Don’t expect Nader or Ojeleye to crack rotation

It seems like the Boston Celtics 15-man roster is fully rounded out at this point.

A lot of people are excited for 2016 second round pick Abdel Nader and recent second round pick Semi Ojeleye, both of whom have signed guaranteed deals for this upcoming campaign. And why not? Both players have tons of talent.

Nader was the 2017 NBA D-League Rookie of the Year after the Celtics stashed him with the Maine Red Claws and Ojeleye was the 2017 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, which put him in the first round on a number of mock drafts. The issue is you might not see either guy play much at all because this roster is just too deep.

Danny Ainge has consistently put out competitive rosters since the blockbuster trades for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett back in 2007, which has made Boston a very unfavorable place for second round picks to land.

NOTE: The following list is of players who were on the Celtics roster during the first game of the regular season.

Gabe Pruitt (2007, 32nd overall)
Pruitt was a First Team All-Pacific 12 player at USC his sophomore year and that was only good enough to make him an early second round pick as the Celtics scooped him up with the second pick of that round. The 6’4″ point guard got stuck behind Rajon Rondo and Eddie House, appearing in only 15 games as a rookie. Things got even harder for him once Sam Cassell was signed to bolster guard depth and he didn’t play in a single game from the day that signing happened until the final three games of the regular season when many of the older guys were resting. He played in 47 games the next season but was then waived by the Celtics, he never played in the NBA again.

Glen Davis (2007, 35th overall)
Davis will be one of the more successful on this list, and even he was nothing more than a regular season rotation plug at first. “Big Baby” appeared in 69 games as a rookie but he was crunched out of the rotation once the playoffs rolled around and he received playing time in just one NBA Finals game that season, garbage time in the 131-92 series clinching victory in game six. He couldn’t even get on the floor in game five when Kendrick Perkins was scratched due to an ankle injury. Leon Powe started in his place and Doc Rivers didn’t look Davis’ way once. He did start in place of Kevin Garnett during the next postseason, but people forget that Powe was injured too and probably would have had that starting position. You have to give him credit though because he does a far better job in terms of sticking around compared to the rest of this list and was a member of the rotation during the 2010 Finals run.

Bill Walker (2008, 47th overall)
He played in 29 games as a rookie and only eight games the next season before getting traded to the New York Knicks along with Eddie House for Nate Robinson. Walker bounced around a bit and was in the league as late as 2015, but the only times he ever got solid minutes was when he was part of a bad team.

Lester Husdon (2009, 58th overall)
Boston would wind up waiving Hudson in January after he appeared in just 16 games. The Memphis Grizzlies picked him up later that month but his role didn’t increase much there either. Hudson wound up playing in parts of four NBA seasons with five teams – including two stints with the Grizzlies – but he also only has 57 appearances in his career as he seemed to be the go-to guy for a ten day contract for a little while.

Semih Erden (2008, 60th overall)
The Celtics stashed 2008’s “Mr. Irreverent” but he made the roster to start the 2010-11 season at the age of 24 and it seemed like a great pickup at first. Erden appeared in 37 games during the first half of his rookie season with the Celtics and even started seven games with various injuries to Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal. The seven foot Turkish native had a solid role on a team that was leading the Eastern Conference at the deadline, but with everybody (seemingly) healthy Ainge traded him and Luke Harangrody to the Cleveland Cavaliers for just a second round pick to open up roster spots for any potential waiver wire players. He played in just 32 games over a season and a half with the Cavaliers and then continued his professional career in Europe.

Luke Harangody (2010, 52nd overall)
You already read his fate above. Harangody was a power forward who had a much smaller role than fellow rookie Erden that season and was shipped off to help free up spots on the roster to pick up waiver wire guys. He also would spend the season after that in Cleveland before seeing his NBA career come to an end, although he has been very successful in Europe and last season he was sharing a crowded frontcourt with current Celtics big man Ante Zizic, former Celtics first round pick JaJuan Johnson and…Semih Erden of all people!

E’Twaun Moore (2011, 55th overall)
Moore appeared in 38 games as a rookie with the Celtics, although it was the lockout shortened season so it’s based on 66 possible games instead of 82. Boston moved him in the sign-and-trade for Courtney Lee that next summer and he’s actually been a regular rotation player in the league ever since. Ainge finding this guy with the 55th overall pick was a steal compared to who you normally get, he just couldn’t get playing time on a deep Celtics roster. Moore has averaged 7.0 PPG over 342 games with three different teams in the five seasons since getting traded. He averaged a career high 9.6 PPG with the New Orleans Pelicans last season.

Greg Stiemsma (Undrafted)
He was a 26-year old rookie due to a five year college career and playing a year overseas before getting picked up by the Celtics, and you normally get absolutely nothing out of those kinds of players so it was nice to see him battle through various injuries to appear in 55 games during that lockout shortened season while even making three starts. Stiemsma had a really bad case of plantar fasciitis by the time the playoffs rolled around and the second he stopped playing, his foot would just lock up and you couldn’t put him back in the game after that. It was kind of weird to watch. Boston tried to bring him back after that first year but they wound up not being able to afford him. Ainge had only locked him up on a one year, minimum deal and there were teams lining up to give him a hefty pay raise that the Celtics just couldn’t match in their cap situation. He wound up with the Minnesota Timberwolves and played three more seasons in the NBA.

Kris Joseph (2012, 51st overall)
The Celtics waived Joseph in January after he made just six appearances with the team. He was signed by the Brooklyn Nets towards the very end of the regular season that year and was later included in the blockbuster Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade a few months later. He was immediately waived by Boston after the deal was completed and hasn’t played in the NBA since.

Phil Pressey (Undrafted)
A lot of fans were seemingly tricked into liking Pressey during a rookie year in which he made 75 appearances, but injuries and just being part of a bad team that went 25-57 were huge factors in the minutes he got. He shot an embarrassing 30.8% from the floor as a late season “serge” helped him ensure that he wouldn’t join a very shot list of players who took over 200 field goal attempts during a season and wound up shooting below 30%. The arrival of Marcus Smart one year later cut heavily into his playing time and Boston waived him after playing just two seasons. He played just 23 games split between the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns the next season but wasn’t able to catch on with any NBA teams this past season.

Vitor Faverani (Undrafted)
This was a weird signing that nobody understood because Ainge had signed a guy to a contract worth $2.5 million annually after he had gone undrafted. The Brazilian center would wind up dominating the postseason and he earned a spot in the starting lineup to open the season. But he began to struggle a bit as the season went on – falling out of the starting five – and his rookie campaign was eventually cut short due to a torn meniscus in his knee. Rehab was tough on Faverani. He and Gerald Wallace had the same exact surgery within a week of each other but Wallace was ready to be a full participant once training camp opened in the next fall while Faverani had suffered a number of setbacks. Faverani never got on the floor that next season and was waived to create a roster spot after the Celtics took on three bodies in the Rajon Rondo trade.

Dwight Powell (2014, 45th overall)
Powell is another example of a guy like Moore who could clearly play at the NBA level, but a deep roster made it impossible for him to get minutes in Boston. Ainge never actually drafted Powell, but instead got him months after the draft when the Cleveland Cavaliers were looking to shed salary and traded him along with Malcom Thomas, Erik Murphy and a second round pick for Keith Bogans, who didn’t have any guaranteed money left on his contract and could be waived free of charge. Thomas and Murphy were waived almost right away, but Powell stuck around and didn’t play much at all with a logjammed frontcourt that included Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass all ahead of him. He was thrown into the Rajon Rondo trade for salary cap reasons and has become a solid bench big for the Dallas Mavericks these past two and a half seasons.

Jordan Mickey (2015, 33rd overall)
The hype train surrounding Mickey was creating some serious steam but he ran into a lot of the same issues that Powell did. Fans were excited to land the kid who had just led the nation in blocks at LSU, but Zeller, Olynyk, Sullinger and newcomer Amir Johnson all ensured that his playing time would be very limited. Mickey made just 41 appearances over two seasons with the Celtics and was recently waived with no more guaranteed money left on his contract. It’s possible that he could wind up like Powell and become a serviceable big man somewhere else, but Boston was just too deep to ever give him a real shot.

Demetrius Jackson (2016, 45th overall)
Boston turned Jackson into the highest paid second round pick of all time after he fell to the Celtics despite being a first round pick on many mock drafts, but he was waived after just one season with the team in which he appeared in only five games. There was just no room for him to get any playing times. The Celtics had three guards – Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas – all averaging over 30 minutes of playing time and Terry Rozier was ahead of him as well. It will be interesting to see what happens with Jackson going forward.


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