Thursday night was a long evening for former Alabama basketball player, JD Davison. So long it was actually a few minutes after midnight when the Boston Celtics called his name.
Davison was the No. 53 pick in the 58-pick, 2022 NBA Draft. He was the only former Alabama Crimson Tide player drafted. NBA second-round contracts allow a broad range of compensation to be negotiated by teams. At the higher end of the second-round selections, contracts include some guarantees.
For a late pick like Davison, the only significant guarantee is if he makes the Celtics roster. If he plays a full NBA season, he will earn no less than a mandated minimum. That minimum for the 2022-23 season is around $1M.
What happens for Davison next, after accepting a deal with the Celtics, is he will play on Boston’s Summer League team. Boston selected Davison on the basis of his considerable potential. When Brad Stevens made the decision to draft JD, he knew Boston was getting an unpolished player, whose ball-handling, defending and decision-making had been inconsistent in college. Stevens described Davison as
Very young. Very explosive.
Brad Stevens elaborated on what positives he saw in Davison,
He had some incredible games and he had some games where he looked like a freshman….We do think he has a good feel for getting the ball out of his hands and finding the right people.
An advantage for JD is that in joining the Celtics, there is a roster filled with the ‘right people’ who can finish.
Making the Celtics roster for the 2022-23 season will be a stiff challenge for the 19-year-old Davison. It is almost guaranteed that his next stage of basketball development will take place as a G League player.
NBA fans, even those who passionately love their team, are not generally a forgiving lot. However, the reaction to drafting Davison, as measured by tweets was more positive than negative.
If Davison can correct his turnover issues and become a competent NBA defender, he can thrive in the NBA, even without being a high scorer.
Unfortunately, former Alabama basketball players, Keon Ellis and Jaden Shackelford were not drafted. Ellis quickly followed the Draft by gaining a two-way deal with the Sacramento Kings. The G League may be an option for Shackelford, as well as playing internationally.
The NBA’s two-way deals mean a player will spend most of a season playing in the G League, but can also be on an NBA roster for up to 45 days during the season.