are usually savvy, let’s let this guy play a bit before we relegate him to the D-League. Even if Danny pulls one out of his backside and we get a veteran big to back Jermaine, let JuJuan learn and let KG rest.

  • Jeez…looking at our roster…let the young guys – and I’m throwing Murphy in here too – RUN the opposing teams off the court…it’s called stamina, and they all should have it. Use the bench bodies for speed and fouls, and good hard defense…you body up enough opposing teams hard enough and their 2nd team stars will never get on a roll, whether they are out of breath or bruised all over from good old Celtics defense. Plus, maybe, just maybe, our bench guys will gain the confidence from playing time. They’re two different sports, but when I played soccer, we used our stamina and our bench to run teams out of steam. The Celtics’ starters might not do that, but ALL of our bench guys should be running right now. And even with more players, soccer is played on a much larger field, with no time outs and with almost double the time played per game. We have the legs to run, if we let them run.

  • I didn’t watch Purdue religiously, but I have seen the kid play some. I’m not going to claim to be the end-all-be-all expert on him. I’m also going by what I’ve read, and what Doc and Danny have said.