Boston Celtics Draft Picks 2023 – Night of Trades Leads to Jordan Walsh

After falling short once again in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics clearly have some big changes in mind for the 2023-24 season. But their confusing draft day with a bevy of trades must be viewed in a couple of parts before you can judge their performance in reshaping the roster for next season.

We try to make sense of Boston Celtics draft picks 2023 below, including a grade.

Marcus Smart
Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Part I: The Kristaps Porzingis Trade

The biggest headline and move for the Celtics on draft night came hours before the event started when the team acquired Kristaps Porzingis from Washington and sent Marcus Smart to Memphis.

Porzingis is a talented but frustratingly inconsistent player. Still, it is clear the Celtics are going in a different direction after never getting to a championship with Smart playing with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

The Celtics may lose a little defensively in the move, but they gain a better scorer in Porzingis. This will be an interesting trade to follow next season. It also led to some first-round picks for Boston, which ended up being part of heavy trade fodder on Thursday night.

Part II: The Trades and Julian Phillips

In a first round that was largely predictable by experts, the Celtics were one of two teams to trade down. Then they traded a few more times, finishing without any first-round selections added to the roster.

Boston ended up drafting Julian Phillips from Tennessee with the No. 35 pick, and he even took the stage with the expectations of going to Boston. But that did not last long as Phillips has reportedly been traded to Chicago.

But the Celtics draft picks 2023 were not done making moves on the night.

Part III: Jordan Walsh at No. 38

  • Position: Small Forward
  • Age: 19
  • Height: 6-7
  • Weight: 205 (93kg)
  • College: Arkansas
  • Born: Dallas, Texas

Finally, the Celtics have a rookie from this draft class after acquiring pick No. 38, Jordan Walsh, from the Kings. Walsh played in all 36 games as a freshman at Arkansas, and he averaged 7.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He only shot 27.8% from 3-point territory, but with just one year of college ball under his belt, there is room for improvement in that area.

Walsh was ranked as the No. 39 player in this draft at ESPN, so him going 38th in the draft is more than fair. He has a 7’2” wingspan and good athleticism, but he will need to work on his offensive game to get serious minutes in Boston.

Boston Celtics Draft Grade: C-minus

Grading the Celtics by which player they came out of this draft with is tough, because you can expect Walsh to be a minimal contributor this season. But the trade of Smart and acquisition of Porzingis is obviously the real headline for Boston this week, so we will give them at least an average grade for this draft maneuvering.

The only way the draft could be worse is if Phillips proves to be the better forward in the NBA than Walsh, which is a possibility as he was ranked a little higher and may have more offensive upside.

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