There seems to be some consternation over the value that the Celtics were able to get out of their 52nd pick in this year's draft. I find it fairly laughable that people are debating over if Luke Harangody was a good enough value with that pick. He very well may not be and he may not even make the team next year but keep in mind that there were only eight other players drafted after him last night, so any value squeezed from this guy is gravy.
The second round is a very funny thing when it comes to projecting NBA talent. 90% (rough guesstimate) of the guys picked in the second round never make an impact in the NBA. However, there have been some guys that have gone on to have all-star careers. Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas and Dennis Rodman were all second round guys.
Many of the guys that do make it fall into a couple different categories. 1) Low risk - Low reward guys - These are the guys that played three or four years in college and were solid but they don't have freakish athleticism and aren't oozing with potential. They pretty much are what they are at this point and there won’t be much upside. 2) Unknown international players and undeveloped early entry players - These guys aren't the big named players with huge upside that often get taken way too early. These guys are most likely going to be stashed on a roster or overseas with hopes of future development like Rashard Lewis and Manu Ginobili were. 3) Undersized big men or players overcoming an injury - Dujuan Blair fits neatly both sides of this category. The second round boasts a long line of undersized power forwards that scouts figured were too short to make an impact.
Danny Ainge and the Celtics have created an art form out of plucking contributors out of the second round of the draft. They have gotten solid role players out of the 50th, 49th, 35th and 47th picks over the last couple years. Why isn’t it possible that they could get a contributor out of the 52nd pick?
Here is a little exercise to test your virtual scouting and drafting skills. I will give you some stats and a brief scouting report of two players that would be readily available in the middle of the second round and you tell me which player you would draft.
Player 1 is a 6’7” forward that mostly played the PF position for four years at a Big East school. He was regarded by most as one of the (if not the) top performer in the conference. His draft stock has plummeted into the second round because he is too slow to guard small forwards and too small to guard power forwards. He isn’t an explosive athlete and there isn’t much upside with this guy. He has a solid back to the basket game but may not be able to exploit it in the NBA. He has a reliable midrange shot but will have to improve it even more, as he won’t be able to physically dominate players like he did in college.
4-year college stats
Year PPG RPG APG FG%
Year 1 13.8 7.8 1.5 .559%
Year 2 18.4 9.7 2.4 .537%
Year 3 18.9 9.4 2.6 .507%
Year 4 21.6 8.2 2.5 .496%
Would you want this guy on the Celtics? He’s not Luke Harangody. He is another guy that was projected to not be able to get his shot off in the NBA. He was also going to have to adjust because he wasn’t going to be able to dominate like he did against smaller players in the Big East. He is Ryan Gomes. Gomes, a guy that guys around Celtics Blog often pine over, found his place in the NBA and performed very admirably for the Celtics for two years. He, like Harangody, was a very decorated Big East performer but that didn’t stop his draft stock from sliding him down to the 50th pick.
Harangody was picked at 52 and had, arguably, as good or a better college career than Gomes. You’ll hear all of the same knocks on Harangody that you heard about Gomes. Too slow. Not athletic enough. Not big enough. No upside. Won’t be able to create his own shot. Can’t play NBA defense. Those things may all be true but, like Gomes, Harangody is a winner and he loves the game of basketball. You could see it during his time at Notre Dame. You may just buy into the criticisms a bit more with Harangody because he is a goofy looking white guy. Let’s let him prove to us otherwise before we write him off.
Just for fun, here are Harangody’s college stats. Compare them to Gomes and then tell me if you think that he was a waste of a late second round pick.
4-year college stats
Year PPG RPG APG FG%
Year 1 11.2 6.2 1.2 .459%
Year 2 20.4 10.6 1.7 .500%
Year 3 23.3 11.8 2.1 .459%
Year 4 21.8 9.1 1.6 .481%
If you are looking for any further reasons to believe in Luke Harangody, take a minute to look at Leon Powe’s college stats. Maybe Harangody has a chance of turning into a productive role player for the Celtics in the next couple years.
Keep the Faith,