What they’re saying about R.J. Hunter and the Celtics

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R.J. Hunter became the first Georgia State player to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft when the Celtics picked him with the 28th pick on Thursday.

Here’s my story on the night.

Here are portions what the rest of the nation had to say about Hunter. Click on the link to read all of what they wrote:

Mass Live:

Why he fits with the Celtics: Boston clearly needed shooting before the draft, and Hunter will bring that immediately. He would have been considered a slight reach at No. 16, but it wouldn’t have been an enormous surprise to see him picked. At No. 28, Hunter is great value, especially given the hole he plugs in Boston’s lineup.

NESN:

Boston sorely lacked scoring from the wing this season — and, really, scorers in general outside of Isaiah Thomas — and the 21-year-old coach’s kid provides that in spades. Hunter averaged 19.7 points per game during his junior season at Georgia State and possesses devastating range, which he showed off on college hoops’ biggest stage this March.

“I know him well,” Stevens said after the selection was announced. “I’ve watched him grow up, watched him get a lot better as a player, improve greatly from the time he was a freshman, sophomore in high school to the time he was a senior. And then obviously followed his success from afar at Georgia State.

“So, I’ve known him for a long time. … I think he’s got a big upside. Really shoots the ball. You guys have seen all the stuff on him.” Hunter now joins an extremely crowded Boston backcourt, where he’ll compete with a whole host of fellow guards/wings for playing time. Fierce competition is sure to ensue when the team assembles for the first time next week, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has liked what he has seen from Hunter thus far.

Boston Globe:

Ainge acknowledged that it was unlikely that the Celtics would have all four new players on their roster next season. He suggested the possibility of at least one pick playing overseas next year, which would not cost the Celtics a roster spot.

The additions of Rozier and Hunter — who receive guaranteed contracts as first-round picks — make a crowded young backcourt even more congested. The team returns starting guards Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, and arguably its best player — Isaiah Thomas — comes off the bench.

“Obviously we have a lot of guards, and we’ll figure it out,” Ainge said. “I like them all. We may have to make some tough choices, but we really like all the guys.”

Ainge has said the Celtics would draft the best available player before they considered need, mostly because rosters are so fluid. And Stevens said he believes the members of this deep backcourt can coexist.

“You hope they can complement each other in a kind of positionless way,” Stevens said. “But at the same time, there’s certainly going to be a lot of competition. There’s no question about that.”

Sports Illustrated:

Intriguing pick for Boston, which continues to add guards to an overcrowded backcourt. Hunter is a shooter. His shooting percentage last season at Georgia State (29.8%) is not a barometer of his true potential. At Georgia State, Hunter regularly saw two or three defenders; in the NBA, he won’t. Boston could also look to package Hunter, who had a lot of fans among teams picking in the 10-20 range. Interesting night for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

ESPN

Maybe Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge set the expectations a bit too high in the days before the draft by publicly stressing a desire to move up. An out-of-control rumor mill didn’t help matters, either. The Celtics tried hard to shuffle up, particularly with Justise Winslow still on the board at No. 9, but simply couldn’t vault. There’s a belief that they reached a bit at No. 16 to get Rozier and he’ll have to prove the pundits wrong on the court. Hunter and Mickey could help fill Boston’s most glaring needs, but the Celtics have work to do in free agency to add the surefire impact talent they didn’t get on draft night. Thumbs Down

CBS Sports

Harper: LOSERS — barely. Danny Ainge nearly made up for this first round by getting R.J. Hunter at No. 28, but that had more to do with the rest of the league passing on him and the Boston Celtics benefiting. Where they screwed up is reaching for Terry Rozier at No. 16, when they probably could’ve just grabbed him with their late first-round pick or one of their second-round picks. They didn’t maximize the value of their picks, and Ainge’s shaky draft history since the Big Three era continues to rear its questionable head. Celtics fans feel good about getting Hunter, but the Rozier pick makes little sense with Marcus Smart in tow. It looks like they didn’t have a backup plan if they couldn’t move up in a trade.

Moore: LOSERS. Yes, they could have taken R.J. Hunter and then Rozier and it would have been better. But there were also better options for them to pursue at that spot, and a trade would have been even better. The Celtics couldn’t pull off a move that puts them forward, and they took a humongous reach on a low-upside pick. Not great, Bob… er, Danny.


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