Celtics

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

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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

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

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Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

Larkin rises to occasion, says he's ready when Celtics call his number

PHILADELPHIA – Near the end of a preseason game against Charlotte, Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin was killin’ the Hornets with pick-and-roll action.

It was a preseason game that at the time, didn’t seem to have much value other than to get some of the end-of-the-bench guys a little run up and down the court.

But as it turned out, Larkin's play in that game was one of those things head coach Brad Stevens tucked away, knowing at some point he would count on Larkin to provide similar play in a regular season game.

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Well, that game was Friday night at Philadelphia, a game in which several players for Boston stepped their games up in helping the Celtics get their first win of the season, 102-92.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger game-changer for the Celtics in this game, than Larkin.

He finished with 10 points off the bench, eight of which came in the decisive fourth quarter when the Celtics rallied from five-down to get a hard-fought, much-needed victory.

“You have to always be ready for your name to be called, especially when you have injuries,” Larkin said. “You never know whose night it’s gonna be.”

Boston was playing without Marcus Smart who suffered a left ankle sprain in their 108-100 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday. Smart was in the starting lineup having replaced Gordon Hayward who underwent left ankle surgery and is expected to be out for the remainder of this season.

“When coach (Stevens) called my name, I had to go out there and be aggressive, play my game,” Larkin said. “And it worked in our favor.”

And while Stevens had watched Larkin play prior to the Celtics signing him this summer, it was a preseason game against Charlotte that really convinced him that the 5-foot-11 guard could help when called upon.

“You’re always watching,” Stevens said. “And if you remember that exhibition game, he finished out that Charlotte game, just running simple spread pick-and-rolls. He’s such a handful with his speed and quickness, and he allows other guys to play off of him. He’s a small guy, but he makes up for it with his speed and skill.”

Al Horford benefited more than any other Celtic with Larkin’s pick-and-roll play which factored into Horford scoring nine of his 17 points in the fourth.

“Shane is a player who understands the game and for us, it was me trying to set a good screen for him and having him make a play,” Horford said. “He just made the right reads, when to shoot it, when to pass it. He just looked very comfortable in that position.”

And to think that Larkin’s big game came about in part because of how well he performed in a preseason matchup against the Hornets.

“I did not know it was that specific game,” Larkin said. “But whenever I step on the court I try to do my best. That’s offensively, defensively, and do what the team needs me to do.

Larkin added, “Whenever my number is called, if he (Stevens) calls it again, I hope he does. I’ll be ready to go out there and do it again.”

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