Drafting a player in any sports league is a crapshoot. Typically outside of the top three or five picks nobody really knows what to think of a player who gets drafted. Recently an NBA Eastern Conference scout spoke to SB Nation’s Celtics Blog and had some “real talk” surrounding the Celtics 2019 draft. The C’s drafted Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters, and this scout who is anonymous wasn’t a fan of the players.
“I think they stink. Well, that’s a little harsh. I mean they’re fine, but there isn’t anyone special in the whole bunch.” It’s worth noting that I may be a “green-teamer”, but I think of myself as a levelheaded one. The 2019 draft picks won’t appear as good as other recent draft selections if you think about players that have been drafted by the C’s in recent years. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier are among those that have been drafted and made a big difference on the floor.
Last year’s draft was the third one since the C’s stopped benefiting from a Nets trade in 2013 that saw Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and D.J. White going to Brooklyn in exchange for players. Of course more notably the Celtics received three first round picks and a pick swap. Two of those draft picks were Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, both top five picks. It’s hard to replicate that success, which may be why some are thinking like this anonymous scout. The 2019 Celtics draft class played a combined 134 games, about half of them by Grant Williams, who averaged only 3.5 ppg. That is 27th among those drafted by NBA teams a year ago. Even with the limited scoring the Celtics have shown trust in the former Tennessee Volunteer, putting him on the floor in 63 games, which is the 3rd most appearances among rookies this season.
There were seven rookies league-wide that didn’t play a second this season, and 18 players who saw under 10 minutes/game including Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters. Waters only saw 10 games on the NBA roster, but Celtics fans hope success in the G-League could turn into success with Boston. 18 ppg in just under 34 minutes/game made him a 2-time G-League player of the week, and named to the All-NBA mid season G-League team. Edwards averaged 22.2 ppg with the Maine Red Claws this year in a handful of games, but did see significant time with the Celtics appearing in 35 games averaging 9 minutes/game and 3 ppg.
Perhaps the draft pick that confused Celtics fans a bit was Romeo Langford. He couldn’t shoot the three in college, only mustering 27% from the three-point line and nursing a thumb injury in his only college season at Indiana. Injuries got the best of the 20 year old to start off the season with Boston, but he has seen five games with 20+ minutes on the floor and although his point total was low with 2.6 ppg, Langford has shown some glimpses of a 6th or 7th man off the bench, which isn’t terrible for a 14th overall pick.
Whether it’s Langford, Williams, Waters or Edwards, nobody will know how the Celtics fared in the 2019 NBA draft for a few years. Outside of the top five players selected, including Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, the rest of this year’s draft class played 1,296 games and averaged 12.1 minutes/game.
Odds are all four C’s draft picks won’t pan out to be All Stars, but with a coach like Brad Stevens that can get the best out of his players at all spots on the floor these rookies should make a difference in the not too distant future and change one scouts opinion.