The Celtics Had a Really Weird Night at the NBA Draft
NEW YORK CITY - For the most part, the 2019 NBA Draft went exactly as many expected it to go. Duke's Zion Williamson was drafted first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans, followed by Murray State's Ja Morant going to the Memphis Grizzlies and Duke's R.J. Barrett going to the New York Knicks. There were plenty of trades and unconventional selections, but for the most part, the draft did not have many surprises. Unless, of course, your team name is the Boston Celtics, in which case your draft night did not follow any sort of predictions and instead subverted expectations at every turn. My prediction of Jaxson Hayes did not come to pass as he went to the Pelicans in the eighth spot, but I did correctly surmise that Boston might have their eyes on Carsen Edwards.
The Celtics began their night by foregoing the option for a center or a point guard by instead drafting a shooting guard, Romeo Langford, out of Indiana with the 14th pick. Langford suffered a thumb injury down the stretch run of the season, but one of his top attributes is his free throw shooting ability. Hopefully, the rest of his shooting will improve when his thumb does. Langford is a good choice, but the major takeaway from his pick, in my opinion, is that the Celtics have their eyes on a potential free agent at one of the positions they most need a new player at. Otherwise, those needs would surely have been addressed with the Langford selection.
The Celtics then selected Matisse Thybulle, a forward from Washington, with the 20th pick. Thybulle wasn't a member of the Celtics for long, though, because the Philadelphia 76ers immediately traded for him. In exchange, the Celtics received the 24th and 33rd picks in the draft.
With their 22nd pick, the Celtics drafted Grant Williams, a power forward from Tennessee. Williams was regarded as one of the smartest players in the draft, but a pattern began to emerge when head coach Brad Stevens waxed poetic about Williams' free throw shooting ability. The need for better free throw shooters was definitely a top priority for the Celtics.
The Celtics didn't keep the 24th draft pick for long either, however, and it was sent to the Phoenix Suns for a future pick. The big news in this trade, however, was that the Celtics also included one of their impending free agents, Aron Baynes, in the deal. Baynes, one of the league's best Australian role players, was a key piece off the bench for the Celtics, but his departure was definitely intended for Boston to clear cap space.
The Celtics then finished their draft night with two point guards in their final picks at 33 and 51: Carsen Edwards out of Purdue and Tremont Waters out of LSU. Waters is likely destined for the D-League out of the gate, but Edwards was a prolific scorer during his time at Purdue and could evolve into a top option at point guard for the Celtics.
It was a busy night for the Celtics and every player should be welcomed to the team, but the major signal of the evening is that the Boston Celtics and Danny Ainge are not done yet this off-season.
Image via Flickr / Michael Tipton