Celtics Select JD Davison in NBA Draft as Project

The Celtics explored opportunities to move up in the NBA draft on Thursday before deciding to preserve their future fortune and pick Alabama Guard JD Davison with the overall selection No. 53. The selection is marked Brad Stevens’ The first to join the squad after tucking away the 2021 runner-up Juhan Begarinhowever, signaled a similar learning curve for the young guard who struggled in his lone season with the Crimson Tide.

“All you have to do is turn on clips for a few minutes and you can see the benefits,” Stevens said. “Now it’s a matter of framing it so that he gets used to the NBA game and barring anything crazy here, he’s not going to have a lot of pressure to come in and hit us straight away or the needle for us straight away move. He’ll be able to play for minutes just like everyone else, but at the same time he can grow, develop and focus his attention on improving and that’s a really important place for a young player. We have a really good team but he will be able to fire us up a bit with his speed on both ends of the floor, which I’m really looking forward to.”

Davison, 19, is set to join the Celtics in the Summer League next month, likely on a sideline Sam Hauser, Yam Madar, Brodric Thomas, Matt Ryan, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and begarin. Aaron Nesmiths Status remains uncertain, though it’s unlikely he’ll head into his third NBA season and find that he’s going to have to take a break after his sophomore shooting bouts. Davison will have ample opportunity to make a point for this team, a 6’3-inch guard who was born in Alabama, before developing a tremendous high school pedigree and offers from giants like Kansas, Memphis, Michigan , Auburn and LSU declines to play in Alabama near his home. During his junior and senior seasons, he averaged over 30 points per game, along with more than 10 rebounds and four assists.

ESPN Davison ranked second among point guards in his class and 24/7 sports charted it at No. 1 and made it the most touted engagement in Alabama basketball history. He has grown small Herb Jones’ Three-star ranking in 2017, an eventual All-Rookie First Team selection by Tide a year ago. Nate Oats secured Davison’s signing, and although he struggled to shoot and score in his freshman campaign, he was done with college, according to Jonathan Givony ESPN, and decided to take the plunge with uncertain prospects. Givony positioned him as an early pick for the second round before dropping him to No. 48 in his final taunt. He dropped to Boston at No. 53.

Stevens opted for potential with the selection given the Celtics’ return, knowing Boston would not end the night with a player ready to bring a transformative impact to the Celtics. With the team potentially exploring free agency and using their trade exceptions during next month’s free agency period, there’s a chance Davison will join the team on a two-way contract and spend a lot of time in Maine. He shot 46.3% from the field with a 30.1% mark from three, averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.9 turnovers per game in Alabama 25.8 MPG in 33 games.

Even during an uneven campaign, Davison hit catch-and-shoot threes at a 37% rate, penetrating perimeter defenses around ball sieves and distributing the ball at a high rate. At a point in the draft where most prospects have a trick or sporting profile that may not translate to the next level, the Celtics today outperformed better players to bring in someone they could match their desired skill set with can build in basic attributes on which to build. Davison’s bounce, first step, defensive tools and speed are all NBA-level.

Little more than that seems professional at the moment considering Sam Vecenie is years away from impact, which given Boston’s needs, roster and prospects is fine for a player who turned 19 in the fall is. The Celtics go into the off-season with 13 players under contract, leaving two vacancies Luke Kornet and Nick Stauskas. Hauser and Morgan have team options while Fitts has a non-guaranteed contract.

That gives Stevens, he noted after the draft, post-Summer League flexibility, including the ability to value the team’s two free-agent two-way players in Thomas and Ryan, who Davison could potentially replace or face a full NBA contract . Stevens expressed some doubts about the use of the team by the Evan Fournier $17 million trade exception before expiration on July 18 that went unused on draft night.

“We’ve been having these talks for a while. We know who fits into our trade exception and who we can potentially target in the league,” Stevens said. “At least (we) are discussing it, then it really comes down to cost. So if the cost is reasonable then continue the discussions and if not then put it on the table for now and maybe come back to it later. Ultimately, our trade exception is a tool, but not our only way. We have the ability to do some small free-choice things with the middle taxpayer and then of course the ability to add some minimum amounts. If this thing wins because we can’t find the right deal, we still have two other TPEs to use until the close of trade. That was the other thing that night, we wanted to make sure we were being smart with all of our future assets and not relocating our team without very, very obvious steps that would help us. Those things didn’t show up, so we’re going to stick with it and find some things that will help us improve.”

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