The Boston Celtics thoroughly scouted players throughout the country and ended up acquiring two from the same school on Thursday night.
They chose two senior stars from Purdue _ 6-foot-10 forward JaJuan Johnson and 6-foot-4 guard E’Twaun Moore _ as they continued building toward the day when the Big Three that brought an NBA title in 2008 is gone.
It was merely a “coincidence” that the Celtics took two players from one college, general manager Danny Ainge said. “They were the best guys on the board for us when we drafted.”
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, both 35, are signed for just one more season. Paul Pierce, 33, has three years left on his contract. The only other Celtics signed for next season are guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, and center Jermaine O’Neal. Coach Doc Rivers is signed for five more years.
Johnson, the 6-foot-10 Big Ten player of the year and defensive player of the year, was traded to the Celtics after being drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the 27th pick. The Celtics also obtained the Nets’ second-round pick in 2014 for Providence guard Marshon Brooks, who they drafted with the 25th choice at New Jersey’s request.
Johnson and Moore are skilled on both offense and defense.
`There are guys we refer to as both-end-of-the-court players,” Ainge said. “We think we got two of those guys.”
“They’re very similar,” Rivers said. “He’s not Kevin Garnett, all right. Don’t write it, anybody, all right, but they’re the same body type.
He’ll have an outstanding but demanding mentor in Garnett.
“Kevin’s a great teacher, actually the best teacher that I’ve ever coached by far,” Rivers said. “But if you don’t listen the first time, he’ll never teach you again. That’s just how he works.”
Ainge said on Wednesday that he didn’t expect much help from the draft in the coming season, but was hopeful the players he picked could play some role as rookies. That may still be the case now that the players have been chosen.