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Irish Coffee: When will Celtics develop a scorer?

02.29.12 at 12:17 pm ET

Whether it’s Gerald Green‘s glorious return to the NBA, the sight of Semih Erden facing them as a starting center or the team’s woeful offensive production, a number of factors led me to this question: When is the last time Celtics president Danny Ainge or coach Doc Rivers has either drafted or developed a scorer?

Clearly, Rajon Rondo is the best player cultivated under the Ainge-Rivers regime, but I don’t think anybody would argue Rondo has markedly improved in the scoring department. His scoring averages per 36 minutes in his rookie season (9.9 points) and last season (10.3) are nearly identical, and we all know about that jump shot.

The best scorer drafted by Ainge has to be Al Jefferson, but even his 36-minute averages didn’t improve much under Rivers, crawling from 16.3 as a rookie to 17.2 in his final Celtics season. Not until he was traded to the Timberwolves did those averages climb into the 20s. Of course Ainge and Rivers deserve credit for molding Big Al into bait to land Kevin Garnett, but the fact remains Jefferson made a leap offensively once he left the Celtics.

The same goes for Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe and Bill Walker, all of whose 36-minute scoring averages barely budged in either direction on the Celtics, and then saw those numbers rise once they left Boston.

Ainge probably deserves the blame for drafting Justin Reed, Orien Greene, Gabe Pruitt, J.R. Giddens, Lester Hudson and even Green, all of whom never hung on in the NBA regardless of who was coaching them. You can probably add Luke Harangody (he of the 25.0 FG%) to that list fairly soon as well.

Delonte West and Glen Davis had flashes of brilliance in Celtics uniforms, establishing themselves as certifiable NBA players. Still, would you say either West or Davis improved as scorers in Boston? Sure, their point totals rose as a result of more field goal attempts, but did their reliability as scorers change from Season 1 to Season 3 or 4?

Last year’s rookies, Erden and Avery Bradley, are yet to be determined. Erden didn’t have time to improve on the Celtics, as Ainge shipped him to Cleveland along with Harangody for a second-round pick, but the Turkish terror has shown signs of improvement since entering the Cavaliers starting lineup seven games ago (i.e., 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting in a victory against the Pacers two weeks ago).

And find me somebody who thinks Bradley has developed his scoring game since his arrival in Boston.

That leaves JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore, both of whom established themselves as collegiate scorers and have illustrated that ability in stints as NBA rookies. Johnson and Moore are respectively averaging 15.9 and 11.3 points per 36 minutes, but the question remains: Will they develop into consistent scorers for the Celtics?

Not if history has anything to do with it. We’ll let these 36-minute scoring averages drive that point home.

2004-05 NBA DRAFT

AL JEFFERSON (15th pick)

First Celtics season: 16.3 points
Last Celtics season: 17.2 points
First non-Celtics season: 21.3 points

DELONTE WEST (24th pick)

First Celtics season: 12.4 points
Last Celtics season: 13.7 points
First non-Celtics season: 11.9 points

TONY ALLEN (25th pick)

First Celtics season: 14.0 points
Last Celtics season: 13.4 points
First non-Celtics season: 15.5 points

JUSTIN REED (41st pick)

2005-06 NBA DRAFT

GERALD GREEN (18th pick)

First Celtics season: 16.1 points
Last Celtics season: 17.1 points
First non-Celtics season: 15.2 points (jumped to 19.1 on 2008-09 Mavericks)

RYAN GOMES (50th pick)

First Celtics season: 12.1 points
Last Celtics season: 13.9 points
First non-Celtics season: 15.3 points

ORIEN GREENE (53rd pick)

2006-07 NBA DRAFT

RAJON RONDO (21st pick)

First Celtics season: 9.9 points
Last Celtics season: 10.3 points

LEON POWE (49th pick)

First Celtics season: 13.2 points
Last Celtics season: 15.8 points
First non-Celtics season: 12.1 points (jumped to 17.3 on 2010-11 Cavaliers and Grizzlies)

2007-08 NBA DRAFT

GABE PRUITT (32nd pick)

GLEN DAVIS (35th pick)

First Celtics season: 12.0 points
Last Celtics season: 14.3 points
First non-Celtics season: 12.0 points

2008-09 NBA DRAFT

J.R. GIDDENS (30th pick)

BILL WALKER (47th pick)

First Celtics season: 14.7 points
Last Celtics season: 9.9 points
First non-Celtics season: 15.6 points

SEMIH ERDEN (60th pick)

Only Celtics season: 10.2 points
Only non-Celtics season: 9.5 points

2009-10 NBA DRAFT

LESTER HUDSON (58th pick)

2010-11 NBA DRAFT

AVERY BRADLEY (19th pick)

First Celtics season: 11.6 points
This Celtics season: 9.1 points

LUKE HARANGODY (52nd pick)

Only Celtics season: 9.4 points
Only non-Celtics season: 7.8 points

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

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