NBA Draft 2011: Would Keeping Marshon Brooks Have Been Better for the Celtics?
The Celtics drafted Marshon Brooks out of Providence College and immediately traded him to the Ne Jersey Nets for JaJuan Johnson and a second round pick. The Celtics felts that they needed front court help which may be true but did that mean passing on a player who has legitimate inside and outside scoring capabilities was the right move?
Marshon Brooks could have been the starting shooting guard of the future. JaJuan Johnson most certainly will be the power forward of the future at this point but his skill set does not match what Kevin Garnett brings to the table whereas Brooks doesn't take anything away when he ultimately would have replaced Ray Allen.
Johnson is a skinny version of Kevin Garnett. A power forward with some legitimate offensive skills but undersized. Garnett was able to bulk up. Johnson is probably as bulky as he is going to get at this point with him being drafted as a college senior while Garnett was straight out of high school.
Johnson is not the defender that Garnett is either. When you are drafting a power forward/center of the future part of your scouting report should not read "struggles to defend in the post." The bonus to Johnson's game is that he has developed a solid perimeter game allowing him to play against some of the more versatile forwards who can stretch the floor. Not exactly a super quality to have if you are going to be the post presence for Doc Rivers but it certainly isn't frowned upon.
Brooks on the other hand has been scouted to say that he has a tendency to get "tunnel vision." Basically being the only true scoring option at Providence, it seems to make sense that if he is trying to win, he would have tunnel vision. Where Brooks lacks is in his ability to be a facilitator. Fortunately, the Celtics already have one of the best pure point guards in the NBA in Rajon Rondo, so his decision making skills should be improved without him having to create all the time.
Brooks' defense is not suspect either. While not a lock down defender in the mold of KG or Rondo, he can grow into the role much like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce learned to appreciate the defensive side of the ball under Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau (having KG there didn't hurt either.)
Johnson is what he is at this point, a front court player who shies away from contact. Brooks is a game changer. He creates and forces a team to pay attention to him. With a solid point guard and coach, he will be fine. The Nets just solidified their shooting guard spot for years. The Celtics' whiffed and whiffed hard. Hopefully, Danny Ainge has something up his sleeve to create front court depth and solidify the bench for next season because after this draft, it does not look like Banner 18 will be raised anytime soon.
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