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Celtics roster review: Demetrius Jackson - too many point guards!

Demetrius Jackson struggled to find minutes on a Boston Roster over-stacked at the guard position but could a trade package this offseason give the young guard the opportunity he needs?

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics have too many point guards. What’s more most of their guards are good enough that they would almost certainly start on about half the teams in the NBA. Plus with Markelle Fultz the consensus #1 Draft pick and Boston holding the top spot in the draft the Celtics will likely be adding another highly capable point guard this summer.

Demetrius Jackson came to a team that was already over-stuffed at the point guard position and next year D-Jax looks to fall further behind in Boston’s depth chart. Boston already has an undersized point guard as their main offensive weapon in Isaiah Thomas, meanwhile Marcus Smart might be billed as a ‘combo-guard’ but he would likely be a starting point guard on several other teams in the league, and Terry Rozier effectively acts as the backup point guard but he has already shown he could handle even more responsibility if given more time on the court to develop. Plus with Fultz likely already en route to Boston there’ll be yet another talented guard vying for playing time.

Demetrius Jackson played a total of 17 minutes during his rookie season with the Boston Celtics scoring 10 points for the year in what was mostly garbage time. He showed some spark while on the floor but on this team he was always going to struggle to find minutes.

NBA: Preseason-Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Jackson during one of his few on-court appearances in the Celtics win against the Knicks
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

D-Jax also spent quite a bit of time on the court with the Celtics D-League (Now the G-League) affiliate the Maine Red Claws, playing in 32 games and starting in 23. Here the 45th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was able to show a little bit more of what he could do as he averaged 14.8 points per game for the season. Yet even in the developmental league Jackson struggled to score efficiently averaging a fairly ineffective three-point shooting percentage of 27.5% and a pretty poor 42% from the floor.

Some of Jackson’s issues finding a consistent shooting stroke could have been to do with moving back and forth from warming the Celtics’ bench to starting for the Red Claws. But realistically his numbers didn’t do the young guard any favours in pushing for playing time.

Maybe on another team, in another world, in another life, Demetrius Jackson could have found some playing time and proven himself. Maybe if given consistent minutes he could turn out to be a starting level point guard in the NBA. Maybe he could shock everyone and become the next Isaiah Thomas, battling his way from the second round of the draft through years of being underestimated to eventually receive All-Star acclaim. All of this, however unlikely, is possible as D-Jax is still very young.

Yet for now he remains the 5th or 6th best guard on a team that still has draft picks to choose and free agents to sign. James Young’s inevitable exodus from Boston this offseason will leave a guard spot open but really if D-Jax couldn’t find minutes in front of Young this past season then he’s going to struggle to receive playing time even when Young does finally leave Boston.

Probably the best case scenario for Jackson, and possibly for Boston, is if the Celtics cobble together some kind of trade package that either frees up roster space by trading away a few guards or if the Celtics orchestrate a trade including Jackson so he can move on to another team which might be able to use his talents.

The good news for Jackson, and for Boston, is that point guards are at a premium in today’s NBA, which hints at the fact that Boston’s current glut of guards is likely more by design than happenstance. There are multiple teams who are still searching for a guard to act as a floor general and the Celtics have several options to offer up this offseason, including Jackson.

So who knows, maybe a few years from now Demetrius Jackson could develop into a player capable of helping co-ordinate the offense of an NBA team, and if he’s traded or cut then he’ll serve as one of those great Celtics ‘could-have-been’ stories. But for now he is a guard on a team that already has too many guards.

Numbers and stats from basketball-reference.com

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