Celtics Giddy To Grab Giddens at #30
Admittedly -- and understandably -- Doc Rivers was not fully prepared for the 2008 NBA Draft following the Celtics' title run. So Danny Ainge made it easy on him, handing Rivers four scouting tapes following the Rolling Rally.
The subject of one ended up being selected by the Celtics with the 30th pick of the draft: 6'5" guard J.R. Giddens, senior from the University of New Mexico. Giddens had just worked out for the Celtics the day before the draft, and it didn't take much to sell Rivers.
Giddens was the last pick in the first round.
"It sold me on liking him," Rivers said. "He was very competitive in that workout. It looks like from the calls we made, what turns him on is winning. [He] hates losing, doesn't handle losing very well."
Giddens spent his first two collegiate seasons at the University of Kansas under coach Bill Self, averaging 11.3 points per game his freshman year. Giddens transferred to New Mexico after his sophomore year at Kansas and would go on to average 15.8 points as a junior and 16.3 as a senior.
Many of his peripheral stats in '08 were strong (8.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and shooting 51 percent from the field) but Rivers said he was drafted because he's athletic, and he fits the team status quo -- defense.
"One of the reasons [we] liked him is we think he has a chance to fight for minutes right away because of his defense," Rivers said. "He's got an incredible wingspan. We feel that defensively he'll be an NBA player right away."
Offensively there's still some work to do. Giddens said he needs to work on his ball-handling and free-throw shooting (58% from the stripe) this summer, but he echoed Rivers in saying his minutes will be earned with defense.
"I'm just going to go out there and fight and try to earn a position," Giddens said. "And if I'm fortunate enough to get some playing time then I'll be happy. But if not, I'm going to sit on the bench and clap and contribute to them any way that I can. Just try to become better so I can get minutes and get time."
Giddens spent draft night at the Lobos' practice facility with his teammates and coaches, but he finished off his conference-call with a shout out to the Celtics, and to Boston.
"I can't wait to get there," he said.