With the 2020 NBA draft and a few days of free agency behind us, it’s time to take a look at the Celtics’ selections and the moves made since then.
The Celtics’ first selection in the draft at pick number 14 was Aaron Nesmith, a 6 foot 9 inches small forward out of Vanderbilt, and we know one thing is for certain, he can shoot the absolute lights out of the ball. Rumors started swirling a few days before the draft that he went 90-100 from 3 during a shooting drill at Vandy. Jerry Stackhouse, who coached Nesmith in college, told WEEI,
“You’re talking about a guy who if he takes 100 shots he’s going to make 90 of them spot-up shots. I’ve seen him go 50-for-50, taking five spots, 10 shots. Allan Houston, Ray Allen type of jumpers. [The Celtics] are getting that type of shooter, but more.”
The Celtics need an outside shooter, and they found their man here. Through 14 games, due to a foot injury, this year he averaged 23 points per game on 52 percent shooting from deep; he’s a guy that will come in and help space the floor for guys like Tatum and Brown, and with his size and length, he should be able to make a difference on the defensive side of the ball as well. If he can stay healthy, expect him to come in and make a difference, immediately adding depth to this roster.
At 26, the Celtics took Payton Pritchard to fill the bench playmaking gap that desperately needed to be filled. I like this pick but don’t see Pritchard ever cracking an NBA starting lineup. I see him as a career bench player with his max ceiling being a sixth man (unlikely); however, Pritchard will come in and play his role, create some plays, and hit some three’s off the bench when Kemba needs a breather; moreover, he will look to fill the hole left by the departure of Brad Wanamaker.
Pritchard, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, averaged 20.5 points per game, 5.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds, while shooting 41 percent from three, so he has the ability to score and create, and definitely seems like the type of player Brad Stevens can work with.
Now we move into the first 48ish hours of free agency… With Hayward and Wanamaker leaving for Charlotte and Golden State, the Celtics welcomed Tristan Thompson on a two-year, $19 million deal and Jeff Teague on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. Thompson is a well-needed addition as he’ll come in and have a huge impact in the paint on the defensive side of the ball a spot that Enes Kanter has struggled viciously with. Teague will come and get minutes off the bench while Pritchard develops himself and adjust to the NBA game, but more important than anything, he brings a valuable veteran presence to a relatively young Celtics locker room.
Next Friday, I will cover any other signings or moves involving the Celtics.