Countdown to the Draft: Jonathon Jeanne

With the 36th pick of the NBA Draft, the CelticsLife hive-mind selects: Jonathon Jeanne.

Jeanne, who recently declared for the 2017 NBA Draft, has made it clear he intends to play in the league next year, and will accept no draft-and-stash deals. A typical prospect available for a second-round pick belonging to a team with very tough decisions to make about how it will fit as many as four picks from this year's draft AND two picks stashed from last year's draft next season would normally find themselves passed over by a team like the Celts.

Jeanne is not a typical prospect, to say the least.

Let's start out with why he isn't projected to go higher than late in the first round of the Draft to early in the second. Some of you may recall the build-up - and later disappointment - of many fans and analysts alike as Dragan Bender went from top-three pick prospect to a long-term project with the Phoenix Suns, seeing less playing time than Marquise Chriss, who selected several slots later in the draft. The disappointment in large part stems from two very different reasons - one which comes from a boom-and-bust cycle of European big men in the league, with a Dirk seemingly popping up for every three Darkos, but also from the combination of a relatively small number of skilled, athletic seven footers in a league suddenly moving towards having no significant place for any player who can't shoot.

In simple language, I mean there are several players selected too high every year because of their superficial similarities to exceptional players currently in the league, especially when such a comp (coughKristapscough) seems to work out. This also tends to happen when a player flashes crazy potential that overrides a glaring lack of fundamentals, or some other major fault - and can, as it did with Bender, be the same player. That doesn't mean Bender is a bust, for example, just that these factors conspired for a 19-year old wing player who happens to be a seven-footer who SHOULD have been taken somewhere out of the lottery, but wasn't. He still has potential, he just had no business being ranked so highly on potential alone.

Fast forward to the present, and the "bust" cycle has corrected - probably too much so - the buzz surrounding such players. Last year, a prospect like Lauri Markkanen would have gone as high as Bender in my estimation - if not higher - yet borders on falling out of the top ten in many mocks this year (which seems ludicrous to me if you look at his fundamentals compared to Dragan's). Similarly, Jeanne, who is close in age - not even twenty yet - to Bender, with a similar physique and an arguably more developed and varied game, will probably not even be taken in the first round as a result.

To be fair, Jeanne will not be able to defend or score at the NBA level for a season or two, and needs to bulk up given his slight weight (just 210 pounds for a player standing 7'2), but his 7'7 wingspan, quick feet, ball-handling, and good form and basketball IQ have scouts intrigued. Jeanne has shot the three well at lower levels of competition - between .382 and .478 with significant attempts - but has been exposed on both ends of the court as the relative novice he is when attempting to play for clubs in more competitive leagues. Polishing his existing skillset probably places him somewhere between rotation player and low-level starter. However, if he can become a consistent shooter capable of defending wings as well as bigs, well - one only has to look to this year's Milwaukee Bucks to understand why passing on Jeanne because he won't be stashed would be a very foolish move, indeed.

Bell rose to national attention with his Hakeem Olajuwon-like performance in this year's NCAA Tourney, but has been a low-key diamond-in-the-rough for his Oregon squad all season, logging 8.7 boards, 2.3 blocks, 1.3 steals and 11 points per game. If visions of a young Draymond Green fill your head, they should - Bell's numbers look eerily similar to Green's third year in college (8.6 boards, 1.1 blocks, 1.8 steals and 12.6 points per game). While comps are never a substitute for scouting, it doesn't take long to realize that while a little small for playing his usual position - center - in the NBA at 6'9 and 227 pounds, Bell's motor and athleticism aid him to play above his size, competing for boards and positioning versus bigger, stronger players, and is skilled enough that moving to the four should not present much of a challenge. Key to his success, however, will be improving ball control and shooting, as his game can sometimes show signs of sloppiness, and his lack of offense away from the basket will hurt his value in today's game.

Not literally nobody, mind you - just reporting there's a strong undercurrent that even in this deep draft (or perhaps because of it), the pick should be packaged with others to move up - or even out - the draft class. While Boston's three second round picks - this one at 36, and two more likely to fall in the 50-60 range - probably wouldn't get you much better than a few slots higher than 36th by themselves, throwing in a player, or a player's rights, might help balance Boston's asset trove a little more evenly over the next several years. With new CBA rules allowing sign-and-trade components to deals and the addition of NBA D-League two-way roster slots in addition to the existing 15 slots, it's anyone's guess how the landscape of asset-heavy roster-building teams will look this summer and beyond.

For more stories about the NBA Draft, click here. For more by Justin, click here.

Photo via
Data via, and
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn