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Celtics draft Jordan Walsh in second round, make four different trades on draft night

BOSTON  --  Brad Stevens has been the president of basketball ops. for the Boston Celtics for three years. He has yet to make a first-round selection in the NBA Draft.

He didn't seem to want to make any picks on Thursday night, making four trades as the night went on. Stevens ultimately made one pick in the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft, taking Arkansas freshman forward Jordan Walsh at No. 38.

The 19-year-old Walsh is a tremendous athlete but not much of a shooter, hitting just 27.8 percent of his three-point attempts in his lone season with the Razorbacks. The 6-foot-7 Walsh shot 43.3 percent from the floor off six field-goal attempts per game, averaging 7.1 points over 36 games for Arkansas. 

Walsh is a solid defensive player who played a key role in Arkansas' run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The former five-star recruit out of Texas should give the Celtics some energy and toughness off the bench if he can crack Joe Mazzulla's lineup as a rookie.

As for how the Celtics got to that pick, it was a long and weird path with a lot of trades that left a lot of heads spinning. 

The Celtics jumped into the first round of Thursday night's NBA Draft with Wednesday night's reported three-team trade that sent Marcus Smart to Memphis and brought Kristaps Porzingis to Boston, landing the No. 25 pick from Memphis in the move. But Stevens traded back out of the first round on Thursday night, sending the pick -- which was used to select Houston guard Marcus Sasser --  to Detroit for the 31st pick (the first selection of the second round) and a pair of future second-round picks.

Then Stevens traded back again, sending No. 31 to the Charlotte Hornets for picks Nos. 34 and 39. After taking Xavier guard Colby Jones at No. 34, he sent Jones to Sacramento for the 38th pick and another future second-rounder. Stevens took Walsh at No. 38 and then Washington State's Mouhamed Gueye at No. 39, but then flipped Gueye to the Atlanta Hawks for ANOTHER future second-round pick.  

Brad may be hanging out with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick a little too much. Maybe Stevens should start wearing cut-off hoodies to work. His 2023 draft was absolutely bananas, after an equally wild night on Wednesday.

At least there is also a financial benefit for Boston in trading out of the first round on Thursday night. In addition to picking up some second-round picks, the Celtics gained some salary flexibility and will now be able to use the $5 million taxpayer mid-level exception this offseason, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac.

The Celtics began the week with the 35th overall pick, but sent that to the Washington Wizards as part of Wednesday night's three-team trade. Stevens traded away Boston's 2023 first-round pick to the Indiana Pacers last summer to acquire guard Malcolm Brogdon.

As for Thursday night, Stevens ultimately turned the No. 25 pick into Jordan Walsh, four future second-round picks, and some flexibility in free agency. It just took a lot of movement to get there.

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