The possibility of Kris Dunn, role players, and future picks did not bring Jimmy Butler or Gordon Hayward. Let the rumors swirl, but the Celtics weren’t enticed by Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. Credit Ainge with not settling for a trade simply because of the pressure of expected trades.
Ainge held tight and chose small forward Jaylen Brown. An explosive leaper and slasher with 7′ wingspan, the 19 year-old Brown is far from polished. With a questionable jump shot and ball-handling concerns, the Celtics hope to smooth out the bumps in the next couple of years. Some scouts have focused on the inconsistent release of Brown’s jumper. Other’s have focused the questions around his passing ability and vision. He’s clearly jaw-dropping in the open floor and when he finds space in semi-transition.
The Celtics needed a supreme athlete who can create and get to the line. Brown’s 9.2 free-throw attempts for 40 minutes were 4th in college hoops last year. The question is: how long will it take for Brown to develop a consistent jumper?
The best case scenario for Brown might be Kawhi Leonard or Vince Carter. Brown has that type of chiseled physique, low body-fat and hyper-explosive leap. What are the odds of Brown reaching that ceiling? Who knows, but Kawhi is a name that was mentioned by college hoops writer C.J. Moore in a Bleacher Report piece from late January. What would the worst-case scenarios be? In that same piece, former Maryland forward Terrence Williams is mentioned. As is the defensive small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who showed nice growth with Portland this year. Its not hard to envision a tantalizingly flawed player of the Jeff Green variety, but that might go away after a year or two of seasoning. Scouts have agreed that his desire to get to the rim, combined with his elite athleticism could make him a special player. Let’s stick with Kawhi and Vince.
Thirteen picks later, Boston surprised everyone again with a sweet-shooting 6’8″ wider-bodied power forward from France, Guerschon Yabusele (Yeah-boo-SELL-eh). He’s a mystery man, but the need for shooting and versatility, with high upside probably urged Yabusele’s name toward the top. Yabusele’s 7’1″ wingspan should help him defend bigs. There’s a great chance Yabusele stays in France for another year or two, developing his skills.
At 23rd, with their final first rounder, the Celtics chose Croation center Ante Zizek. The 19 year-old 6’11” rugged rebounder who runs the floor well, can block some shots, and has the proverbial “good motor.”
Brown’s Draft Express profile (strengths in first video, weaknesses in second).
At 16th, Boston took the French stretch four Guerschon Yabusele (expect daily misspellings and pronunciation issues), who could end up delighting fans into believing they have another Draymond Green. His powerful frame might remind fans of a slightly slimmer Glen “Big Baby” Davis. Hopefully more range, of course.