When we entered the 2020 SB Nation Mock Draft, we knew there were rules we’d have to play by. The ‘no trading picks’ directive limited options the Boston Celtics might consider to consolidate our three selections (14th, 26th and 30th). Our goal was to find one guy who was best player available, one international prospect to prevent the roster size from growing and one floor-spacer who can play right away.
At 14th, the Celtics took Obi Toppin in a draft day heist even Kevin Costner couldn’t pull off. Taking a top-five guy in this class by most mainstream outlets addressed our need for immediate impact and a stretch-5.
Had Toppin not slid, a name we would have considered 14th was Tyrell Terry from Stanford. His fall down to 26th excites us to no end, and we picked him up without hesitation. When all is said and done, Terry could be the best shooter in this draft class and has a Curry-esque shooting stroke, range and gravity.
Terry just turned 20 in September and played one season at Stanford before declaring for the draft, a feat that was not predicted for him when he first arrived in Palo Alto. As a freshman, he averaged 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting over 40 percent from 3 on 4.9 attempts per night.
The main knocks on Terry heading into the draft process was his size and strength; he was a meager 6’1” with a thin frame, and scouts worried about how he’d handle the bumps and bruises of the NBA. Since quarantine period began, Terry has grown to 6’3” and added 20 pounds of muscle.
Understanding Terry is to understand the context of how he assimilates to whichever system he joins. Playing AAU with D1 Minnesota, he was a pass-first point guard with an insanely talented squad. On the circuit, he flashed great facilitation instincts and the unselfishness many teams look for out of a lead guard. When he arrived at Stanford, the Cardinal deployed their equal-opportunity ball screen offense, limiting the amount of volume Terry would handle as the primary playmaker.
Strangely, those who only watched him in college saw him as a shooting-first, deep-ranged maestro with limited passing and creating ability. Those who watched him play AAU might be surprised by just how consistent and lethal he can be from deep. Combine the two and you end up with a lottery pick, one of the most promising young guards in this class.
As far as Terry’s fit in Boston goes, he’d be an extraordinary accomplice to Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. He’ll likely require the same defensive blanketing that Kemba Walker does, with pre-switches and great awareness to protect him from being hunted for mismatches. But the dynamic he can add to the offense, with quick shooting off screens and deep range to pull off the bounce, is tremendous.
The bar will be low for Terry as a rookie. He can continue to change his body and ease his way into NBA action. Tatum’s offensive creation will allow him to be more of an off-ball player immediately, and he can fill the Brad Wanamaker minutes without much hassle. A few years down the line, when Kemba is ready to see his load lessen, Terry will be ready to take the baton and slide into the starting spot.
As far as improvement goes, Terry’s strength and weight gains do a ton to quickly assuage fears about most of them. As Kevin O’Connor noted in The Ringer, Terry is throwing down windmill dunks and getting off the ground with ease. The added burst, vertical pop and strength should help him with his point of attack defense, as well as with his finishing at the rim.
With time, Terry could end up being one of the best prospects in this class. He was, on my overall big board, inside the top ten. Many pundits believe he’s knocking on the door of the lottery right now. To get him at 26 is a coup.