Here are nine things to know about JD Davison, the Celtics’ latest draft pick.
1. On Thursday evening, the Celtics made their intentions Draft clear enough for the night.
In other words, don’t expect fireworks. The team that competed in the NBA Finals isn’t breaking its momentum by tackling a rotation player only to go up in the draft.
Brad Stevens, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, said, “The cost of going up to where we are was too high.”
2. Still, the Celtics picked an interesting player in Davison. He rose to prominence as a high-school star in Alabama, where he averaged 32.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game as a senior. He posted a 29-point, 14-rebound, 11-assist, 11-stealing-quadruple-double. As a junior, he led Calhoun High School in Letohache to a Class 2A title and buried a game-winning 3-pointer when time ran out to claim the title.
The following year, Davison and Calhoun returned to the semi-finals, but lost to midfield despite a 45-point outburst by Davison.
Davison’s explosiveness and game-building earned him high-level offers, and he quickly rose through the recruiting ranks. By the time he was a senior, he was a 5-star athlete on Rivals, 24/7 Sports and ESPN. ESPN gave him a potential rating of 94 and ranked him 15th overall in the country. He came from a small school of less than 200 students, but when he moved to Alabama as a freshman he was recognized nationally as one of the best prospects in the country.
3. Davison struggled in college. It’s normal for a small school-going Division I gifted player to be the first time around, but it makes evaluating a player like Davison more complicated.
IronicallyGiven the Celtics’ struggles after the season, Davison often got the ball rolling in the pick-and-roll. He finished with eight turnovers in a win over Tennessee and seven in a win over Drake, and his assist-to-turnover ratio for the season was 4.2/2.9—quite high on the one hand and too high on the other. He made 25 3-pointers but shot just 30.1 percent from deep and (worryingly) 72.8 percent from the free-throw line. For all his clever passing and spring-loaded athleticism, his shot needs work.
“She’s been fired 12 months from high school graduation, isn’t she?” Stevens said. “So he’s played college basketball a year on a good team at a very high level, and with guys who were good playmates in their own right. He’s had some incredible games, and he’s had some games where he’s a freshman. Looked like a player.
Stevens said the Celtics liked Davison’s competition and behavior on the court.
“We think he has a great deal of experience getting the ball out of his hands quickly and finding the right people, especially on the spot-up,” Stevens said. “He’s very selfless in that regard. But there are some things he’ll have to improve, as would any 19-year-old. But we’re looking forward to helping him make that happen. That’s our job.”
Once a former college coach, Stevens (probably apparently) praised Alabama’s coaching staff.
,[Davison is] Good competitor and obviously, I think, played in a good program for really good coaches,” Stevens said.
5. Stevens said Davison was one of two or three players the Celtics felt “good enough” because their pick was a pass. Still, the team didn’t get a chance to work him out until last week, partly because of his own busy schedule and partly because of Davison’s workout schedule.
But Stevens – who said he was “well-versed” of what Davison brought to the table – saw him live several times and attended Alabama practice last season.
6. Stevens’ message to Davison seemed quite specific: We believe in you and think we can grow you as an NBA player. Just don’t expect to play too much time.
The Celtics specifically drafted Davison because they have time to try to develop him into a rotation player, not because they expect him to process their defeat in the finals by minutes on the team. will compete.
“Now, it’s about making it so that he becomes addicted to NBA games,” Stevens said. “Except for nothing crazy here, there won’t be a ton of pressure for him to come up to us and impress us immediately or move the needle for us. He’ll be able to compete for minutes just like anyone else.”
“At the same time, he can grow, develop, focus his attention on improvement. I think it’s a really important place for a young player. We have a really good team.”
7. Davison is going to play on the Celtics’ summer league team, which means Celtics fans will get their first look on July 7 in Las Vegas. He will meet before the team for summer league practice.
For the Celtics’ development staff, the goal will now be to help a 19-year-old get ready for the grind of the NBA.
“It’s a big life moment for him, and then in a few days you’re on a plane to Greeley Tribune and in a completely new place,” Stevens said. “How do we help him really start off on the right foot?”
8. Juhan Begarin and Yum Madar will both also be on the team, as the Celtics get an updated look at their draft-and-stash guys in a Summer League setting.
“Summer is a great time to discuss whatever the league is after and they’ve all played here and they all compete in practice and everything else,” Stevens said. “There’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of roster flexibility and there’s no one else involved that we bring in from outside that we’re not even talking about tonight. So we’ll see how it all shakes out on its own.”
9. What do the Celtics still have about Traded Player Exceptions (TPE)?
“Partnering with important players on our team or partnering with draft assets that you can use to trade with these TPEs with deadlines and those kinds of things didn’t mean much,” Stevens said.
He added that Celtics players can also sign minimum deals and taxpayer middle tier exceptions if they don’t use TPE right now. TPEs expire a year after they are made, and the $17.1 million TPEs created by Ivan Fournier Sign-and-Trade last summer expire on July 18.
The Celtics have five other TPEs that end in $1.8 to $6.9 million over the course of the season.
“If [the Fournier exception] disappears because we don’t get the right deal, we still have two other TPEs that can be used for the trade deadline,” Stevens said. “That was one of the things about tonight : We wanted to make sure we were sensible about all of our future assets and weren’t moving our team without very clear steps that would help us.”
That attitude might explain this tweet.
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