Danny Ainge Drafted Two Players That Can Help the Celtics Immediately

There was a ton of buzz and speculation surrounding the NBA Draft last night. The Celtics were rumored to have been in trade talks throughout the day, but ultimately nothing happened. Instead of trading up or making another move, like I wish they did, the Celtics did what they always do and stood pat.

But the thing is, I love the picks Danny Ainge made. To say I was ecstatic when Aaron Nesmith’s name was called at #14 is a major understatement. Nesmith was one of the few guys I wanted from the beginning, and the fact that the Celtics drafted arguably the best shooter in the draft warms my heart.

Nesmith has the chance to step in right away and make an impact. Nesmith is bringing much-needed shooting and scoring to this team. It wouldn’t shock me if he found himself playing alongside the starters at points during the season with his size and athleticism. He has the potential to have a significant role on this team, and it sounds like he’s excited to be a part of this group.

As far as his foot injury goes, it seems like the Celtics aren’t too concerned about it. Danny Ainge says he’s doing fine and believes he’ll be ready to go.

I won’t lie, I had no idea who Payton Pritchard was when the Celtics drafted him with the 26th pick. When I soon found out that Pritchard is another knock-down shooter who brings a championship work ethic, I was sold. Pritchard is a winner, and that’s why Danny Ainge decided to bring him to Boston.

What I think I love the most about Pritchard already is his attitude and striving to win and grow as a player.

“I’m just excited to be part of this organization, part of a winning culture,” Pritchard said. “Wherever I’ve been in high school [or] college, it’s always been about winning and competing, and so I get to carry that on. Hopefully I get to expand my game and win a lot of games.”

And this quote from Pritchard just fires me up.

“I just want to bring a sense of toughness, competitiveness, and try to help a team try to go win a ring and a championship.”

Pritchard, the Pac-12 POY, averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game for Oregon last season. Pritchard also won the Lute Olsen (Nation’s Most Outstanding Non-Freshman) and Bob Cousy (Nation’s Best Point Guard) awards. This kid has a long resume, and that’s a big reason why the Celtics selected him.

He even has Damian Lillard’s stamp of approval.

I’m excited to see how the rookies will contribute to the team once the new season starts. Will both crack the rotation and get a good chunk of minutes right away? Probably not because they have to earn those minutes, but I think they will in no time.

Between the scoring power from Nesmith and the intensity from Pritchard, I think both players will find themselves playing consistent minutes not too long into the season. Of course, it all also depends on how the rest of the roster looks once the season starts, but no matter what, I think both will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves and earn their stripes.

Let’s get excited. Danny Ainge and the Celtics just drafted two studs that will help solve Boston’s lack of shooting immediately. Last season, Boston’s bench averaged 29.5 PPG (29th in the league) and were 28th in 3PT% (31.8%).

The Celtics addressed those needs during the draft, and because of that, they’re inching closer and closer to becoming a legit championship contender.


Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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