BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics continued to amass more young talent via the NBA draft as they look to fortify a roster facing uncertainly with free agency looming.
The Celtics began Thursday night holding the 14th, 20th, 22nd and 51st picks.
After taking former Indiana guard Romeo Langford at No. 14, Boston selected former Washington guard Mattise Thybulle with the 20th pick, whose rights it planned to send to Philadelphia.
Boston used its 22nd pick to take former Tennessee All-American and two-time Southeastern Conference player of the year Grant Williams.
“I was just really filled with joy,” Langford said of his selection. “Waiting there a lot of emotions going through my head, going through my body. When my name was called by Boston, I was super-excited.”
In his lone season at Indiana, the 6-foot-6 Langford played through a thumb injury and led the Big Ten and finished sixth nationally in freshman scoring, averaging 16.5 points.
Langford had surgery on his thumb this spring and said he was just recently cleared to begin shooting again. He is the third wing player Boston has selected in the first round in the last four drafts.
Langford said he hasn’t had a chance to watch many NBA games recently because he didn’t have cable in college.
But Celtics coach Brad Stevens called him “a guy that we think has a lot of things that can translate to the NBA.”
Stevens said Williams, who averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds as a junior, plays with a point guard’s mind.
“You can run offense through him,” Stevens said. “He thinks the game. He’s a tough, tough guy, and he’s a versatile player who can shoot the ball.”
It was an intriguing night for Boston as it trudges into the start of free agency on June 30 knowing that pursing All-Star center Anthony Davis is no longer a possibility after the Pelicans agreed to trade him to the Lakers. The Celtics also could potentially lose two All-Stars this summer with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford having elected to out of their player options for next season.
Despite the potential roster shake-up, Stevens said there is a lot of optimism about the future.
“We’ll have some uncertainty as we move forward, but we’re in pretty good shape,” he said. “We feel good about our foundation and want to learn from certainly the disappointment we all shared but we’re optimistic about the future. That’s been the vibe in the whole building.”
The Celtics have been one of the most talked about teams in the NBA for the past two years since acquiring Irving and Hayward
But after injuries to both disrupted their first season together in 2017-18, infighting and inconsistency resulted in a woefully disappointing finish this past season.
The preseason favorite in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics finished the regular season 49-33. They were eliminated 4-1 in the conference semifinals by the Milwaukee Bucks.
In recent days both Irving and Horford informed the Celtics of their intentions to seek deals with new teams.
That combined with Boston’s potential pursuit of Davis recently thwarted has suddenly left the Celtics facing lots of questions this offseason.
Boston still has a solid core of talented young players, led by Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But they could lose another young asset this summer in Irving’s backup Terry Rozier, who is a restricted free agent.
- Celtics draft Indiana guard Romeo Langford with No. 14 pick
- Romeo Langford named Indiana Mr. Basketball, Phinisee third place
- Romeo Langford staying home to play for Hoosiers
- Robert Phinisee 'excited' to play with Romeo Langford at IU
- Romeo Langford has high praise for Robert Phinisee
- Romeo Langford shines in debut, scores 19 in Hoosier romp
- Irving, Horford lead Celtics to 108-98 win at Indiana
- Langford leads Indiana to 64-62 win over Penn State
- Langford scores 28, No. 21 Indiana defeats Illinois 73-65
- New Indiana Guard leader picked after predecessor forced out