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On the morning of the NBA Draft, we take a look at one last prospect the Celtics should consider with their second pick, number 17 overall. Also check out our profiles of point guard Kyle Anderson, center Jusuf Nurkić, small forward T. J. Warren and shooting guard James Young.
Name: P. J. Hairston
Team: Texas Legends (D-League)
Position: Shooting guard
Stats: 6’6″, 230 lbs.
Hairston had a breakout year in 2012-13, his sophomore season at North Carolina, averaging 14.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Tar Heels. Prior to his junior year, however, Hairston was suspended from the team for accepting improper benefits. When the suspension became definitive in January, Hairston chose to join the D-League, and signed with the Texas Legends, where he became an outstanding scorer in his 26 games, finishing the season with 21.8 ppg on 45.3% field goal shooting.
Now eligible for the NBA Draft, Hairston is likely to become the first former D-Leaguer taken in the first round.
The concern over Hairston’s off-court issues in college and the uncertainty over how his D-League numbers will translate to the NBA mean that he’ll likely be drafted lower than his talent alone would warrant. Hairston has shown the ability to be a prolific scorer as well as a decent defender (1.5 steals per game for the Legends last season), and at 6’6″ has great size for a shooting guard.
Moreover, the Celtics are thin at SG, with unrestricted free agent Jerryd Bayless certainly gone and the future of restricted Avery Bradley as yet undetermined. By all accounts, Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens would like to keep Bradley in green, but a backup plan may be in order if that should prove impossible. Hairston is not in the same mold as Bradley, but with Bayless out of the mix, the Celtics don’t really have any score-first backcourt players on the roster, and Hairston’s ability to play inside and out could translate to success at the major league level.