Boston Celtics

A story from Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Boston Celtics assistant coach Will Hardy is a leading candidate for the Utah Jazz head coach vacancy. According to Larsen, Hardy is “considered by many league insiders to be a leading candidate” in Utah’s coaching search, via Bleacher Report.

Former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder stepped down after the 2022 season, finishing his tenure 372-64 (.585) in the regular season and 21-30 (.412) in the playoffs.

Danny Ainge, former Celtics president and now Utah CEO, reportedly wants a young assistant coach to take over, and the 34-year-old Hardy fits that mold. Hardy spent over a decade on the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff, five of which were as an assistant coach, before joining Ime Udoka’s staff in Boston last season. Even though both Ainge and Hardy are either current or very recent members of the Celtics organization, their paths didn’t cross in Boston, as current president of basketball of operations Brad Stevens hired Udoka and his staff.

Another Celtics assistant in Joe Mazzulla was also requested by the Jazz to interview for the coaching position. “If someone does [get a head coaching position], we like to elevate within,” Udoka said, via CLNS Media.

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What the experts are saying about Celtics 2022 draft pick JD Davison

  • Jan 25, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard JD Davison (3) dribbles against Georgia Bulldogs guard Aaron Cook (10) during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 25, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard JD Davison (3) dribbles against Georgia Bulldogs guard Aaron Cook (10) during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

    The Celtics had just one pick – 53rd overall – in the 2022 NBA Draft. They used that selection to take Alabama point guard JD Davison on Thursday night.

    Davison brings some serious hype with him to Boston – he was a five-star recruit ranked in the top 20 nationally at this time last year coming out of high school. However, his playing time was relatively limited as a part of a deep Alabama back court. That left the 19-year-old as a relative unknown heading into the draft.

    There’s not much college tape on Davison as there is on some other prospects, but what were NBA Draft experts saying about Davison leading into Thursday? Here’s a look at some of his scouting reports…

  • NBA.com via Synergy Sports

    “Gifted athlete and unselfish passer who stood out at times when he put everything together as a freshman at Alabama but is still early in his development as a floor general…A highly regarded point guard with great speed, quickness, and some real talent as a passer, JD Davison had some impressive moments as a true freshman at Alabama amid some growing pains as faced a steep learning curve in the SEC. Considered one of the top-15 prospects in the high school class of 2021 following his senior year at Calhoun High School (AL) in the small town of Letohatchee, Davison opted to stay close to home and play for Head Coach Nate Oats at Alabama. Filling a key role off the bench for the Crimson Tide, the 19-year old averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.9 turnovers over 25.8 minutes per game to earn a spot on the All-SEC freshman team…Playing mostly on the ball when he was on the floor as a freshman, Davison operated regularly out of ball screens, pushed the ball aggressively in the open floor, and showed the ability to get downhill without a screen. Passing the ball unselfishly with some creativity, he had many positive moments using his explosiveness to create for others and to play above the rim, but also had persistent issues with turnovers, has room to improve as a ball handler, and is still coming into his own as a scorer…Possessing the length and quickness to be a factor defensively, Davison shined at times busting up perimeter actions, rebounding the ball, and defending one-on-one. He remains somewhat unpolished and is still picking up the nuances of the game, but has a strong base of tools to work with…Making an impact in a variety of ways defensively with his length, quickness, and leaping ability, Davison flashed intriguing potential on that end of the floor throughout his freshman year. The improvement of his frame in recent years helped him handle switches pretty effectively at times and helped him compete on the glass and his quickness was a factor pressuring the ball and turning defense into offense…Still learning the nuances of the game, Davison was not immune to lapses getting caught on screens and taking tough angles, but showed the playmaking ability to leave plenty of room for optimism.”

    (Source)

  • Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated

    “Davison is one of the better athletes in the draft and entered this season with first-round hype, but didn’t build the most convincing case at Alabama and makes much more sense as a second-round flier. He’s a quality passer and explosive leaper, but lacks the polish to run a team at this point, and doesn’t threaten enough away from the ball to have a pathway to early minutes. Davison probably needs immediate time in the G League, where he can better learn the nuances of guard play and work on his jumper. NBA teams will simply go underneath ball screens until he proves he can make shots off the dribble, and he has a tendency to float in and out of games.”

    (Source)

  • Timothy Rapp, Bleacher Report

    “Davison put together an impressive highlight reel of athletic plays and passing, but limited shooting range, a weak pull-up game and no signs of self-creation have made it tougher to picture him as a starting point guard. He’ll receive first-round consideration from teams willing to buy his chances of improving his jumper. He projects as the same type of energy bench guard he was for Alabama. Pro Comparison: Eric Bledsoe”

    (Source)

  • Michael Hopp, NBADraft.net

    Strengths: A truly breathtaking athlete, Davison looks like he bounces off a trampoline when he skies to the rim … Smooth in transition, with great body control to pair with his vertical … Flashes a wide array of moves to evade defenders around the rim, and usually makes the right play while going full speed … Also possesses tremendous speed, creating breakaway chances on offense, and allowing him to help slow down transition chances for the opposing team … Only 19 years old, Davison has time to develop further, and become more of a true point guard instead of just a dynamic athlete … Solid passer, and can make some highlight reel passes … Has a smooth and quick release on three-point shots, and takes off-the-dribble threes with ease…Hustles for boards despite his smaller stature (6’3, 195lbs.) … Over 45% of his shots come at the rim, meaning the former five-star recruit understands his best strength is getting to the basket … Unselfish and lightning quick, Davison can be almost impossible from staying in front of, and when defenses rotate, he can pick out the open teammate … Feisty on ball defender, the freshman grabbed a steal per game.

    Weaknesses: Davison needs to develop a reliable outside shot to be a useful offensive weapon … Made just 30% of his threes, 33% of his mid-range jumpers and 72% of his free throws … Decision making still has a long ways to go … Turns the ball over way too much, with 2.9 per game this season, including six in the loss in the NCAA tournament to Notre Dame … Because of his size and lack of consistent shooting, Davison is not fit to play off the ball, or cover anyone but the opposing point guard … The lack of versatility on both ends of the court allows the coaching staff less flexibility when creating game plans … Struggles guarding off the ball, and can have mental lapses … Davison will need to add strength to be physically similar to other guards…Has trouble getting around picks, which can lead to easy layups or over-rotations from the big man … Sometimes gets hunted as the preferred option to score against…Ceiling seems like an attacking force of the bench, and may struggle to score in the half court for a few years.”

    (Source)

  • DraftKings Staff

    “Davison’s athleticism speaks for itself, and the guard showcased it in his lone season at Alabama. Davison averaged 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game during the regular season. He rarely had big games scoring the ball, as that was not his role with the Crimson Tide. Here’s how he projects at the next level.

    Strengths: He’s a highlight play waiting to happen, even if the statistics don’t show it. Davison has tremendous quickness, speed and bounce. The best part is he’s able to use all three in game action well, and tends to make strong reads when going at insane speeds. He has great upside at only 19 years old.

    Weaknesses: The three-point shot is not there, and Davison doesn’t fair well defensively due to his stature. He’s turnover prone but that’s the tradeoff given his athleticism. He can’t really play off the ball until he develops a more complete offensive game.

    Pro Comparison: A mix between Dennis Smith Jr. and Cameron Payne”

    (Source)

  • Krysten Peek, Yahoo

    “Davison is an extremely athletic guard who gets into the lane with ease and has improved his outside jump shot during the pre-draft process. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 8.5 points and 4.3 assists off the bench at Alabama.”

    (Source)

  • Kyle Boone, CBS

    “Davison is a former five-star recruit and arguably the most athletic guard prospect in the class…He didn’t shoot it well at Alabama and was a turnover machine, but the pedigree and leaping ability is intriguing.”

    (Source)