When Jordan Mickey was taken by the Boston Celtics with the 33rd overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, it was unclear how the undersized big man out of LSU would fit on a roster that featured the likes of of Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Tyler Zeller. Thankfully, Mickey has been able to get some playing time with the Celtics' D-Leauge affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. So far he has dominated his opponents with his improved offensive game and impressive defensive play and Monday's contest agains the Iowa Energy was no different.
The rookie finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, one steal, and three blocks in 29 minutes of action. While other players dream of a stat line like that it has become the norm for Mickey, who is averaging 19 points, 8.4 rebounds, one steal, and an impressive 4.5 blocks-per-game in 14 games played. His 22 points came on an efficient nine-of-fifteen shooting and one-of-one from deep.
Mickey was stellar defensively in this game. He did a great job of clogging the lane and making every shot a tough one and it showed on the box score as Iowa's starting front court, which featured former NBA Champion James Ennis shot a collective 13 of 42 from the floor. Despite being only 6'8'', Mickey does a great job using his 7'3.5'' wingspan and superior athleticism to constantly control the paint.
While his play on defense is a surprise to no one, his offensive development is a pleasant surprise. Against Iowa he showed that he is more than just a shot-blocker. While the majority of his points came on the interior, either from offensive rebounds or finishing on a pick-and-roll, he did look good when shooting from the wing. Of the five shots taken outside the paint he nailed three of them.
There is no doubt the Mickey will be a regular contributor for the Celtics, who signed him to a four year, $5 million deal. Brad Stevens knew what he was doing when he drafted and assigned Mickey to the D-League. He is giving a player who was maybe two years away from being two years away the chance to develop and is has paid off in spades so far. If Mickey can continue to develop his jump shot and bulk up a little he could end up being a poor man's Draymond Green, or even the next Draymond Green.