Boston Celtics: Grading the 2014 NBA draft

Now that the 2014 draft is over, let’s analyze the results for the Boston Celtics. With Joel Embiid still landing in the top three, even with his injury, the draft did not go as I expected. The Celtics’ top pick was quite surprising, as they drafted point guard Marcus Smart, which brings up many questions in regard to Rajon Rondo. They were also able pick up a small forward, a position they desperately need help at, in James Young.

Before we give the Celtics an overall grade, let’s breakdown those individual picks and see how the Celtics did. 

I will be grading the picks based on three categories: fit for the team, if they were the best option available for their position, and probability they will become a starter. 

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Fit for the team: This depends on a couple of things. Will the Celtics trade Rondo? Can Smart play shooting guard? Will Smart be a backup for a couple of years until a Rondo trade emerges? 

If the answer is playing him as a backup for of couple years, I think he will be a great fit. Those years will give Smart a chance to work on his pick-and-roll game as well as his shooting, and learn from one of the best point guards, Rondo.

If the answer is trade Rondo, Smart’s size and athleticism will give him in advantage in starting right away. He is great in the post and drawing fouls, so even while he works on his shooting, he will still be a viable offensive option, and will be able to guard other starting point guards

If the answer is play him as a shooting guard, things could get tricky. Neither Smart nor Rondo is a great shooter, although they both can get to the rim. It could be a rough transition while Smart works on his shooting and shot selection. Fit for the team: 7/10

Best option available: As I said when I compared Marcus Smart to the Hulk, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of years, not only is he the best point guard from this draft, but the best player in general. That’s obviously the best case scenario and will require a lot of work.

There are however, two point guards that could eclipse Smart if he doesn’t put in the work. Elfrid Payton could end up being a much better defensive player than Smart, and Shabazz Napier has such a big chip on his shoulder and is so borderline arrogant, that he could emerge as the best point guard from this draft. Best option available: 8/10

Probability he becomes a starter: Smart will be a starting point guard in this league. He is physical, competitive, and athletic. He reminds me a lot of Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. He’ll be able to get to the rim at will. He also will be able to defend all of the top point guards and will do so effectively. Probability he becomes a starter: 10/10

James Young

James Young

James Young

Fit for the team: As I discussed earlier, the Celtics are in need of an upgrade at small forward. Jeff Green is not the long term answer, and finding his replacement while Green still has some trade value is a great idea. Young will provide instant shooting and will be a great third option on a contender one day. Fit for the team: 8/10

Best option available: Overall, Young was the best option at small forward. The only other notable small forwards taken after him were Rodney Hood and Cleanthony Early. In the next five years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the three become the best small forward from this draft aside from Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins.

Young was the right choice, considering that he averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on a loaded Kentucky team. Best option available: 9/10

Probability he becomes a starter: If he develops on both the offensive and defensive end, he will be a solid small forward, and will easily start in the NBA. He has the length and abilities to compete on the defensive end, and we already know he can score. If he puts the work in, he can definitely be the Celtics’ small forward of the future. Probability he becomes a starter: 7/10

Team Overall Grade: B-

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