The Celtics announced today that they have officially signed first-round draft pick J.R. Giddens. Signing first-round picks is typically a simple process, but it took awhile for the Celtics to reach an agreement with their first round pick. Giddens drew considerable interest from professional teams in Europe and with the high number of NBA players taking their games overseas this offseason, there was a chance that Giddens might do the same. He eventually came to terms with the defending champs and is almost giddy to be playing with them.
Giddens' defense and athleticsm are considered to be NBA-caliber right now, but questions of his character pushed him to the final pick of the first round where the Celtics happily grabbed him. From all indications, he grew up a great deal in his final season at New Mexico and character issues shouldn't be a problem as he starts his NBA career with the Celtics. Giddens shared Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year honors as a senior when he averaged 16.3 points and a league leading 8.8 rebounds in 33 games played. He also earned First Team All-Conference honors as a senior. His coach from his senior season at New Mexico, Steve Alford, was very positive about him and couldn't say enough good things about him. I expect Giddens to come in and contribute this season, especially on the defensive end.