Celtics get two Purdue players in NBA draft

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BOSTON (AP) - The Boston Celtics thoroughly scouted players throughout the country and ended up acquiring two from the same school on Thursday night.

They chose two senior stars from Purdue _ 6-foot-10 forward JaJuan Johnson and 6-foot-4 guard E’Twaun Moore _ as they continued building toward the day when the Big Three that brought an NBA title in 2008 is gone.

It was merely a “coincidence” that the Celtics took two players from one college, general manager Danny Ainge said. “They were the best guys on the board for us when we drafted.”

Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, both 35, are signed for just one more season. Paul Pierce, 33, has three years left on his contract. The only other Celtics signed for next season are guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, and center Jermaine O’Neal. Coach Doc Rivers is signed for five more years.

Johnson, the 6-foot-10 Big Ten player of the year and defensive player of the year, was traded to the Celtics after being drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the 27th pick. The Celtics also obtained the Nets’ second-round pick in 2014 for Providence guard Marshon Brooks, who they drafted with the 25th choice at New Jersey’s request.

Johnson and Moore are skilled on both offense and defense.

“There are guys we refer to as both-end-of-the-court players,” Ainge said. “We think we got two of those guys.”

The Celtics went into the draft seeking shooting and size. Enter Johnson.

A member of The Associated Press’ first-team All-America team last season, he averaged 20.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks last season. In four years, Johnson averaged 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds and sank 50.1 percent of his shots.

“He’s a confident shooter,” Rivers said. “Watching him in the workouts, he kind of knows where his shots come from. It’s funny. He didn’t stray far away from his spots and that tells you he’s mature enough to understand who he is and how he plays.

“He has length and he’s a shot blocker.”

At 220 pounds, Johnson’s build is like Garnett‘s. He certainly can benefit from the veteran’s lessons.

“They’re very similar,” Rivers said. “He’s not Kevin Garnett, all right. Don’t write it, anybody, all right, but they’re the same body type. At the same time in their lives, (Johnson’s) probably a better shooter. Kevin became a great shooter, so there’s a lot of upside things with (Johnson).”

He’ll have an outstanding but demanding mentor in Garnett.

Kevin’s a great teacher, actually the best teacher that I’ve ever coached by far,” Rivers said. “But if you don’t listen the first time, he’ll never teach you again. That’s just how he works.”

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