2011 NBA Draft Grades: The Boston Celtics and 5 Teams with Underrated Drafts
The Boston Celtics' 2011 NBA Draft probably won't win them a title this year. Former Purdue stars JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore probably won't even touch their college averages at any point during their NBA careers. The picks are safe, if uninspiring.
But it would be a mistake to call the Celtics' draft a failure. Drafting Johnson all but ensures that Glen Davis won't return next season, and drafting teammates will (theoretically) only help team chemistry (remember Ubuntu?).
Moore adds a shooting presence out of the backcourt and, by all accounts, is a solid player and a solid dude.
Now, the Celtics only need to draft Robbie Hummel next year to complete "The Glenn 'Big Dog' Robinson All-Star" trio.
Boston also adds a future second-rounder from the New Jersey Nets. Given the Nets' trajectory, it's not unrealistic to think that this pick will be in the 31-35 range.
The Celtics didn't get any stars, but they weren't expected to, either. Boston is a veteran team on its way out, so it's more important for them to get glue guys than stars right now.
We all know who the draft's real winners are. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves picked the only two "sure things" of the class.
But several teams, especially the smart contenders, landed late first-rounders and solid second-rounders who should help out more than people think right away.
The Dallas Mavericks traded out of the draft by sending Jordan Hamilton to the Denver Nuggets, but they added Rudy Fernandez.
The Mavericks were at their best when Peja Stojakovic was knocking down corner threes (before he was abducted by aliens in the NBA Finals). Fernandez is a player who can fill that role as well as run the floor and finish lobs from Jason Kidd.
I've always liked Fernandez. It was sad to see him stuck behind Brandon Roy and Gerald Wallace. Watch that video again and tell me he's not one of league's most electrifying players. If I'm a Portland fan, I'm sad to see him go.
Golden State Warriors
As the draft neared, everybody, including the Golden State Warriors, hopped on the Klay Thompson train. That pick is solid; a double that an uptempo team like the Warriors could stretch into a triple.
The pick I like, however, is Jeremy Tyler at No. 39. He's a relative unknown because of his misguided years abroad in Israel and Japan. If he had gone a more traditional route, he could have been a lottery talent with his athleticism and size.
When your Bleacher Report writer has a higher vertical jump than your power forward (looking at you, David Lee), it's probably time for a change. Tyler fits in well on a team of runners.
The Warriors also snatched up Charles Jenkins from Hofstra at No. 44. His best asset, like Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, is his scoring ability, but he adds a tough dimension as well.
Tobias Harris' body looks sort of like that of Carmelo Anthony. Neither are elite athletes and both stayed just one year at predominantly orange schools. I won't go and say that Tobias Harris will be Carmelo Anthony in the NBA because Carmelo is one of the best scorers in the game.
It wouldn't surprise me, however, if in a few years, Harris put up 17 per game in a very Carmelo-like fashion.
As for Jon Leuer, who knows if he'll ever pan out? Regardless, it's nice to draft a hometown hero. If Leuer turns into Matt Bonner, that might not be the worst thing in the world.
Hear me out. What's underrated is not the Jimmer Fredette portion of the Sacramento Kings' draft. Who knows what he'll do? I've set the over-under for points per game this season at 12.5, and I'm hammering the under. At the same time, it wouldn't surprise me if he scored 35 points in a game this year.
I love the Tyler Honeycutt pick at No. 35. He's a long, athletic forward who reminds me of TayShaun Prince. That's a compliment, in case you couldn't tell.
And taking Isaiah Thomas with the final pick isn't too shabby either. He'll struggle to see the court this season, but he could be nice trade bait in the future.
Oh, and we won't talk about that trade. John Salmons is one of my least favorite players in the league. But how funny would it have been for the Kings to get Stephen Jackson? Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Jackson. That's a pretty good team. Throw in the Jimmer and you've got high comedy.
San Antonio Spurs
It's tough to call the San Antonio Spurs' draft "underrated" because everybody is raving about it. But this list wouldn't be complete without the obligatory "How did Kawhi Leonard fall this far?"
Leonard is a steal and, I think, an immediate contributor to a title contender.
Davis Bertans is good pick for the future. He shoots the lights out.
Cory Joseph is solid, if unremarkable. We'll see if he can turn into a solid bench player or glue guy for the Spurs.
I won't even pretend to know who Adam Hanga is, but it doesn't sound like anybody else does either.