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

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”