Now that the NBA Draft has come and gone, it is time to assess how each team has done. For the Boston Celtics, the night began with intrigue and visions of grandeur but ultimately led to them using all four picks.
Let’s take a look at what they could bring to the team, as we approach free agency and the Summer League.
Jayson Tatum (3rd overall – SF, Duke): According to Danny Ainge, had the Celtics not traded out of the first overall pick, they would have still picked Tatum. It is easy to see why Ainge likes him. An athletic and offensive small forward, Tatum brings the ability to change a game, in ways that a former player of Ainge’s; Paul Pierce, did for so many years.
Tatum may be the best isolation scorer entering the draft, which is something that indicates your ability to change the game. However, Tatum isn’t the sharpest defender in the draft, but his length will allow him to guard more positions, and working under Brad Stevens should help his defensive IQ rise.
According to ESPN’s analytic model, Tatum’s advanced metrics compare favorably to that of Gordon Hayward and Paul George. With that being known, he could become an immediate factor like Jaylen Brown was this past season.
Semi Ojeleye (37th overall – SF/PF, SMU): This could be the steal of the draft for the Celtics. Ojeleye is an intriguing mix of shooting and physicality. He also has a great motor, is in top physical shape and has a terrific work ethic. All of these characteristics make him a bigger version of Jae Crowder.
If Ojeleye can do the little things, which he has done his entire career. He can be the kind of spark plug that Boston loves and will need if they don’t retain Jonas Jerebko in free agency.
Kadeem Allen (53rd overall – SG, Arizona): The biggest thing that stands out about Allen is his terrific speed and defense. He will immediately contribute off the bench thanks to those qualities, which were the best qualities Terry Rozier possessed out of Louisville.
Although Allen has a ways to go on offense, his heart and willingness to go the extra mile to improve could allow him to hold down a two-way deal in the NBA quickly.
Jabari Bird (56th overall – SG/SF, California): Last year, Bird was a teammate of current Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, and now he will rejoin Brown in Boston. Despite the comedic effects of having another “Bird” on the Celtics, this Bird actually brings some desirable qualities.
His offensive game is solid and he will be able to provide off the bench scoring. Bird has some things he needs to work on defensively, but he has a frame that will be conducive to adding strength and is a willing learner. Bird could earn a two-way contract or be stashed in the G League like the Celtics have done with Abdel Nader and Marcus Thornton, both of whom were late second round picks.
It remains to be seen what the roles of each of these players are, but with the potential for trades in Boston, they could all develop a big opportunity if the situation changes.