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

191544.jpg

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

Beyond The Numbers: Celtics' 3-point shooting is a recipe for success

Beyond The Numbers: Celtics' 3-point shooting is a recipe for success

BOSTON -- It has been well-established that the Celtics are a 3-point shooting, bombs-away kind of club and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.

But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against New York, we've come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.

This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point makes by the halfway mark of the season. And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.

Boston’s 494 3-pointers thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Cleveland with 617 and 505 3-point attempts, respectively.

The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 3-pointers by the midway point of the season.

And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.

That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.

Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.

But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers that coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.

That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.

Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.

Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and, maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.

Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson . . . they all missed some time due to injuries this year which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.

But the last couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want. That's allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.

“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”