Morning sports update: What experts thought of the Celtics’ decision to draft Aaron Nesmith

"His shooting numbers are just absurd."

Aaron Nesmith
Vanderbilt forward Aaron Nesmith (24) celebrates after a basket against Auburn. Julie Bennett/AP Photo

The NBA held the 2020 draft on Wednesday night, months after the event normally occurs due to the delays in the season caused by COVID-19.

The Celtics selected Aaron Nesmith 14th, Payton Pritchard 26th, and Yam Madar 47th (in the second round). Boston traded the 30th pick to Memphis.

Here’s a look at the entire first round:

Elsewhere, the Revolution continue to prepare for their postseason Eastern Conference Play-In matchup with the Montreal Impact on Friday at 6:30 p.m., and the Patriots ready themselves to face the Texans on Sunday at 1 p.m.

What experts are saying about Aaron Nesmith: Boston’s selection of Nesmith with the 14th pick was met with general approval from NBA draft analysts.


If there’s one standout attribute about the 6’6″ wing, it’s his shooting ability.

“Best shooter in the draft,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said following the pick. “He averaged 23 points a game last year before he was injured. And there’s nobody better [at] catch-and-shoot in this draft, nobody better shooting off of screens. Shooting off of screens, he’s got almost 1.4 points per possession in jump shots off of screens. That is ridiculous.

“He’s long-armed, you can see his improvement from last year to this year,” Bilas added. “And remember, he missed a bunch of games last year because of that foot injury that he had. But his shooting numbers are just absurd.”

Bilas did add a note about where he thinks Nesmith can improve.

“I think he can become a much better defender and put the ball on the deck a little bit more, but with that 6’10” wingspan, he can rise up and shoot over anybody,” Bilas concluded.

“He’s a wing known mostly as a shooter-scorer type,” Yahoo draft analyst Keith Smith explained. “That’s something I know the Celtics had targeted coming into this draft. They needed to add more shooting off their bench.”

Giving the Celtics a “B” draft grade, Ringer writer Jonathan Tjarks had the following to say about Boston’s picks, and Nesmith in particular:

The Celtics drafted for fit rather than upside, which makes sense given the current state of their team. Nesmith might be the best shooter in this draft, although his reputation comes almost entirely from his 14 games he played as a sophomore before fracturing his foot. He doesn’t really bring much other than shooting, but that’s all he will need to do on a Celtics team expecting to contend for an NBA Finals appearance. Boston has a bunch of players who can create shots, defend, and make plays. All they need their rookies to do is spot up from 3 and launch open shots. Nesmith is more than ready for that.

One of the more interesting takeaways from the Nesmith pick was its potential implications for current Celtic Gordon Hayward. After extending the deadline for his player option, Boston could still trade Hayward (or see him opt out) according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger.


“This will only fuel more rumors about Gordon Hayward’s exodus,” Hollinger wrote. “Nesmith is the best shooter in the draft and was my highest-rated remaining player. His game fits well next to Boston’s perimeter creators, but only if a spot opens up for him to play. There also were concerns about his broken foot.”

Trivia: Celtics first-round pick Aaron Nesmith was coached at Vanderbilt by former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse. When Stackhouse was in college, he starred at North Carolina with what future NBA star who played for the 2009-2010 Celtics?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: Drafted fourth overall by the Washington Bullets in 1995, he was later traded to Portland, where he became an All-Star.

More from Boston.com:

Danny Ainge on the Celtics’ draft:

Looking at the surprises from the NBA draft:

On this day: In 2005, Brazilian forward Ronaldinho received a standing ovation from rival Real Madrid supporters after shredding the Madrid defense as Barcelona won the star-studded rivalry matchup, 3-0.

In a game that featured legendary players like David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Ronaldo, and an 18-year-old Lionel Messi, it was Ronaldinho who dominated “El Classico” that day.

Already leading 2-0, Barcelona capped it off with a third goal late in the second half as Ronaldinho once again darted inside from the left wing, dribbling by Sergio Ramos before cooly finishing past Iker Casillas. The Madrid fans could only applaud in disbelief.


Daily highlight: Earlier this week, Kazakhstan midfielder Aibol Abiken scored off of the kickoff following an Albania goal. And while Albania won the game 3-1, Abiken clearly produced the game’s most audacious moment.

Trivia answer: Rasheed Wallace

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