The Clippers were busy on draft night, injecting some much needed youth into their roster by getting two additional second-round picks, Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. (or BJ Boston).
Boston is a name who should be familiar to fans of L.A. basketball given his roots at Sierra Canyon, and he spent his lone year in college at the preps-to-pro factory that is Kentucky. But given the stop-and-go nature of college basketball this year due to the pandemic and the Wildcats missing out on the NCAA Tournament, Boston fell off the radar and plummeted down the draft boards. Nevertheless, there is reason to be excited about a player who was mocked as high as No. 2 in the 2021 draft before eventually landing with the Clippers at No. 51.
Clips Nation: Why was Boston good enough in high school to be recruited to Kentucky?
Jason Marcum: When Boston initially committed in the late summer of 2019, he was regarded as an elite finisher at the rim with a solid jumper that had the potential to become even better. By the time his senior season started, Boston had become a complete three-level scorer and was starting to look like a more consistent Kevin Knox and consensus top-10 recruit. There was no doubt he had the talent to play at any blue blood and likely be the top offensive option.
CN: What went wrong his freshman year? How much of that can we blame on the way John Calipari used him?
JM: Unfortunately, Boston suffered a broken finger over the summer heading into his lone season at Kentucky. John Calipari recently said the injury set Boston back 3-4 months. Along with having no real offseason due to COVID-19, it was as though Boston had gone from the end of his final high school season straight to playing at Kentucky with no real time to develop and prepare for it. Though he showed flashes, Boston never found any rhythm, which led to him having many games he looked afraid to even shoot the ball (he went 0-of-4 from the field in his final game with no free-throw attempts).
As for John Calipari, he’s been consistently criticized in recent years for not modernizing his offense more. It was even called “archaic” by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony back in January when writing about Boston’s struggles and how other former Cats were undervalued by NBA teams due to Calipari’s system. To be fair, Calipari was forced to use Devin Askew at point guard for the majority of the season, and he was an absolute disaster that helped bog down the offense.
CN: Is there anything you think he can already do at the NBA level? Or will he need some G League reps first?
JM: Boston actually improved as a shooter as the season wore on. He shot 37.3 percent from 3-point range in SEC play. However, he never could get going inside the arc, as he shot 38.4 percent on 2-pointers for the season and just 34.7 percent in SEC play. Boston has to bulk up if he ever wants to score consistently through even the lightest contact. Perhaps he can get playing time as a spot-up shooter as a rookie, but ideally, he’ll spend the majority of his rookie season in the G League while getting a lot of work in the weight room.
CN: What’s your favorite thing about Boston, or what’s something Clippers fans will love about him?
JM: Boston wants to be great and has the drive needed to reach his potential. He’s already said he wants to be the best ever. While unlikely to ever happen, Boston isn’t afraid to put that kind of pressure on himself. His lone season at Kentucky was just the perfect storm for disaster, something that he’ll likely never face again. He was also one of the few Wildcats to do the Breakfast Club this season as he dedicated most of his time to crafting his game, so work ethic shouldn’t be an issue in the pros.
Granted, he has a lot of developing to do, but I truly believe he has a long NBA career ahead of him once he puts it all together. To me, the best-case scenario is he becomes a solid scorer off the bench at some point during his second year in the NBA. Don’t expect much of anything out of him as a rookie, but I believe the Clippers drafted him knowing this would be a multi-year project that will eventually bear fruit.