Friday, June 28, 2024

Celtics select Gonzaga's Anton Watson at No. 54 overall pick in NBA Draft

The Celtics selected forward Anton Watson out of Gonzaga with the No. 54 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft Thursday night.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward averaged 14.5 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Bulldogs last season, while shooting 57.8% from the field -- which was third in the West Cost Conference.

Watson leaves Gonzaga second all-time on the steals list, trailing only John Stockton and was selected First-Team All-WCC this past season.
"I really like him," Brad Stevens said during his post-draft presser Friday. "I think we didn't talk as much about him specifically, we talked more about (first-round pick) Baylor (Scheierman), but Anton's strength and his ability to move his feet laterally give him a chance to be one of those big, strong, hybrid forwards that can switch and guard a lot of people."
With Kristaps Porzingis out 5-6 months as he recovers from ankle surgery, it's still unknown if Watson, who shot 41.2% from 3-point range last season, will have a shot to crack coach Joe Mazulla's rotation. Still, Stevens wants Watson to increase his 1.5 attempts from long distance as part of his development.
"I want him to come in here with the mindset that he's going to let it fly like he's never let it fly before," Stevens said. "Because I think he's a better shooter than he sometimes thinks he is, and so I'm looking forward to getting him in here."
While Watson and the C's No. 30 overall pick Baylor Scheierman are both 23-years-old, Stevens was asked if he they were specifically selected due to having more experience and being able to contribute right away on a championship roster.
"I think you're looking at what's available when you draft. We all thought really highly of Baylor and we're excited that he dropped to No. 30, and then in the second round, similar thing with Anton. I think that those guys both are winning players. They've played in a lot of big moments, in a lot of big games, and big environments."
Stevens also added that even though their lone draft choice a year ago in Jordan Walsh at 19-years of age, it's a good thing to have a mixture of prospects that are younger and older.
"First of all, I think guys are playing longer. 23 and 24 are still young in the big picture of things," Stevens said. "I think that both of those guys have shown growth throughout their careers so you would anticipate they would continue to grow … So, we have some young guys that we think really highly of and I do think that it’s good to have a balance of that."
Watson will have turned 24-years-old by the time Celtics start their training camp in October.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Associated Press

No comments:

Post a Comment