The next installment of Beantown Background, as well as the Boston Celtics fourth and final 2017 draft pick, is Jabari Bird.
Before he was well known, Bird attended Salesian High School in Richmond, California. The 6-foot-6, 180-pound forward averaged 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game during his senior year, for which he was named a McDonald’s All American. Salesian had a 100-8 record during Bird’s career.
Bird then committed to the University of California, where he attended for four years. He missed 14 games combined during his first two seasons due to ankle and foot injuries. During his junior year, Bird found his stride, starting in 22 of 33 games and making 61 3-pointers during the season. He was a strong scorer, with his new career-highs of 24 points vs. Oregon and 23 points against Oregon State. During his senior year, he set his career high with 25 points against Cal Poly. He scored 65 3-pointers during that season, and was named to the All-PAC 12 Honorable Mentions despite missing six games with a back injury. He lead the Golden Bears in scoring, averaging 14.3 points per game.
The Celtics would go on to select Bird with the 56th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and soon thereafter signed him to a two-way contract. This means that Bird can only spend a maximum of 45 days with the team, and will spend the majority of the season with their G League affiliate, the Main Red Claws. This will allow Bird to develop into a good player, despite the Celtics’ stacked depth chart at the small forward position. This also saves the Celtics money due to the fact that they don’t have to pay the NBA minimum.
Although Bird does not appear to be an impact player for the Celts this year, and he will spend most of his season in Maine, this situation can allow him to grow into a strong player for the future of the team.