Boston Celtics: Grading the Celts' Rookie Class so Far in 2012

Oliver Thomas@OliverBThomasContributor IJanuary 19, 2012

Boston Celtics: Grading the Celts' Rookie Class so Far in 2012

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    The Boston Celtics have gotten off to a rough start this season with just five wins and eight losses. With the Celtics often facing an uphill battle, the team's young rookies haven't had much of an opportunity to contribute.

    Coach Doc Rivers is a firm believer that every player must earn their playing time, and these rookies are no exception.

    It is no surprise that on any given night, these guys could go down in the box score as a "DNP – Coach's Decision."

    With many veterans ahead of them on the depth chart, these rookies find themselves scraping up the garbage time.

    Limited minutes aside, here are the early-season grades from the Celtics greenhorns.

JaJuan Johnson, Round 1 Pick 27: Grade: C-

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    Purdue's JaJuan Johnson wound up as the Celts' first-rounder in the June 2011 draft. The New Jersey Nets originally drafted Johnson, but subsequently traded his rights to the C's with a 2014 second-round pick for MarShon Brooks.

    In early hindsight, Brooks has been the one making an impact for his team. The former Providence guard looks like a ready-made scorer for the Nets, averaging 15 points per game.

    Johnson, on the other hand, has only gotten into eight games for the Celtics. His numbers don't jump out at you either: 1.6 points in three minutes a game.

    Statistics aside, Johnson has a promising mid-range jumper for his 6'10" frame. At the young age of 22, Johnson still could be the big man of the future for Boston.

    Unfortunately, until Johnson finds his role on this team, he will continue to see limited action behind guys like Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass and even Chris Wilcox.

    Early Grade: C-

E'Twaun Moore, Round 2 Pick 55: Grade: C

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    The Celtics nabbed another Boilermaker in the second round with E'Twaun Moore.

    Moore, an undersized shooting guard at 6'4", managed to make the roster despite not having a guaranteed contract. 

    In the early going, Moore has played in nine games for the C's and averaged 1.6 points per game.

    With seven minutes a contest, E'Twaun has received more floor time than his Purdue teammate. However, he has only shot 27 percent from the field.

    As far as second-round draft picks are concerned, Moore has met expectations. Many second-rounders don't even make the team and find themselves in the NBA Development League before too long.

    Early Grade: C

Greg Stiemsma, Undrafted in 2008: Grade: B

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    When a player averages just three points per game his senior year of college, there's no way they find themselves in the NBA, right?

    Wrong. Greg Stiemsma is living proof.

    The former Wisconsin big man has beaten all odds after playing professional basketball in Turkey, South Korea and the D-League.

    Stiemsma made the Celtics roster after an impressive preseason and has been a viable role player off the bench.

    At age 26, he is a mature rookie with raw offensive skills. However, Stiemsma has tremendous defensive instincts and blocking ability to make up for it.

    In his NBA debut against the New Orleans Hornets, the former D-League defensive player of the year blocked six shots.

    Against the Wizards in his first NBA start, Stiemsma provided his most complete stat line to date: 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

    Overall, Stiemsma has contributed more to the C's than his fellow rookie teammates.

    Stiemsma has averaged 2.3 points, 1.5 blocks and 2.7 rebounds through 11 games this season.

    Early Grade: B

In the End...

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    Let's face it, the Celtics rookies are not on the same level as the Kyrie Irvings or Kemba Walkers of the NBA. Yet that doesn't mean they won't find their success in this league.

    With minutes at a premium for JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore and Greg Stiemsma, it is difficult to gauge their progression on the Celtics.

    It may be unfair to judge the rookies based simply on their early sightings, but it is a reality in the NBA.

    If this season takes a turn for the worse, then the Celtics will play towards the future. If Danny Ainge decides to trade away the aging stars of this team, then expect these young men to harness more of a role.

    Despite a C- grade for JaJuan Johnson in the early going, he still appears to have the brightest future ahead of him.