Celtics trade No. 25 pick, get Purdue's Johnson

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Celtics trade No. 25 pick, get Purdue's Johnson

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn BOSTON The Boston Celtics got more than just a solid player with the No. 25 pick.

They turned the pick, used to select Providence's high-scoring guard Marshon Brooks, into Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, who was selected by New Jersey - for the Celtics - with the No. 27 pick. Boston will also receive the Nets' 2014 second-round pick.

"We like it a lot," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "We didn't think he'd be there, and he was."

In addition to Johnson, the Celtics were also considering Boston College's Reggie Jackson and Marquette's Jimmy Butler, who were drafted No. 24 and No. 30, respectively.

"He's a terrific shooter for his size and extremely athletic," Rivers said of Johnson. "He rebounded well in college, which you hope translates over to the pros."

Johnson, a 6-foot-10 forward, provides help for the Celtics on multiple levels.

While playing for the Boilermakers, Johnson distinguished himself as one of the more complete players in the conference. He was named the Big Ten player of the Year and the league's Defensive Player of the Year last season -- something that only two other players in conference history can lay claim to achieving.

He averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Boilermakers last season, and was a First Team All-American.

Johnson's strong senior season was not a surprise when you consider his play improved steadily throughout his four year career.

"He's athletic and a rangy, face-up big man," said ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.

And for the C's, he provides some much-needed size in the post as well as a player who has shooting range, which allows him to help the C's in the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop game.

"He doesn't shoot a great percentage from 3, but he can stretch you," Bilas said. "I do like his ability to defend and run."

But what might have eventually won the Celtics over was the one thing Johnson did often at Purdue -- win.

He was part of 107 wins, a school record he shared with teammate E'Twaun Moore who was drafted by the Celtics with the No. 55 pick.

"It helps," Rivers said. "It tells you that Johnson can play with a team and fit in, and be a winner on that team and still play well. That's always important."

Moore, a 6-4 combo guard, was an honorable mention All-American as a junior and senior. He became just the third player in school history to amass 2,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists and became the second player in school history to earn all-Big Ten honors in each of his four seasons with the Boilermakers.

It's too soon to tell what their roles will be with the Celtics next season.

However, Danny Ainge believes both players can contend for a rotation spot.

"E'Twaun is a good shooter, good all-around player, tough kid, good experience," said Boston's president of basketball operations. "Terrific talent, and JaJuan has good length . . . just a good all-around player. he's light in the hips, but he's long, athletic and he can score. I think both of those guys can find a fit on our team."

But when you consider the Celtics have only six players under contract, chances are pretty good that both will get an opportunity to play their way into a relatively meaningful role off the bench.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcs

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.

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