Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Demetrius Jackson. For a look at the other profiles, click here.
BOSTON – As surprising as it was to see Demetrius Jackson slip all the way down into the second round on draft night in June, even more unexpected was the fact that the Celtics selected the 6-foot-1 playmaker despite having an already deep stable of guards.
Still, as much as the Celtics look for ways to improve their lot in the moment, you know Danny Ainge always seems to have an eye on the future.
And selecting Jackson with the 45th pick iwas indeed a selection for down the road.
A year ago Boston selected Terry Rozier with the 16th overall pick, a pick that was seen by many as a bit of head-scratcher, considering Boston already had Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas and Evan Turner in the fold.
Rozier didn’t play much in the regular season, but certainly made his presence felt in the postseason as Boston tried to overcome Bradley’s hamstring injury sustained in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against Atlanta.
Rozier parlayed that into a strong summer league showing and now looks poised to contend for a spot in the regular rotation.
Can Jackson have a similar ascension this season?
He’ll get a shot to prove himself in training camp later this month.
The ceiling for Jackson: Active roster
Joining a team with veterans at several positions, including his own, not much is expected from Jackson this season. Boston feels extremely fortunate to land a player with his potential and upside in the second round of the draft.
So, for him, finding a way to stay on the active roster other than because of injuries, would be a huge accomplishment. Without him, Boston has Thomas, Smart and Rozier as potential ball-handlers at the point. And while Jackson is a decent shot-maker, seeing him play off the ball isn’t likely because – you guessed it – Boston’s depth at that position.
The floor for Jackson: Lots of time in the D-League
Jackson’s multi-year deal with Boston is fully guaranteed for this season only. It’s the kind of commitment that tells you Boston has no plans of unloading him prior to the start of the season despite having 16 players with guaranteed deals, which is one more than the NBA allows prior to the start of the regular season.
A more realistic short-term expectation will be for him to spend a considerable amount of time this season shuffling back and forth between Boston and the Celtics’ Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
Spending time in the D-League isn’t so bad.
Last season, Rozier averaged a team-high 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 14 games with the Red Claws, which he said helped him keep his confidence relatively high even when he wasn’t seeing any action with the Celtics.
Boston big man Jordan Mickey was a D-League All-Star last season and he, too, has talked about the benefits of being a D-Leaguer.
In addition, veteran Celtics forward Amir Johnson spent most of his first couple seasons in the NBA toiling in D-League obscurity before getting his chance to play and prove himself to be a solid defender and rim protector.
It’s far too soon to tell if Jackson will be as fortunate as the Celtics’ other D-League success stories. But as has been the case when Boston has sent its drafted players to play for the Red Claws, Jackson will get every chance to showcase his game, which for a second-round pick coming into the NBA, is about all you can really hope for.