With the 53rd pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics selected Alabama point guard JD Davison. Even though this was the only pick for the Celtics this year, they used it to address a crucial need: a lack of point guard depth.
While Marcus Smart typically started at point for them throughout the season, he is arguably more of a shooting guard than a ball handler. Boston also has young talent at this position with Payton Pritchard and Yam Madar, but the former is a streaky shooter with some defensive gaps in his game while the latter has yet to play any NBA minutes.
So, in comes Davison to bolster this rotation of potential point guards, but did the Celtics get the right guy?
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Boston Celtics 2022 NBA Draft Grades
JD Davison: B
Davison is a standout point guard from Alabama who quickly declared for the NBA Draft following the end of his freshman year. For the Crimson Tide, the 19-year-old averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game despite usually playing less than 30 minutes per outing. These stats were enough to earn him a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Yet, what is truly notable about Davison is his amazing athletic ability. At 6'3″ he is not a towering guard by any means, but he can elevate to the rim with ease and move quickly with the ball.
His explosiveness is really his strongest selling point, and look no further for proof of it with this jaw-dropping poster versus Auburn earlier this year:
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 12, 2022
Additionally, Davison can serve as a playmaker and a passer for the Celtics, however, there are still some significant question marks about his game.
First of all, can he improve his shot? While the former five-star recruit has a decent jumper, he shot 30% from beyond the arc this past season. In such a three-centric league, this cannot continue if Davison expects long-term playing time, as both Smart and Pritchard have higher three-point field goal percentages.
Secondly, will he shoot better from the line? This is not a difficult fix, yet Davison shot a mediocre 72.8% from the charity stripe with Alabama. If he struggles to convert on not only 3-pointers but simple free throws as well, it is tough to imagine him breaking into Boston's rotation.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, can he cut down on turnovers? Even though he had roughly four assists per game, Davison averaged a whopping 2.9 turnovers as well. The Celtics already dealt with turnover issues for most of their 2021-2022 campaign–particularly in the playoffs–so a point guard who nearly coughs the ball up as much as he assists is the last thing Boston needs.
Overall, Davison meets some of the Celtics' needs at point guard and provides them with an athletic player who is difficult to contain. He is also an extremely young prospect who will just be turning 20 by the time the new season begins, so he has lots of time to develop and grow.
In spite of his potential, he has apparent flaws in his game and his fondness for losing possessions does not help Boston's turnover problem. If Davison is able to find a better 3-point shot and balance out his assist to turnover ratio, perhaps he can turn into an A+ draft selection for the Celtics. Currently, though, the 53rd pick is not quite there.