Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Nets, Knicks, Raptors

If the Celtics are unable to come back from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they may not be able to help looking back on a pair of 50-50 outcomes from past drafts that didn’t go in their favor.

As Sam Amick of The Athletic details, the first of those draft-day coin flips came in 2011, when the Celtics owned the 27th overall pick and had narrowed down their choice to JaJuan Johnson or Jimmy Butler. Boston selected Johnson, allowing Butler to fall to Chicago at No. 30. Today, Johnson is eight years removed from playing in his last NBA game, while Butler is on the verge of eliminating the C’s from the postseason (albeit after changing teams three times).

Meanwhile, Game 4 star Tyler Herro, who established a new career high on Wednesday with 37 points, was selected by the Heat in the 2019 draft at No. 13, one pick ahead of the Celtics at No. 14. Those draft slots were as a result of a three-team tiebreaker for the Nos. 12-14 selections, after Charlotte, Miami, and Sacramento all finished the season with identical records. The Hornets won the tiebreaker and claimed the No. 12 pick, while the Heat got No. 13. The C’s, who owned the Kings’ pick, ended up at No. 14.

As A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, there was a “collective moan” among the Celtics’ brass after the Heat selected Herro at No. 13 a year ago, since the C’s had their eye on the Kentucky sharpshooter. They would have had a shot to draft him if they’d had better luck in that draft tiebreaker.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post questions whether the Nets really need to make a trade for a third star, suggesting that the missing piece for the roster may instead be a tough wing defender who could be signed using the mid-level exception. Lewis points to veteran forward Andre Roberson as one possibility, assuming he’s fully healthy.
  • David Nurse, a life/skills coach for a number of NBA players, believes that the Knicks will benefit from new assistant coach Johnnie Bryant‘s player development abilities, as Ian Begley of relays. “He focuses on the details and the specifics for each player,” Nurse said on Begley’s podcast, The Putback. “Player development gets thrown out there as a buzzword, like culture. No one really knows what it means. Most (people think of it as) being just rebounding for players, shooting spot shots. But that’s not player development. Johnnie realizes it’s about the details with helping these players that he works with, focusing on their strengths.”
  • Blake Murphy and Eric Koreen of The Athletic explore a few Raptors offseason topics, including how much the team’s initial offer to free agent guard Fred VanVleet should be worth, while Doug Smith of The Toronto Star says that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster will earn their money during this offseason of uncertainty.
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21 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Nets, Knicks, Raptors

  1. tealmarlin

    Does someone see the Heat making a run at Oladipo, Beal, Drummond, Gobert if they can’t get on the Giannis sweepstakes????

    • DeathbyDeathwest

      I don’t see it, but Riley might know something I don’t.

      If they can’t grab a Giannis or Kawhi level player, I don’t know why they would pull the plug on developing BAM! Herro, Robinson, Nunn…

      At most, they might say Dragic will be too much money for his age 35 season and try to replace what he brings, but there’s no reason for them not to run it back with this lineup. Their core is only going to get better, and trading for any of those players (besides Oladipo, who still needs to show he’s recovered from injury) would force them to break it up.

    • MarlinsFanBase

      I think the Heat are going to go all in on Giannis. Other than him, I can only see them looking at Beal. They aren’t likely to go for the rest, unless at a very favorable price.

      Some of them don’t even seem to fit what we have and do. Can’t just make a move to make a move because you missed out on another move. It could disrupt what we have. Pat Riley and Eric Spoelstra aren’t likely to do moves like that.

      • tealmarlin

        I feel like if we miss on Giannis, Drummond or Gobert would be a nice fit. They are dogs down the post, they have to think twice before getting in that hell + rebs also.

  2. jessaumodesto

    Jajunn Johnson was mismanaged he would have been dope and waaaay better than Butler if he was given a shot

  3. PutoBelga12

    I believe, and hope, that once eliminated, the Celtics will have better things to do than look back at a draft day coin flip from almost 10 years ago. Just move forward and stop all this “what if” nonsense. This is the same narrative for every team that passed on a player. It’s so easy to look back and make judgments.

    • dlevin11

      Celtics do have a lot of work to do after the season ends. They have to find a better center to play with Tatum and Brown. They also have to decide if they will keep any of their 2020 draft picks since they have to make room for 2021 picks.

  4. BloodySox

    The Celtics are playing pathetic basketball right now and the Heat are barely beating them. If the Heat advance they have no chance of beating Lakers.

  5. phillyballers

    Seems like a moot point on the draft.

    Were fans clamoring for Butler to be picked at the time? Some great players fall in the draft – Giannis, Kawhi, Butler.

    If they picked a bum like Markelle Fultz over Jayson Tatum, then you have a woulda coulda shoulda moment or 1000.

    Celtics are stacked with talent. All 1-3 though. S&T is in their future for a 4 or 5 and Gordon + picks going out the door.

    Heat have the space to make an upgrade over Dragic before they have to pay everyone and end up in Cap Hell.

    Iggy’s contract will end up in whatever deal they make since it’s essentially an expiring deal. They don’t have picks in 21 or 23. So it’ll be like hat Houston Rockets offer for Butler – multiple probable late 1st round picks for another piece.

    Like do you see the Wiz giving up Beal for future Heat picks? They could wait for Giannis and just keep that cap space open with 1 year deals. But he’d be a fool to pass on the Supermax. Like Kahwi – yes he got a championship and yes he got to LA, but got a 3/103M vs 5/219M. I mean that’s just dumb esp living in Cali.

    I like the Heat’s future over the Sixers, simply b/c they have shooters and play defense – same w/the Celtics.

    • Curtisrowe

      Right? I mean, Butler was picked 30th. So a lot of teams missed on him, not just Boston. Herro is a good player. He was drafted before the Celtics got a shot at him. So what?

  6. If the Celts liked Herro that much, then they almost certainly could have traded up for modest consideration (probably less than a future 1st). Plus, they had a 1st they didn’t want to use for cap purposes that they traded away on draft day, among other picks. 2019 was a relatively easy draft to trade up in between 4-2o or so. FO’s float these things a lot. But it’s not news that you likely would have picked a guy taken ahead of your pick had he been there.

  7. Ironmonger835

    Maybe Danny Ainge could’ve used some of those draft picks he’s been hoarding in order to trade up for Herro? Half of those picks been busts anyways.

    • Curtisrowe

      Yeah, Maybe any other team that picked below 13 also could have made a trade to move up for Herro. Or maybe teams that picked before 13 should have picked Herro. What a fun game this is.

  8. case7187

    I think it’s stupid to play the what if game because there’s no way of telling it they would have had the same success in Boston as they did with the teams that drafted them plus Boston is pretty bad at give their rookies playing in the first season other than Tatum and Brown most of the past 5-6 drafts the guys didn’t play that much or at all

  9. x%sure

    I like what-if exercises but the news here is whether “tilting at the windmills” is socially or tactically acceptable. If something was learned from a mistake then it wasn’t so horrible, but IDK if that happened.

    The story is mostly about how the Butler mistake was compounded by the Herro coin flip. Why was Butler not chosen? Was the standard used for that then later good for pointing to Tatum or Smart?

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