ESPN basketball insider Jeff Goodman appeared on Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about the Celtics and the rest of the NBA draft. To listen to the interview, visit the MFB audio on demand page.
Goodman was highly critical of the Celtics‘ selection of Terry Rozier with the 16th pick of the draft. Goodman acknowledged that general manager Danny Ainge tried to move up to a higher pick, but Goodman was disappointed with the choice of Rozier when those efforts did not prove fruitful.
“I really like Terry Rozier at 16, but not for the Celtics. I think it was just the wrong pick,” Goodman said. “I’m usually a big fan of Ainge and how he drafts. Not a great shooter. My take is they’ve already got mediocre-shooting perimeter guys. Combo guards, they’ve got plenty of them. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and now you add Terry Rozier to the mix.”
As a result of this apparent logjam at the guard position, it seems likely that more roster moves are on the horizon. According to Goodman, the Celtics are looking to trade guards but have found that the current Celtics may not have much value.
“I don’t know if they have enough value that you can move Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart right now. I think they’re trying,” he said. “From what teams have told me, Marcus Smart is on the block, but he doesn’t have quite enough value, so it’s going to be interesting to see if Ainge does make a move.”
Goodman said that, given the players still on the board at 16, the Celtics should have taken Wisconsin swingman Sam Dekker.
“I think Dekker was the best talent and he fit the best need at that point. He’s a 6-foot-9 3-man who’s pretty athletic and showed last year in the NCAA tournament, he might have been the best player up until the national title game. … just feel like Dekker was worth the risk, his upside is higher,” Goodman said.
On the whole, the Celtics didn’t do much to better themselves on draft night, according to Goodman.
“I just don’t know how much the Celtics helped themselves right now. I think Danny Ainge is probably frustrated because he felt like they had an opportunity to do so. … Terry Rozier, today, can’t beat out Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart,” he said.
The Celtics also owned the 28th pick in the draft. They used it to select Georgia State shooting guard R.J. Hunter, who hit one of the most memorable shots of this year’s NCAA tournament. Goodman was more impressed with the Celtics’ second selection, despite the fact that Hunter, scouted to be a great shooter, made only 30.5 percent of his 3-point attempts last season.
“I know the numbers don’t necessarily make him look like he’s a knockdown shooter, but he really is. He’s probably the third- or fourth-best shooter that came out of this draft, maybe even better. I like R.J. a lot. .. . I think he can help. He can help because he gives you something you really don’t have, which is a perimeter shooter,” Goodman said.
Despite the dissatisfaction with the front office’s draft performance, Goodman remains optimistic that the Celtics can improve later in the offseason, either via trade or free agency.
“I haven’t given up on this offseason,” he said. “Danny Ainge is still one of the better guys in terms of making deals out there. He’s active, he’s smart.”