NBA Draft 2011: Should the Boston Celtics Have Traded Marshon Brooks?
The Celtics have a number of needs heading into the 2012 season with very few players under contract, but did they trade away a future star in order to fulfill an instant need?
Should Not: Brooks Can Score
Great players have played in the Big East. Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson are only some examples. Yet, no player in Big East history has ever scored as many points in a Big East game (52) as Brooks did earlier this year against Notre Dame.
The Celtics are an aging team, and while the stars can still create their own shots when necessary, some youth would provide a shot in the arm to a team that often looked staid offensively last season.
Should: Celts Need Size
A number of Celtics fans blame the team's postseason exit as a result of the Kendrick Perkins trade. With Shaquille O'Neal's injury and turnover at the top positions, the Celtics weren't big enough to compete with the Joel Anthonys of the world.
Brooks would do nothing to remedy the problem. The Celtics have limited cap room this offseason to pursue talented free agents and their first round pick will likely be one of the most significant offseason additions to the team.
While Brooks is talented, if the Big Three is to make another run at a title, size is necessary immediately and even if Brooks projects better down the road, Johnson helps more this season.
Should Not: Value
The Clippers were trying to trade up even farther to get Brooks and were shocked when he was sitting there when the Celtics picked. Before the draft, there was talk of him being picked as high as No. 10.
Brooks was the best player on the board when the Celtics were on the clock, but they decided to fill an immediate need rather than keep that player.
The fact is he has as much natural scoring ability as any player in the draft. If a guy can score, defense and passing can be taught. While Brooks is by no means a sure thing, in a relatively weak draft class his potential makes him stand apart from the crowd.
Should: Brooks Is Not Versatile
Similar to other star college players on sub par teams, Brooks had poor shot selection and never showed he was entirely comfortable playing in a team system. On a team with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, Brooks would almost certainly have to give up shots he normally wouldn't to gain playing time.
His defense has also raised eyebrows for the wrong reasons in the weeks leading up to the draft. Being the offensive star he was at Providence, Brooks didn't have to worry too much at the other end of the court. Playing for the Celtics, things would have been different.
Evaluation: Wrong Decision
In the NBA draft, teams should take the best player available regardless of need. The Celtics decided to address an immediate concern: size.
The Detroit Pistons addressed a similar concern with Darko Milicic, the Portland Trail Blazers with Sam Bowie and the Los Angeles Clippers with Michael Olowakandi. Drafting on need sets teams up for failure.
The players to follow (Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki) all would have served their teams better even though they wouldn't have immediately filled a hole.
Celtics fans can only hope Brooks won't be the one that got away and Johnson can help the team win now and later.
The Celtics have talked about how much they love Johnson (and he does appear to have some potential too), it is more likely Brooks will become an everyday starter in the NBA.