What the Celtics Are Getting in Jordan Walsh

BOSTON – While Boston’s plethora of Draft Night trades are in the process of being finalized, it’s time to get to know the lone selection from the 2023 NBA Draft who is expected to join the team: the No. 38 overall pick, Jordan Walsh.

But first, let’s break down why the 19-year-old wing is expected to end up in a Celtics uniform.

Boston is expected to pull off a flurry of draft night deals that all started with the blockbuster, three-team trade that landed Kristaps Porzingis in the Bay State. In one of Boston's proposed trades, the Celtics will acquire the rights to Walsh, who was selected with the 38th overall pick.

The C’s initially owned the 35th overall pick, but that was dealt to Washington along with Danilo Gallinari and Mike Muscala as part of the Porzingis trade. Memphis, the third team involved in the deal, acquired Marcus Smart from Boston in exchange for the 25th overall pick and a 2024 first-round pick (via Golden State). Memphis also sent Tyus Jones to Washington to complete the three-way deal.

That is the only Celtics trade that has been made official so far, while the following deals are still being processed.

Boston acquired (i) the 31st pick and two future second-round picks from Detroit in exchange for the draft rights to the 25th pick (Marcus Sasser); (ii) Boston then acquired the 34th and 39th pick from Charlotte in exchange for the draft rights to the 31st pick (James Nnaji); (iii) Boston then acquired the draft rights to the 38th pick (Jordan Walsh) and a future Dallas second-round draft pick from Sacramento in exchange for the draft rights to the 34th pick (Colby Jones); and (iv) acquired a future second-round draft pick from Atlanta in exchange for the draft rights to the 39thpick (Mouhamed Gueye).

In simpler terms, the following second-round picks will be acquired by the Celtics once the trades have been finalized:

  • The No. 38 overall pick (Walsh)
  • Dallas’ 2024 second-round pick 
  • The best of Detroit’s, Golden State’s, or Washington’s 2025 second-round pick 
  • The best of Minnesota’s, New Orleans’s, New York’s, or Portland’s 2026 second-round pick
  • Atlanta’s 2027 second-round pick

OK, now with all that chaos out of the way, let’s talk about No. 38.

Walsh just completed his freshman season at the University of Arkansas where he served as a long, explosive athlete with a strong defensive skill set.

Celtics President of Basketball Operations sees the 6-foot-7, Dallas native as a raw talent with plenty of upside.

“He's a good prospect,” Stevens said after the completion of Thursday night’s Draft. “He's young. We don't expect him to come in and take the world on fire in the first couple of months, Summer League, first year. He has a special ability laterally with his wingspan (7-foot-2) to swallow people up defensively. Like he really creates havoc with his arms and with his energy and with his ability to move his feet.”

Walsh was a part of a stacked Razorbacks team this past season that also included the No. 6 overall pick, Anthony Black, and the No. 27 overall pick, Nick Smith Jr. All three were one-and-done.

In his lone season at Arkansas, Walsh averaged 7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from long range. Although shooting was his perceived weakness, Stevens believes claims that Walsh is a better shooter now than he was a few months ago, judging by the two draft workouts he had with the C’s.

“He is just getting better and better,” Stevens said of Walsh’s shooting. “I've always thought his touch looked good, but he looked hesitant at times. And so, I think over time he'll become a really good shooter who has the athleticism to finish and drive closeouts. But he'll be ahead on the defensive end from the start.”

Aside from Walsh, the Celtics also gained tremendous value by obtaining four future second-round picks. Second-rounders are a hotter commodity than ever now that the league is facing a new financial landscape under the terms of the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have seen just how coveted they are through various trades across the league over the course of the past couple of weeks.

“We were excited what we were able to get out of [Thursday night] with more picks to be used in any variety of ways,” said Stevens, “and then a good player in Jordan.”

Plan to see Walsh in action two weeks from now, as he is expected to take part in NBA Summer League alongside last year’s second-round pick, JD Davison, and several other young, rising players.