Since he was drafted, critics have said R.J. Hunter needs to put on weight to compete in the NBA. After his comments on the Celtics rookie class and their potential as future All Stars, however, he may only need to shift the weight from his giant cojones to the rest of his slender frame and he’ll be bullying defenders in the lane in no time. Via Mass Live's Jay King, Hunter said
Jordan can just flat-out play. He has a motor. He's smart. He works hard. He makes the right plays. And he's going to be a star. I think the same with Terry (Rozier, the No. 16 overall pick). Terry, obviously the talent's there. The speed's there. And once he figures out this game, I think he'll be a perennial All-Star. The draft class that the Celtics brought in besides me is unbelievable. I think those guys can really play.
Obviously, it is a boon to any rookie to have the sort of self-confidence Hunter has displayed both on and off the court since being selected with the 28th pick in June’s draft (thanks, Doc!).
But you can always have too much of a good thing, and in Hunter’s case, he may not be the most qualified guy to be the conductor of the Celtics’ youth hype train.
Choo Choo. Updated Celtics draftee #HypeTrainWatch coming through… Terry Rozier 🚆🚆🚆🚆🚆🚆 RJ Hunter 🚆🚆🚆 Jordan Mickey 🚆🚆 Marcus Thornton 🇦🇺— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) October 20, 2015
For starters, if Marcus Thornton can become even a facsimile of his namesake in the NBA, let alone an All Star, I will name my first born son Marcusthornton Bauerle and thus ensure he will be bullied for the rest of his life.
But excluding the draft-and-stash-very-far-away prospect, the trio of rookies currently on the Celtics roster -- Terry Rozier, Hunter, and Jordan Mickey -- could have a claim to Hunter’s lofty expectations, but not a very strong one.
In a vacuum, every one of those players may have the potential to be an All Star. But basic historical facts make it incredibly unlikely that any of the three will make an All-Star team. In a study of drafts from 1999 to 2013, the stark realities of draft position come to light, and they dont have great things to say about the Celtics' trio.
Jordan Mickey, for instance, may have the kind of raw athleticism and defensive instincts that make scouts drool all over themselves, but when you realize that only 25 players drafted in the second round between 1999 and 2013 even averaged 25 minutes a game for their career, suddenly the idea of Mickey as an All Star seems much more suspect.
Hunter himself is open to the same sort of critical look, as his draft position, at 28th overall, is in a range that rarely produces even meaningful contributors.
Even Rozier, the highest pick of the three, would be a statistical anomaly as an All Star due to the fact he was selected outside the lottery. One needs only to look at last year’s All-Star team, where only five players on the East roster were picked outside the lottery, to see how hard it is to stake a claim to an All Star berth when picked beyond the scope of the ping-pong balls.
Is it impossible for all three to one day make the All-Star team? Of course not; as we all know around here, anything is possible. Based on the numbers, however, the likelihood of seeing Rozier, Hunter, and Mickey share the floor on All-Star weekend is about as likely as the Brooklyn Nets making a trade that doesn't turn out to be a disaster; theoretically possible, but perhaps never to be seen in our lifetime.
Photo Courtesy of Bostonceltics.com
Hat tip to Chris Reichert of CrabDribbles.com for the draft figures used in this article.