Celtics Nab Explosive Lester Hudson at No. 58
We've known for weeks that Blake Griffin was the player-in-waiting that would be the first to shake David Stern's hand at the 2009 NBA Draft. Every slot after No. 1 was everything but a given.
If the destiny of the No. 2 pick was a mystery, you can only imagine how much of a shot in the dark it was to predict the Celtics' lone selection of the Draft, No. 58 overall.
Now that the night is complete, we know all of the answers. Griffin went No. 1, as expected, just after 7:30 p.m. Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet heard his name called just moments later.
Fast forward to 11:50 p.m., when the Danny Ainge and Co. made the decision on their one and only selection of the draft. The man who would become the next Boston Celtic was Lester Hudson, a 6-foot-3 combo guard out of Tennessee Martin.
Although Hudson was the third-to-last pick in the draft, Ainge was quick to point out that there is plenty to like about their newest player.
"I like his toughness. I like his ability to score," Ainge said. "He's got strength and he's long. He's one of those guys who just really knows how to score the ball."
Hudson is a is a rare four-year college basketball player who burst onto the scene as a junior. He averaged 25.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 4.5 APG during his first season of playing time and was lethal from the field. During that season, Hudson became the first Division 1 men's basketball player in history to record a quadruple-double with a ridiculous stat line that looked like this: 25 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals.
Following that impressive junior campaign, he entered his name into the draft but eventually pulled out and returned for his senior year.
Although his senior year statistics were a mere carbon copy of his 2007-08 season, he grew in other areas like ball handling and toughness. The latter is a characteristic that really stood out to the C's, as Ainge said he is a player that "instigates physical play with the ball in his hands" while also using the word "tough" on numerous occasions to describe his play.
Toughness is definitely a great quality to have when joining a defensive minded team like the Celtics. But, in spite of Boston's defense-first mentality, Ainge couldn't get away from raving about Hudson's offensive abilities.
"I think his strength is [being] a scorer," he said. "I think he can handle the ball and create off the dribble as well. I think he can play with the ball in his hands, as a scorer."
His point totals are definitely supportive of those statements. During his senior season, Hudson had only two games in which he failed to score 20 or more points. He had 11 games of scoring at least 30 points and had two 40-plus games while leading his team to a 22-10 record.
Statistically, Hudson looks like a nightmare for defenses to handle. His ability to score from every angle and every distance, coupled with his strength and toughness, made him a player that the Celtics never thought would drop to them at No. 58.
As fate would have it, Hudson fell into the Celtics' lap, and they didn't hesitate to grab him. Usually the 58th pick will result in a Summer League player with a minimal chance of making a roster. Ainge doesn't see this pick in that light.
Said Ainge: "I think he's got a good chance."
Lester Hudson's Collegiate Statistics
Name: Lester Hudson Height: 6'2" Weight: 190 LBS Birth: 08/07/84 College: Tennessee Martin
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