Brandon “BJ” Boston is officially a Los Angeles Clipper. Boston was taken 51st overall by the New Orleans Pelicans before being traded away to the Clippers. New Orleans will receive cash and a future second-round selection in return for Boston, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez.
Some projected Boston would go in the first round of the draft, so L.A. could really cash in if he pans out. The 6-foot-7, 188-pound guard spent his lone college season playing for the Kentucky Wildcats. He played in 25 games, starting 24, and averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 35.5% from the floor and 30% from three-point range.
A broken finger coupled with COVID-19 restrictions slowed the start to his collegiate career, but he showed flashes on both offense and defense, and as the season progressed, so did Boston’s game. He hit 23 of his 30 3-pointers in the final 12 games of the season, and led the Wildcats in steals as a freshman.
Ex-Coach John Calipari Puts League on Notice
Shortly after he was drafted, head coach of Kentucky basketball, John Calipari, tweeted that Boston was “going to use tonight as fuel and is going to have a great @NBA career. I am sure of it, just as sure as I am that teams are going to look back and wish they would have taken him sooner. BJ has length, an ability to score that few have and a huge ceiling.”
In another tweet, he called the Clippers “a great franchise” that will give Boston “time to grow,” while also suggesting Boston’s only season at Kentucky would have looked very different had there not been a pandemic happening. “My guess is we look back in a couple of years and realize how much he was hurt this past season by his hand injury and the COVID year. I know he is a special player,” Calipari said via Twitter.
Calipari also tweeted the following days before the draft, further extrapolating on how the pandemic hindered his former guard last year in a very long Twitter thread:
“My advice to @NBA teams this year: Don’t pass on (Boston). I’ve said this before about other players and I don’t think I’ve been wrong. He is the guy teams will regret passing on if they don’t select him. He is going to have a great pro career. I feel bad for all of our kids being cheated out of last summer but (Boston) probably suffered more than anyone else. The opportunity that we’ve had this summer for our kids to be coached and experience what (Kentucky basketball) is all about would have made such a difference for BJ. And I’m not making excuses but when (Boston) broke his finger, it set him back three or four months. He is really going to benefit by the consistent work he’s been able to put in the last few months.”
Here’s What the Experts Say About Boston
A spotty shooter at times, Boston could really benefit from landing with a solid coaching staff with a proven history of developing young players, and he has that in Ty Lue and company in L.A.
He is rare in that he’s a wing who can score and create big plays, but he’s also a scrappy defender who can make plays on defense, as well.
Here’s a snippet of his outlook courtesy of Eric Yearian from NBADRAFT.net:
Boston has the tools and potential to be a successful wing at the next level, but it will largely be contingent upon bulking up and adjusting how he approaches the game … He will need to add strength to allow him to absorb contact on his drives to the rim and get to the free throw line instead of settling for tough looks while trying to avoid contact … Will likely benefit from the added space of the NBA game, as he was constantly battling with a clogged paint area while at Kentucky … He’s a player that could thrive if he lands in the right situation at the next level and learns the right work habits and gains the necessary core strength … Right now he’s being projected as a late first to second round pick … Many feel that Boston would have benefited with more time in college, however he made the decision to sign with an agent and forego his college eligibility.
He has some wrinkles, but signs are pointing up for Boston, who should be a solid young player for years to come, particularly if the Clippers can develop him.