Raptors grab shooter, Celtics collect future picks during mostly quiet night in Atlantic division
The Boston Celtics, coming off their fifth trip to the conference finals in the last seven seasons, entered Thursday night’s NBA draft having already started the process of retooling for another attempt at the franchise’s 18th title.
They stayed on that path by amassing lots of future draft picks on a mostly quiet night elsewhere around the East's Atlantic Division.
Toronto had the highest selection of the night at No. 13, taking sharpshooter Gradey Dick out of Kansas.
The Celtics made one of the league’s biggest predraft moves when they traded franchise mainstay Marcus Smart to Memphis in a deal that got them big man Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards. The three-team deal included Boston receiving the 25th overall draft pick from the Memphis Grizzlies.
But Boston traded it for Detroit’s second-round pick and two future second-round selections. The Celtics then traded down again, picking up the No. 34 and No. 39 picks in a deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Boston selected Colby Jones at No. 34 and shipped him to the Kings for No. 38 and another future second-rounder. Boston took Jordan Walsh with the 38th pick, and 6-11 Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye at No. 39. But Gueye was sent to the Atlanta Hawks for a future second-round pick.
The cache of picks could prove to be invaluable to Boston in free agency.
The Nets continued their latest restructuring by snagging a pair of forwards, selecting Noah Clowney out of Alabama and Duke’s Dariq Whitehead with picks No. 21 and 22.
The Knicks and the 76ers did not have any selections Thursday night.
Here is a look at who teams in the Atlantic Division drafted:
— Team needs: With the addition of Porzingis, which included the departure of Danilo Gallinari, the Celtics entered the night in need of some shooting and defensive depth at power forward.
— Who did the Celtics draft: After all that moving up and down, Boston eventually selected 6-7 forward Jordan Walsh out of Arkansas at No. 38.
— Player comparison: Walsh has been compared to Boris Diaw, with an ability to play both forward positions. His shooting was spotty at times, but his defensive potential is there.
— Team needs: The Nets could use scorers who can create their own shot as well as additional size. Outside of Mikal Bridges, Spencer Dinwiddie and Cam Johnson, the rest of the roster needs to be set up for baskets. Up front, despite having Nic Claxton (16th in the league with a 9.2 rebounds per game average), Brooklyn ranked 29th with 40.5 per game.
— Who did the Nets draft: Brooklyn used the first of its back-to-back picks in the first round to grab 6-10 forward Noah Clowney at No. 21. He showed ability as a floor spacer in his lone college season at Alabama. The Nets took 6-7 forward Dariq Whitehead out of Duke at No. 22. He dealt with foot and leg injuries but still shot 43% from the 3-point line. They also took 6-8 forward Jalen Wilson out of Kansas.
— Player comparison: Clowney has been compared to Claxton and former Philadelphia 76ers F/C Theo Ratliff. His height (6-10) and athleticism fill a hole, and he could pair well with Claxton. Whitehead, who played just 28 games at Duke after needing two surgeries to repair a fractured right foot, shot 43% from 3, so perimeter shooting should be his calling card in the NBA. Projections vary, with analysts viewing him in the same light as Bradley Beal, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope and Allen Crabbe. Wilson, the Big 12 Player of the Year, has been compared to Jimmy Butler, Saddiq Bey, and Andrew Wiggins for his size, shooting touch, and ability to draw fouls.
— Team needs: Adding shooting was an obvious need for the Raptors, who last season had the NBA’s fourth-worst field goal percentage (45.9%) and third-worst mark from 3-point range (33.5%).
— Who did the Raptors draft: Toronto took Kansas guard Gradey Dick with the 13th pick. Dick made a Kansas freshman record 83 3-pointers in his lone season with the Jayhawks. The Wichita-born Dick attended the draft dressed in a sparkling red jacket and shirt combination with red-soled shoes, calling his outfit a nod to Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
— Player comparison: While he’s considered one of the best shooters in the draft, the 6-8 Dick is also adept at moving off the ball to get himself open or cutting to the basket. His skillset has drawn comparisons to Sacramento guard Kevin Huerter, a consistent deep threat and dependable playmaker in his five NBA seasons.