Which player Celtics asst. GM compared Baylor Scheierman to


“We’re excited about Baylor. He’s tough. He’s played at a high level, five years of college, he’s 23. He’s a grown man. He can play.”

Baylor Scheierman was selected by the Celtics in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

When the Celtics selected Baylor Scheierman with the final pick of the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft, many compared the Creighton product to Sam Hauser due to their 3-point shooting ability.

Celtics assistant general manager Austin Ainge had another comparison in mind though for Scheierman, as he remarked about the first-round pick’s “crazy” stats as a high school quarterback.

“Some people have asked me about comps. He’s bigger and a little different, but Luke Kennard was also a high school quarterback and plays kind of similarly,” Ainge told NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg on the “Celtics Talk” podcast. “So, that’s something fans at home can think about.

“But we’re excited about Baylor. He’s tough. He’s played at a high level, five years of college, he’s 23. He’s a grown man. He can play.”

Similar to Scheierman, Kennard has also been known for his top-tier 3-point shooting. He shot 43.8 percent from deep and averaged 19.5 points per game in his final season at Duke, helping him become the 12th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Pistons.

Kennard has continued to shoot at a high level from deep in the pros. He’s a career 43.9 percent 3-point shooter and made 45 percent of his 3-pointers last year with the Grizzlies, scoring 11 points per game.

But an overlooked aspect of Kennard’s game is his ability to facilitate and pass. He averaged 3.5 assists per game this past season, which is a decent number for a shooting guard who played just 25.6 minutes per game.

Scheierman’s passing seems to be similarly overlooked in the initial reactions to his selection. The wing averaged 4.5 assists per game during his final season at South Dakota State in 2021-22 and had 3.9 assists per game at Creighton this past season, which are better assist numbers than what Kennard ever had at Duke.

As Scheierman averaged 18.5 points per game and shot 38.1 percent from deep at Creighton this past season, it was his time at South Dakota State that put him on Ainge and the Celtics’ radar.

“His sophomore year at South Dakota State, he started to get on some radars,” Ainge said. “Just his size, really his feel. The passing is really unique. His shooting has gotten better, better, and better every single year. Now, he’s a flamethrower … he can shoot it. I’m not worried about him meeting those expectations.”

While many are in awe of Scheierman’s shooting ability, Brad Stevens said that one of the things that impressed him the most about the Celtics’ new wing was the transformation he made to his body (6-foot-6, 201 pounds) when he arrived at Creighton in 2022.

“He’s done a good job with his body. He has done a good job in the weight room,” the Celtics president of basketball operations told reporters Thursday. “He’s always been super skilled, super smart, and super tough. Like, he’s a basketball player now. He knows how to play.

“And so I think that getting his body to the level it’s been in the last couple years and the way that that’s translated to his performances in the Big East is not a surprise because he’s just got a lot of good things going for him.”

Ainge also believes Scheierman’s body maturing was just part of the reason for his all-around improvement.

“Everything got better,” Ainge said. “It wasn’t any one particular skill – it all just kinda improved year by year by year, which is something we look at. If you plateau in college, that’s not a great sign. But he’s gone up and up.”

In addition to Scheierman, the Celtics also added Gonzaga forward Anton Watson, who was also a five-year player in college. Stevens called both “winning players” as each played for programs that either won their conference or made the NCAA Tournament each season.

As for Watson’s draft comp, the most notable one he received was an elder version of Al Horford by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. Ainge can see it, calling Watson’s passing ability as a 6-8 forward “unique” for his size and that he can defend every position. But he doesn’t want to go that far with the comparison for Watson.

“I don’t want to put Al Horford expectations on him,” Ainge said. “There’s a lot of these hybrid forwards that can play bigger, play smaller, play the perimeter, or play inside. His versatility – I would say he’s an improving shooter, he shot 40 percent from 3 this year, but on limited attempts.

“We’re going to need to ramp that up. We need to see him let it fly. But he’s been working on it and we believe in it.”

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *