The Boston Celtics are currently competing in the Eastern Conference Finals, so the offseason is the last thing on their mind. However, with this summer’s activities right around the corner, the front office needs to keep it in the back of their minds.
Before free agency, Summer League, and training camp comes the NBA Draft. The Celtics do not own a first-round pick, as they traded theirs at the deadline in the deal that brought them Derrick White, but they do have a second-round selection to make.
Bleacher Report’s latest mock draft, written by Jonathan Wasserman, has the Celtics selecting 6’2 guard Marcus Sasser out of the University of Houston. The 21-year-old guard spent three years in college, improving in each of his seasons.
Sasser is currently unranked on ESPN’s Top 100 Big Board, but he would give the Celtics another solid guard to develop. However, according to the man himself, he won’t be making the journey to the NBA if he’s not selected in the first round.
Sasser Makes Statement on NBA Draft Eligibility
In an April 8 interview with Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle and Texas Sports Nation, Sasser said that he is still “50/50” on whether or not he will keep his name in the 2022 NBA Draft. According to him, it largely depends on whether or not he is taken in the first round.
“If I’m not one through 30 guaranteed, I’ll be back,” Sasser told Duarte. The deadline to withdraw your name from the draft and maintain collegiate eligibility is June 1, so Sasser only has a few days left to decide. Sasser’s father, Jeryl Sasser, went through the same process in 2000, withdrawing his name just 30 minutes before the deadline.
Sasser’s dad played for two years in the NBA with the Orlando Magic after being selected in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft at pick 22. Although he found minimal success in the NBA, Sasser spent four successful years at SMU, averaging 17.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. In his sophomore season, Sasser won Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year alongside long-time NBA veteran Andre Miller.
The big difference between being a first and second-round pick is the contract. First-round draft picks get guaranteed contracts in the two-and-two format (two years guaranteed followed by two years of team options). Meanwhile, second-round picks are not given guaranteed deals.
Despite the uncertainty regarding his draft eligibility, Sasser’s skillset could be beneficial to the Celtics if they decided to select him. However, his journey is eerily similar to another prospect Boston drafted that has yet to pan out.
Sasser’s Journey Mirrors Unproven Celtics Prospect
In his three years at Houston, Sasser developed into a sharpshooter. The guard averaged 17.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.2 steals in his senior season on 43.7% shooting from the field and 43.7% shooting from deep. However, Sasser only appeared in 12 games.
Wasserman noted in the mock draft that Sasser has been shooting well at the NBA Combine, “reminding scouts that his 45 threes in 12 games with Houston weren’t fluky,” but the journey is extremely similar to the one Celtics forward Aaron Nesmith had in his final collegiate season.
Nesmith played in just 14 games in his final year at Vanderbilt, shooting 50.0% from three-point range. And while that performance was good enough to get him into the league (at the 14th-overall pick), his shooting hasn’t quite translated. This past year, Nesmith shot just 27.0% from deep.
With the number of guards already clogging Boston’s rotation, bringing in another may lead to issues. Sasser could develop nicely in the G-League, but Payton Pritchard and White could block his path to playing time in the big leagues.