Instead of keeping the Providence guard—the second-leading scorer in the nation last season with 24.6 points per game—with the 25th selection, the Celtics would trade away Brooks to the New Jersey Nets. In exchange, the Nets gave the Celtics their 27th pick and a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Most would consider giving away a steal like Brooks was the wrong move. The Celtics were in need of solid shooting guards as well as big men going into the draft, as Brooks would fill the need for a shooting guard. The Celtics ultimately prioritized getting a big man over a shooting guard, and it will be a move that makes them a better team.
The 27th selection by the Nets happened to be JaJuan Johnson, a young talent out of Purdue that is arguably one of the more complete big men in the draft. Johnson can score effectively, is a sound rebounder, can block shots with his length, and is a lock-down defender. What more can ask for from a player?
Last season with the Boilermakers, Johnson averaged 20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. Each of these numbers would lead the team on the season, as Johnson would win both the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the conference.
The Celtics are a team that lacks size, with Kevin Garnett being the only player that provides decent production in the front court. Jermaine O'Neal is the supposed starter at the center position, yet isn't exactly capable physically of playing more than 25 minutes per game. He is a weaker, less fit player that still shows he can play well, but has failed to show he can produce consistently.
Glen Davis is still yet to be resigned along with 31 year old power forward Troy Murphy, as both players are unlikely to re-sign with the team this offseason. Davis will likely elect to test the market, while Murphy is an aging center who takes up roster and salary cap space.
On draft night, by acquiring Johnson, the Celtics fill needs in the front court that must be filled to contend for a title.
For one, the team looked weak in the post offensively throughout the course of the 2011 NBA playoffs. Aside from the one big game from Kevin Garnett with 28 points and 18 rebounds in Game 3 against the Miami Heat, there was a lack of production from the front court offensively. Adding Johnson brings offense to the table, as he scored 20.5 points per game last season.
Johnson, like Garnett, is a player that likes to do work on both ends.
More than anything, Johnson is a defensive machine that likes to block shots and make life difficult for opposing forwards. His shot-blocking ability as well as his physical play on the boards will give the Celtics another player that gives teams a hard time taking the ball inside the paint.
Since dealing former-center Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the squad has lacked another player outside of Garnett that can get it done on both ends of the floor consistently.
To go along with Johnson, the Celtics would use their second round draft pick to take Johnson's teammate at Purdue, shooting guard E'Twaun Moore. Moore is a quick, strong 2-guard that can shoot the basketball and finish at the rim. Moore might not be a Marshon Brooks, but the guy can play.
Last season Moore was second to Johnson in scoring for the Boilermakers, averaging 18 points per game. He also shot an impressive 40 percent from distance, while also boasting an ability to rebound effectively, grabbing 5.1 boards a game.
The Celtics decided that getting a big man that will likely be a productive one in the league was more important than getting a 2-guard, as there would be shooting guards left to take in the second round.
The team now fills both voids with two players that could prove to be solid players for head coach Doc Rivers and company. Johnson brings size and athleticism to the front court while Moore gives the team support behind Ray Allen in the rotation.
Expect the Celtics to make moves this offseason as talented big men like Nene Hilario and Thaddeus Young are available in the free-agent market. Yet dealing Brooks was a solid start to the offseason for the team, as they grab Johnson to build a stronger front court and add a solid scorer in Moore to the guard rotation.