While the Celtics didn't make the splash they were hoping to in the draft, they did pick up some interesting and talented young prospects. The team's top priority in the offseason was getting help with rim protection, and they took their first step towards that by selecting LSU's Jordan Mickey with the 33rd pick.
Mickey made SEC All Conference first team last year at LSU, as well as the All-Defensive team. The Celtics are certainly more impressed by his defensive prowess than his offense, and frontcourt defense happens to be their biggest need.
At 6'8", Mickey is somewhat undersized at the power forward position, but is very versatile and athletic. His offense lacks polish, and he was able to score mostly off of height last year. He did have 16 points and 7 rebounds vs. Kentucky in a memorable near upset, which was unquestionably the closest thing he has seen to NBA level big man talent, and showed no fear in doing so.
Danny Ainge says he is already the best athlete in the Celtic frontcourt, something that was seriously lacking in last year's team. DraftExpress.com, one of the best and most exhaustive resources regarding draft prospects, also has some great things to say about his athleticism and defense.
Mickey is an undersized power forward, but plays taller than that as he possesses a 7'3 1/2” wingspan, which helps him out significantly as shotblocker (3.9 per-40, fourth among DX Top-100 prospects) and an overall defender. He can block shots on his primary man and also has the quickness and explosiveness to rotate over and block shots from a help position.
At this point in the NBA having bigs who can switch on to smaller players and still defend them is hugely important. The league has become a pick and roll haven, and defending that play 2-3 times a possession is now normal. DraftExpress.com had positive things to say about Mickey's ability to handle that as well.
In addition to his shot-blocking prowess, Mickey also does a nice job of containing smaller players on the perimeter thanks to his excellent lateral quickness, showing the potential to guard multiple positions. He is especially impressive in the pick and roll, where he can hedge out well beyond the 3-point line and slide recover with great agility back into the paint.
While the Celtics didn't get Willie Cauley-Stein, and are sure to try to add another rim protecting big to their roster, we should be seeing Jordan Mickey contributing off the bench, and helping our defense to some degree almost immediately.
Top Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Middle Photo Credit: AP Photo/The Baton Rouge Advocate, Heather McClelland
Follow me on Twitter @Thomp_26
Chris Thompson 6/28/2015 07:40:00 PM Tweet Edit