By Matt Noonan
How it Happened: With the 27th pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the New Jersey Nets selected JaJuan Johnson, forward/center from Purdue University. Although, due to a previous trade, the Boston Celtics retained the rights of Johnson in exchange for their 25th pick, which was Marshon Brooks, guard from Providence College.
What it Means: The Celtics needed to draft a “big man.” Shaquille O’Neal retired this past spring and who knows how much gas remains in Jermaine O’Neal‘s tank, but Johnson will help the Green and Whit with his size. Johnson, who is six-feet-ten-inches and 221 pounds will certainly play a factor down low, as well as on defense.
How will Johnson Impact the Celtics: In his final year with Purdue, Johnson averaged 35.4 minutes, 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. Johnson improved dramatically from his freshman to senior year, so hopefully that’s a sign for things to come. Also, he won, as well as received numerous awards over his four years with the Boilermakers.
“[He] led Purdue in scoring 20 times, rebounds 24 times, blocks 31 times, steals 10 times and assists once during the season” (according to Purdue Athletics website).
Overall Grade: I’d say he is a sold “B/B+.” The All-American has plenty of room to grow, but expect his game to improve under the guidance of head coach Doc Rivers.