What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

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What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

Post by bobheckler on Tue May 02, 2017 3:06 pm


What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

by John Eyler

5 hours ago

The future is now for nine young Celtics and four more on the way…

It’s no secret that the Boston Celtics have had a wealth of draft picks the last few years.  They have four more coming this year, one first round and three second round picks. Currently on the still developing list are: Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, James Young, Ante Zizic, Jordan Mickey, Guerschon Yabusele, Demetrious Jackson and Abdel Nader.

That’s nine bodies with four more coming. That’s a lot of young talent. What to do with them all? Which of these guys can we count on next year and which do we give up on?

Adding to this is the success the Celtics starters are having. Most of those starters are already contracted for next year and it’s going to be awfully hard to break this group up. So, all this young, and some of it top tier talent, will struggle to find minutes much less make the team. The team needs a premier rebounder and  another player who can break down a defense and run the pick and roll when Isaiah Thomas is out. Let’s look at what we have.

The First Tier

Certainly we want to keep Smart. Top drawer defender, improved  as a point or secondary ball handler, can defend the one, two and three. The only knock is his shooting percent. If he can fix his offense, become a player who can score 20 on any given night, then he might be a piece of a title team. Can he get past that standard and become a true superstar? Well, there’s no overwhelming evidence of that as yet, but improve the shooting percentage and  that’s something to talk about. He has not yet proven he can take the point when Isaiah is out. He does not yet penetrate and finish well enough.

Brown probably should be considered a potential superstar in this mix. A solid defender who will get better, a premier athlete and has a nice shot that will absolutely improve. This is a smart kid with the right kind of confidence. He still needs to improve on every aspect of his game, especially finishing at the rim, but to do that he will need minutes at his natural position of small forward. I believe if he gets 30 -35 minutes a game for the next couple of seasons then he will be a superstar. Unfortunately those minutes might not be available. The Celtics are a team already challenging for post season wins. It is tougher to develop young talent when you have solid veterans taking up minutes.

Rozier made vast improvement from year one to year two. During the regular season a lot of minutes that could have gone to him went to Brown. When Avery Bradley went down for a dozen or so games it was Brown who got the minutes. Once the post season started that changed. Rozier has been solid in the post season and playing big minutes. At 6’2″ he is fine as a point guard and capable as a shooting guard. His defensive work is good. His athletic skills are elite . His work ethic  will advance him even further. He too needs to improve on penetration and finishing at the rim.

Smart, Brown and Rozier are all already under contract for next season. They are essentially bargains. The only question is the developing logjam in the front court. The Celtics have five quality players who can take on the point and two guard and there’s just not enough minutes to go around. Young talent needs minutes to develop. Include the three spot  and while Smart and Brown  can cover that position the available minutes still don’t improve much. Lastly there’s a good chance that the Celtics will pick yet another front court player in the upcoming draft. What to do…

The Second Tier

Young is forever young. It’s tough to give up on a kid with so much potential. At 6’6″ or maybe a bit more he has good height for a shooting guard and a player who could easily switch on the defensive end. That’s important. He’s quick and has above average athleticism. He also has a pretty shot and could be a deadly 3pt guy. He has it seems given a good effort and worked hard. There’s simply too much there to write him off. Still we will never know unless he gets some minutes. Where those will come from is the question. Let’s not forget that he earned his  roster spot this season. He is  improving and he’s still so young and has so much  promise.

Now we have this kid Zizic who could be something special. Nothing but glowing reports coming back from overseas. This kid has a great build, great balance, and looks like he may be a NBA talent on the boards and in the lane. Is he as good as Amir Johnson or Tyler Zeller? Well that’s an important question. This team is building for a banner, do we bring in the kid and give him minutes over a proven NBA pro? It might be the best longer term option but what about next year. We don’t know yet if he’s good enough  to wear those shoes. Again how do we know unless he gets minutes. .

In Mickey we have a long guy at 6’8″. He has an incredible skill as a shot blocker. He has shown an ability to score off the jumper and even down a three. His natural position is power forward  but his route to a starting or participating role in the NBA will only come through developing as a rebounder. He can’t just be capable at it. He needs to become a monster, otherwise he’s likely to get lost in the mix.

The Third Tier

Okay, slow down the Yabusele hype machine. He might not be ready yet. While a physical oddity who could become a very troublesome guard he doesn’t yet play inside an offense or a defense. He needs to learn the game better and then use his size and girth to dominate. There has already been talk about stashing him overseas for another year. That solution works on a number of levels. Is he a future rotation player or more? Time will tell.

Now to Jackson. This kid does not get the attention he deserves. He is a good looking point guard prospect. He just looks good at the point. He’s explosive, he can drive the lane and get to the rim and do everything you want in a point guard including shoot the three. He is an elite athlete and has an NBA future. His problem is the Celtics depth chart.

Lastly, Nader. Interesting player. He looks really smooth handling the ball. He looks good shooting. He makes some good passes, he does it all. He too is simply looking at a depth chart where his opportunities may  just not  exist.

So what happens next? If the Celtics make a really big free agent signing there will be roster space opened up that some of these kids might fill. Gone will likely be Johnson, Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Gerald  Green and Young. This might open up space for any of the second or third tier guys still on their rookie deals.

So this summer we add four more young’uns. NBA games need to be longer…

MY NOTE: A wealth of riches, indeed. We cannot keep them all, or even close to all, and have a team with enough veteran smarts to keep the rebuild going in the direction we want it to go. There will be heartbreak this summer...


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Re: What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

Post by kdp59 on Tue May 02, 2017 8:06 pm

Young and Green are both FA's= TWO spots

Amir and Jerebko are FA rotational players= FOUR roster spots

Kelly is RFA

Zeller is non guaranteed

what are they talking about in this article?


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Re: What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

Post by worcester on Tue May 02, 2017 9:23 pm

yadayadayada.... the writer gets paid by the inch

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Re: What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

Post by wideclyde on Wed May 03, 2017 2:15 am

If this author really thinks that James Young is a second tier type of player, Brad Stevens must be the worst coach in the league for not playing him.

All of his third tier guys will be more valuable to the 2018 team than will be Mr. Young.


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Re: What to do with all those Boston Celtics kids?

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