Perhaps too convenient.
For a matter of minutes, the Providence College alum was Boston-bound after Danny Ainge phoned in the No. 25 pick of the NBA draft Thursday night. But it didn't last long. Ainge was already in the process of calling New Jersey and swinging a deal for Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson and a future second-rounder.
Brooks was a feel-good story — a Stone Mountain, Ga., native who rose to fame in New England. He was a flashy player, too. He emerged this season as one of the best scorers in college basketball, even dropping 52 in a single game against Notre Dame on Feb. 23. In more ways than one, the Brooks pick was sure to be a big hit.
But Danny Ainge, who's clearly not one to preoccupy himself with public opinion, went for the sound long-term basketball decision over the PR victory. Hence the trade, and hence the long-term project in Johnson.
Johnson is a good player. He won player of the year honors last year in the Big Ten. He's long, athletic, and he can score. He's got the potential to be somebody in this league.
But not yet. Johnson is only 22 and still needs to add some strength, especially of the lower-body variety, if he wants to be a real player at the pro level. Until then, he's got work to do. Whether it's in the Celtics' weight room or in the D-League, he's got to pay his dues before the C's give him a paycheck.
This is by design. Ainge and Doc Rivers have both repeated the mantra over and over: They're not looking to find immediate impact at the bottom of a weak draft. They don't even want it at this stage in the game, with a veteran team making one last run at a championship. They can't afford to rock that boat.
So they traded down, and they got the only thing this draft has to offer them: future assets.
They followed up the Brooks/Johnson deal by selecting E'Twaun Moore, another Purdue Boilermaker, in the second round. Moore is also unlikely to do much of anything in Boston next season.
If you show up to a game at the TD Garden next season looking for talented youngsters, you may see them. But don't expect to see them playing. More likely, they'll be behind the bench fetching Gatorades for the vets.
All we've learned from the draft is this: The future can wait. Right now, the Celtics are in pursuit of Banner 18, and the young guys can watch from the sidelines.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP