The Boston Celtics traded last season’s first round pick JaJuan Johnson as the key piece in a trade for Courtney Lee. When the trade went down, I believed Boston was dealing from a position of strength. The team’s first round pick this year rookie Jared Sullinger plays the same position as Johnson and demonstrated that he was ready for a role with this team now during the summer league. Sullinger’s great play meant Johnson was expendable and the need for a shooting guard like Lee mean that the deal was a must for Boston. However, the latest NBA rumors have there being more to this deal than Sullinger’s sparkling play making Johnson expendable. The rumor is Boston dealt Johnson because they were not happy with his development this off season.
This rumor may just be true. Johnson did not impress during the summer league. He showed flashes of being a great shot blocker and showed that sweet stroke from the elbow. The problem was he was consistent with neither of those traits. Johnson also did not look like grew as a rebounder either as he lacked the upper body strength to really bang with the big boys in the paint. I could see why Boston would expect more out of Johnson is these areas in year two and thus were not happy.
I believe there is some truth to this rumor. If Johnson came in and showed more improvement than maybe Boston winds another way to make the Courtney Lee deal happen minus Johnson. The fact that Sullinger clearly out played him did make it a lot easier to deal him. However, despite this minor setback I still believe that JaJuan will be a solid NBA player. He is just too good a shot blocker and has too sweet a jump shot to not figure it out and become a factor. Maybe more playing time in Houston will jump start that development for Johnson. Regardless Johnson is gone and Lee and Sullinger are here to stay and those additions make it great to be a Celtics fan regardless of losing JJJ. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!