The 2019 NBA draft went as expected.
And now that we’ve had time to reflect upon those players picked, by and large it went the way it should have.
Zion Williamson was the top overall pick and based on what we’ve seen from him when healthy, that’s exactly where he belongs with Ja Morant not that far behind him as the second-best player in this draft class.
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The rest of the lottery picks (top 14) for the most part delivered as well as expected, but things get a little murky at the very end of the lottery — beginning with Boston’s Romeo Langford.
We know there are no do-overs when it comes to the NBA draft, obviously.
But if there were, here’s a look at what the Celtics might have done differently with the four players they wound up selecting last year.
Romeo Langford, SG/SF, Indiana (Round 1, No. 14)
Still too soon to say how Langford will pan out long-term. He’s more advanced defensively than expected, but needs to stay healthy enough to play to garner more playing time. He was limited to just 27 games this season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.
Who they could’ve taken instead: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Round 1, No. 17)
Similar build (6-5, 205) to Langford (6-4, 216), Alexander-Walker has shown he can play both on and off the ball while carving out minutes on a New Orleans Pelicans team with a good number of talented, experienced backcourt players (Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball and ex-Celtic E’Twaun Moore).
Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee (Round 1, No. 22)
High basketball I.Q; has the kind of physical strength that allows him to play “up” a position as a power forward or an undersized center. He gained the confidence of his teammates and coaching staff early on, and has appeared in 62 games while averaging 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Who they could’ve taken: Jordan Poole (Round 1, No. 28)
When given an opportunity to play with the Warriors, Jordan Poole got better as the season went on and finished strong by tallying double figures in scoring in 12 of his last 13 games.
Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue, (Round 2, No, 33)
His game of instant offense from college hasn’t translated to the NBA, where he is shooting just 30.9 percent from 3-point range this season. But if there’s anyone who will be patient with him, it’ll be Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations as well as a former Celtic known for his shooting touch which wasn’t apparent early in his career. In fact, Ainge shot less than 30 percent from 3-point range in each of his first four seasons in Boston.
Who they could’ve taken: Eric Paschall (Round 2, No. 41)
Similar to Poole, Paschall made the most of his playing time by displaying a strong, inside-outside scoring game that made him one of the most productive rookies (14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists) in the NBA this past season.
Tremont Waters, PG, LSU (Round 2, No. 51)
He spent most of his rookie season with Boston’s G-League affiliate, but Waters’ playmaking, basketball instincts and feel for the game will have him on an active NBA roster soon.
Who they could’ve taken: N/A
Looking back at the nine players drafted after Waters, the Celtics got this one right in a big way. Tremont Waters was indeed the best player available when they selected him. And when we look back at this draft in a few years, that’s not likely to change.