BOSTON (AP) — The Celtics looked to the future by selecting former Alabama guard JD Davison in the second round of the NBA draft Thursday night.
Davison was an SEC All-Freshman team pick for the Crimson Tide last season, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists despite only starting six games.
But the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder showed a propensity for big games, with two-of-10-plus assists and 10-plus rebounds.
“He’s a guy that we’ve been seeing all year,” said Brad Stevens, Celtics president of basketball. “Very young. Very explosive – that’s pretty obvious. Has the ability to penetrate color and make plays and has some things he needs to improve on. But he’s a good competitor.”
It was the Celtics’ only pick Thursday after they traded their first-round pick to San Antonio in the deal that landed them Derrick White at the close.
It is the second year in a row that Boston has not made a first-round selection.
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Davison didn’t work for the Celtics during the preliminary draft process, but he’s someone they’ve had their eye on throughout the past season.
He also fit the archetype of the player that they don’t have to bring in right away.
“He will be able to compete for minutes like everyone else, but at the same time he can grow, develop and focus his attention on improving. I think that’s an important place for a young player,” said Stevens. “We have a really good team. But he’ll be able to fire us up a bit with his speed at both ends of the floor. I look forward to it.”
It’s part of an offseason where the Celtics will have to be frugal as they try to add depth to a team that made it to the NBA Finals.
Boston is teetering near the luxury goods tax threshold, but has three trade exemptions totaling just under $30 million to play with, including about $17 million left over from the exemption stemming from the Sign-and-Trade by Evan Fournier last August.
Stevens reiterated that the evaluation process will be fluid on the road to free agency when deciding how — or if — they will use it.
“It really comes down to cost,” Stevens said. “If the costs are reasonable, continue the discussions and if they are not, bring them to the table for now and maybe come back to these later. But at the end of the day, the trade exception is a tool, but it’s not our only way… That was one thing tonight, we wanted to make sure we were wise with all of our future assets.
“We’re smart about not relocating our team without very obvious steps that would help us.”
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