Boston Celtics 2012 NBA Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis
2012 NBA draft updates and analysis will be brought to fans of all 30 NBA franchises by Bleacher Report.
This article will provide the information you need for the Boston Celtics.
Pages will be added for every pick and move made by Danny Ainge and the rest of the Boston front office. Check back often for updates, including player information and analysis on every drafted player.
Don't forget to look at the final slide. Draft grades will be assigned for every selection and move, along with an overall grade for the Celtics' 2012 draft.
Celtics Draft Plans
The Celtics have huge questions looming in free agency, but the 2012 NBA Draft will be invaluable as the team looks to reload a depleted roster.
Drafting an impact player is unlikely, but there's no reason why Boston shouldn't end the evening without at least one solid contributor. The Celtics got very little production from the 2011 draft class (JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore) - the team simply can't afford a repeat of that this year.
Grades and analysis will operate with the following team needs in mind:
1) Power Forward / Center
2) Backcourt Depth
Round 1, Pick 21: Celtics Select Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Jared Sullinger isn't the most athletic player, but he's an imposing, physical presence who should be productive on the next level as long as he holds up physically.
At the draft combine, NBA doctors flagged Sullinger for a back condition which they believe could shorten his career. The report led some teams to downgrade the 6'9" forward significantly, but Sullinger was far too talented for the Celtics to pass up at No. 21. If everything breaks right, he could have a career similar to Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer.
You won't see many highlight reel plays from Sullinger, but the Ohio State product will always find a way to be around the basketball. If Sullinger was just slightly more athletic—and didn't have back issues—he might have been a top-5 selection.
With two late first-round picks, Boston had some latitude in taking a gamble on Sullinger. If he works out, he could anchor the team's front line for years to come. If not, then the selection was nothing more than a low-risk, high-reward flyer at the end of the first round.
Round 1, Pick 22: Celtics Select Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
With the second of their back-to-back first-round selections, the Boston Celtics selected Syracuse center Fab Melo.
The 7-footer will instantly bolster the Boston front line defensively, but he's extremely raw with the ball in his hands, and will need quite a bit of coaching before he'll ever be an effective go-to option. Melo is in far better shape than he was at this point last year, so with the move to the NBA, he may be motivated to work on his offensive game as well.
All of the tools are there: Melo has an 86-inch wingspan, he's fairly mobile, and he was the Defensive Player of the Year a tough Big East Conference. Shot-blocking is his forte, but Melo was also a pretty decent rebounder (5.8 RPG in 25.4 minutes per game last season).
With the questions surrounding the health of Jared Sullinger, Boston definitely needs Melo to develop into a solid rotation player. However, if what we saw at Syracuse is any indication, it may take a little bit of time for that to happen.
Round 2, Pick 51: Celtics Select Kris Joseph, F, Syracuse
6'7" forward Kris Joseph was a great value pick for the Celtics late in the second round. While the former Big East standout doesn't excel at anything in particular, he's a solid all around talent who should be able to give Boston a decent 10-15 minutes next season.
Joseph is an above-average athlete with an impressive vertical, but he's still somewhat unpolished on both ends of the floor. With a little work, he could eventually develop into a third option on offense.
For what it's worth, Joseph and Fab Melo played together at Syracuse. In the 2011 draft, Boston also used two of its picks to select former Purdue teammates JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun More.
Boston Celtics 2012 NBA Draft Report Card
Other teams may have been scared off by Jared Sullinger's medical report, but the Boston front office clearly felt that the Ohio State forward's potential outweighed any of his health issues.
If Sullinger is as productive in the NBA as he was in the Big Ten, the Celtics shouldn't have to worry about their front line for quite some time. Melo has the ability to step in immediately at the 5 spot, and while Joseph may take a while to develop, he has the tools needed to eventually become a starter on the next level. Along with Rajon Rondo Avery Bradley, Boston has the makings of a potential starting five two years down the road.
Round 1: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State; Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Round 2: Kris Joseph, F, Syracuse
Overall Grade: B+