The Celtics have had more cracks at first-round picks than any team in the NBA over the last six NBA Drafts with 11 selections over that span. The excessive number of selections has led to mixed results for the team over the years, particularly when the team was not picking in the top-5 of said drafts. Danny Ainge had nailed those picks in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown but the extra bites at that first-round apple had produced some underwhelming (RJ Hunter, Guerschon Yabusele, Ante Zizic) results with the jury remaining out on recent picks that showed plenty of potential but showed limitations on the offensive end with perimeter shooting (Rob Williams, Grant Williams, Romeo Langford).
With the team’s treasure chest of extra draft picks set to run out on Wednesday night, Boston’s front office adapted their plan from simply nabbing the best player available to address a weakness the reared its ugly head during the postseason on countless occasions: 3-point shooting.
“Typically you want to draft the best player and not worry about positions, but we’ve all heard the rhetoric before and that’s true. But there are times when you need to draft for specific needs, especially when we’re drafting in the positions that we’re drafting this year and with the draft that we have this year,” Ainge said last month.
For the first time since arguably the Big 3 era, Ainge brought aboard a top-tier shooting weapon to the fold with Aaron Nesmith at No. 14.
“He can come in the gym and outshoot most of our guys right this second,” said Ainge. “I’m guessing Jayson Tatum will have a little dispute with that.”
Nesmith has one job when he comes in and he already knows what it is as he attempts to provide some firepower to a Boston bench that ranked in the bottom of the pack in scoring all season long.
“Shooting, instant floor space, making life easier for those guys who are really heavy creators on offense,” Nesmith said. “Like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, just making their life easier. While on the defensive side of the floor, being able to contribute with my size and my length and my ability to guard multiple positions.”
Whether Nesmith could hold his own on the defensive end remains unclear at the NBA level, but he will command plenty of attention from defenses after knocking down 52 percent of his 3-point attempts in an abbreviated sophomore season at Vanderbilt.
That should provide a needed boost to Boston’s second unit immediately, a unit that ranked 28th in 3-point shooting (31.8 percent) and 29th overall in ppg (29.5). Semi Ojeleye and Brad Wanamaker were the two top perimeter shooters within that