By MyFM's Jake Archer - The possibilities were endless for the Boston Celtics last night at the 2017 NBA Draft. Of course, as I’ve gotten used to at this point, not much happened despite great expectations. Chicago star Jimmy Butler got traded to Minnesota in a deal that it looks like the C’s could’ve topped, but I guess they didn’t want him. Kristaps Porzingis talks cooled down significantly and became an afterthought. Last but not least, the Celtics and Pacers engaged in “serious” talks about a Paul George trade that never ended up coming to fruition.
So instead, the Celtics kept their #3 overall pick and used it, as well as selecting players at #37, #53 and #56 overall. Let’s break down who the newest Celtics rookies are.
Jason Tatum (6 foot 8 Forward out of Duke)
Picking in the #3 spot for the second straight year, the Celtics went with a guy that many thought would be the pick in Jayson Tatum. Tatum has drawn comparisons to Paul Pierce, Gordon Hayward and Paul George for his ability as a versatile wing, but let’s pump the brakes on those. He was great offensively at Duke, but there are some questions about how he’ll handle NBA defenders.
His ability to shoot the 3 isn’t there and he needs to be more aggressive as he floats in and out of play at times. To me, he projects as a good NBA player but not an All Star. Apparently Danny Ainge says that he would have drafted Tatum #1 overall had he kept the top pick, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the truth. I think he liked Josh Jackson quite a bit but couldn’t get Jackson to work out for them and he was also interested in dealing this pick.
Personally, it’s not that I hate the player, I just think it’s a bit redundant with what the Celtics have and what they are trying to add this offseason. It worries me that they drafted a guy who is being compared to the players we should be going after like Hayward and George. I hope they are not settling. I really wanted them to deal the pick but now I feel they are stuck with the player and the scenario was far from ideal.
Regardless, Danny Ainge has tied his reputation to this kid by dealing away a shot at Markelle Fultz. I don’t feel great about it, but I also know Ainge is a smart guy who is usually thinking steps ahead of most others.
Semi Ojeleye (6 foot 8 Forward from SMU)
Selected in the second round with the #37 overall pick, Semi Ojeleye is a swingman with a good three-point stroke. He spent two years at Duke before transferring to SMU and is old for his class, but his body is NBA ready and he plays a physical brand of basketball.
Semi wasn’t supposed to drop this far, so he may be a steal. His best NBA comparison is Jae Crowder, which is interesting because I think this could be a replacement situation. He was AAC player of the year in 2016-17 and I feel like this is a good fit for a future role player on a contender.
Kadeem Allen (6 foot 3 Guard out of Arizona)
Allen was the next pick for the C’s at #53 overall. He’s a big, strong point guard with good perimeter defense but he’s also a bit older as he is 24 already. He also is very limited on offense and doesn’t seem like much of a pick if we’re being honest.
Jabari Bird (6 foot 6 Guard from Cal)
Jabari Bird is another senior guard for the Celtics here at #56 overall. He is a former teammate of Jaylen Brown and his shooting is highly regarded. He’s also a pretty good rebounder but is not a great defender even with his size. His last name works for me, but we’ll see if he can have any impact on the Celtics in the future.