The Celtics were one of the many teams to execute a draft-night trade, acquiring Purdue big man JaJuan Johnson and a second-round pick from the New Jersey Nets for the rights to Providence high scorer MarShon Brooks. Johnson, 6-foot-11, 220, was the Big Ten defensive player of the year, averaging 20.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.
Johnson is the athletic big man the Celtics have sought and is a natural center. He dropped in the draft because of his slight build and lack of true offensive skills. Johnson scored 20 points with 17 rebounds and 7 blocked shots in a 67-47 win over Michigan State on Feb. 27.
“Even though he’s a four-year player, we still like his upside,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He slipped to us and I think you got to put him on the floor, I can’t tell you if he’s gonna help or not but I think he’ll be an NBA player and a good one. It may take him some time and it may not.”
With the 55th pick, the Celtics selected E’Twaun Moore, Johnson’s senior teammate with Purdue. Moore, 6-foot-4, 191 pounds, averaged 18 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a senior. He was a two-time first-team All Big Ten.