Boston Celtics: Grading Each 2020 Offseason Move

As the 2020 NBA offseason starts to slow down and less players become available on the market, we see the Celtics and what they have done to improve the team so far.  As a team who was just in the Eastern Conference finals last year, many of these pieces could help push this team into a Finals appearance.  In this article, I will be grading the major offseason moves the Celtics have made, both in the draft as well as in free agency.  The players will be graded on these factors:

  • Current talent level
  • Potential to become talented
  • Team needs/system fit
  • Other factors such as who else was available instead of this player

The Draft

In the 2020 NBA draft, the Celtics came in with four picks.  Three of which being first rounders, one being a lottery pick and two in the lower portions.  After trading the 30th pick, they were left with picks 14, 26, and 47.  With these picks they selected…

Aaron Nesmith – Vanderbilt – A+

Aaron Nesmith, the 6’6” small forward with one of the best three point percentages in college basketball.  Shooting an extremely efficient 52.2% from three in his sophomore year, we get a glance at why the Celtics drafted him.  As a team that prioritized bench scoring going into the offseason, Nesmith is easily your best option for specifically that.  He averaged a whopping 23 points per game last year on 51.2% efficiency from the field. This making him one of the most prominent scorers from this class.  He will definitely be a piece the Celtics plan to utilize this season. If he produces at a high enough level he could certainly become a 6th man.

Payton Pritchard – Oregon – B-

Payton Pritchard is a 6’2” Fred VanVleet esc. point guard.  Another need for the Celtics coming into this draft was a backup point guard to Kemba Walker. Pritchard is a possible replacement for him in a few years when his contract is over.  Pritchard, while not fully proven to be that, could certainly improve to a level where he takes the reigns of the point.  Averaging 20.5 PPG last year as well as 5.5 Assists and 4.3 rebounds, he is very capable of getting the ball where it needs to go. 

Whether that be playmaking for teammates or scoring it himself, he will do what is best for the team.  Coming out of an Oregon basketball system that is very team oriented, he would likely continue that trend in Brad Stevens’ system.  The only issue I have with this pick is there may have been better guards on the board, like Tyrell Terry, but we will see what Pritchard becomes before making that notion.

Yam Madar – Israel – B

Yam Madar is probably the most intriguing pick for the Celtics this year.  At 6’3”, he has spent all of his playing career in Israel’s “Winner League” or ISR-1.  He played for Hapoel Tel Aviv Basketball Club for his three year career before being drafted.  In his most recent year of play he put up 14.3 PPG and 6.4 APG, and in his last game had a career high ten assists. 

Something we have to take into account with Yam however is his mentality and maturity as a person.  At only 20 years old, he has been serving in the Israel army as is required by all citizens for a minimum of three years.  This would give him a team first mentality, as you would get from working with your squad daily in the army as well as in basketball.  This could be great moving forward for the Celtics, as he would be a fantastic playmaker.  He will likely spend some time either overseas or in the g-league to develop some more, but we should see him on the roster in one or two years.

Free Agency

Moving on to players the Celtics have signed, it is a narrow field.  Outside of re-signing players like Jayson Tatum, Tacko Fall, and Tremont Waters, they have also brought in two new players for the roster.  Both of which are good moves in my opinion, but for completely different reasons.

Tristan Thompson – Cleveland Cavaliers – A

Tristan Thompson is likely the most team need based move the Celtics made this offseason.  At 6’9” and 238 pounds, he is a proficient inside scorer and board crasher.  Last year he averaged a double double with 12 PPG and 10.1 Rebounds per game.  He also shot efficiently from three even though he very rarely took them (roughly one every two games) at 39.1%.   Something he could work on a bit is his free throw percentage, which was 61.5% last year, but that might just be splitting hairs at this point.  He will be a crucial addition to a Celtics team that has lacked a rebound tenacious center.

Jeff Teague – Atlanta Hawks – B+

Jeff Teague has spent a large majority of his career in Atlanta, 8 of 11 seasons to be precise.  He has now chosen to leave them for a contender and get what could be his first championship ring provided Boston wins it all this year.  Teague, the 6’3” point guard will be likely the backup point guard to Kemba Walker for now, and will be able to mentor Payton Pritchard who I mentioned earlier. 

Payton being mentored by both Kemba and Jeff will be a fantastic thing as both of them are proficient in their own ways.  I consider Teague to be the “glue guy” on most of his teams, he does whatever is needed of him.  Last year he averaged 10.9 PPG and 5.2 APG, and has throughout his career averaged over 5 assists.  He will be a good veteran presence off the bench for Boston, who has been trying to add depth for quite some time.  He does not have much potential for future growth however, but he knows what he brings to the team.  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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