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."