Boston Celtics draft: Jordan Walsh, Arkansas
There are rumors that the Boston Celtics are interested in selecting UConn swingman Andre Jackson Jr. This doesn’t make sense, especially if Arkansas’ Jordan Walsh is still on the board.
Jackson Jr. is a great athlete, an excellent defender and sees the court very well on offense. But his jumper is broken. It’s an ugly shot that he connected on just .281 of his 3-point attempts. Jackson Jr. can’t be a 3-and-D role player with an unreliable shot.
The Celtics would be better off taking their chances with Walsh. Walsh and Jackson Jr. are similar when it comes to athleticism, defense and inaccuracy from distance (.278). The difference is Walsh’s release looks clean. There’s better potential to develop that form into an effective shot.
The other huge difference between Walsh and Jackson Jr. is Walsh is a freshman while Jackson Jr. just finished his third year. Walsh’s jumper needs to be polished. Jackson Jr. requires a complete overhaul, and time isn’t on his side.
As a prospect, Walsh’s long, lean build enables him to defend up to four positions. He smothers ball handlers on the perimeter, and is tough to get around due to his lateral quickness and near 7-2 wingspan.
And while his shot is a work in progress, Walsh will be an excellent finisher in transition. He can get ahead on fast breaks and be a lob target in the half court.
To get the most out of Walsh will take time, though. He needs to get stronger to play against grown men. Though his defense is ready right out of the box, Walsh will require incubation time in the G League to put on weight and burnish his 3-point shooting.
But in a year or two Walsh should develop into a fierce 3-and-D player. He would be worth the wait.