Celtics draft 18-year-old French pro Begarin in 2nd round

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have selected 18-year-old French wing player Juhann Begarin with the No. 45 pick in the NBA draft.

Begarin, an 18-year-old who didn’t play college ball, has already played two years professionally in Paris and represents another opportunity for the Celtics to draft-and-stash a young player to develop slowly and promote him to the NBA roster down the road.

Boston drafted Yam Madar, a 19-year-old Israeli League pro, in 2020 with its second-round pick. Madar, now 20, is expected to play with the Celtics during summer league and could be in line to earn a two-way spot for the regular season.

Boston didn’t have a first-round pick Thursday after trading the No. 16 selection to Oklahoma City last month as part of the deal that sent point guard Kemba Walker to the Thunder.

In Begarin, the Celtics add a skilled guard with a big first step who has a constantly attacking style that could fit in nicely with Boston’s young core. He is also the 2019 MVP of Basketball Without Borders Europe and is an alumnus of the same sports training program in France that helped produce retired NBA players Tony Parker and Boris Diaw.

Last month’s OKC trade also brought back big man Al Horford, who was a member of the NBA All-Defensive team with the Celtics in 2017-18 while also posting the best assist numbers of his career.

It’s a continuation of what’s already been a busy offseason for Boston.

In addition to the trade with OKC, Brad Stevens left the bench after eight seasons to take over as team president of basketball operations following Danny Ainge’s decision to retire following this past season.

His second big move in that role after trading Walker was to hire his successor, eventually deciding on former Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka, one of the preferred candidates of Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to build around the duo as Boston tries to compete with the the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.

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