After taking Marcus Smart earlier in the night with the sixth overall pick, the Boston Celtics have drafted Kentucky forward James Young. While they hit it out of the park taking Smart, they missed a major opportunity by drafting Young over Gary Harris.
Danny Ainge and the rest of the Celtics front office more than likely hope to pair up Young with Smart, and on the surface, it makes some sense. Smart is a tenacious, tough, pass-first guard, while Young is a scorer who can shoot from almost anywhere on the floor. That pairing is the textbook recipe for success in the NBA, but Boston should have gone in another direction.
Harris was a stand-out with the Michigan State Spartans and can be an asset on both sides of the floor. He would pair well with Smart too, as an elite slashing inside scorer who would benefit from the floor vision that smart brings. While he’s not as good of a mid and long range shooter as Young, he is effective from the mid-range, and shares Smart’s competitive spirit. The two could have paired up to be the core of one of a tough, hard-nosed offensive unit in Boston, where competitiveness and drive reign supreme.
Harris is also a much better defender than Young. While Smart will help Boston on the defensive front plenty, you can never have too much defense, particularly in the Eastern Conference.
Now, this is by no means to say that Young is a bad player or will fail in the NBA. He’s an elite scoreer and if he can figure out how to make three point shots consistently, he should drive in the new-look NBA. He just isn’t the best pick the Celtics could have made in this spot
The Celtics will be a team making plenty of moves, so perhaps Young won’t be in Boston for long, but by drafting Harris, the Celtics would have taken a player they wouldn’t need to worry about moving. This is a missed opportunity and the Celtics may come to regret it.