2022 NBA Finals: How the Celtics and Warriors were built

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·11 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

2022 NBA Finals: How the Celtics and Warriors were built originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Are the Boston Celtics matched up against a future version of themselves in the 2022 NBA Finals?

Not stylistically, what with the once-in-a-lifetime array of shooters the Golden State Warriors employ.

In terms of how these Warriors came to be, however? Golden State’s dynastic run has followed a blueprint similar to the one the Celtics themselves have been executing for nearly a decade when it comes to drafting and developing homegrown talent.

2022 NBA Finals preview: Three reasons why Celtics can beat Warriors

The Warriors did sign Kevin Durant in free agency in the summer of 2016, but his presence for three of Golden State’s five Finals appearances last decade shouldn’t obscure the fact that no team in the NBA drafted and developed quite like the Warriors did during the 2010s.

Golden State has re-emerged as a Western Conference power thanks in large part to homegrown stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, with another star budding in Jordan Poole. It's a nucleus the Celtics counter with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III.

Celtics Talk: Celtics punch their ticket to the NBA Finals with a Game 7 win over the Heat | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

No championship roster in today’s NBA is augmented without sharp trades and free agent signings, of course. Here's a full breakdown of how each roster was constructed heading into the 2022 NBA Finals. Players are listed in chronological order of when they arrived with Celtics and Warriors.

Marcus Smart

Acquired: Draft (2014, first round, sixth overall)

Contract: Signed through 2025-26 season on a four-year extension worth roughly $76.5 million that kicks in for the 2022-23 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 15.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 39.5 percent FG (33 percent 3PTFG)

The longest-tenured member of the Celtics, Smart was one of two first-round picks the team made in 2014. The other one, James Young (17th overall), appeared in only 89 NBA games.

The draft pick used to select Young was the first of four first-rounders Boston received in the mega-deal that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in the summer of 2013.

Celtics' NBA Finals berth makes 2013 Nets trade look even better

Jaylen Brown

Acquired: Draft (2016, first round, third overall)

Contract: Signed through 2023-24 season on four-year extension worth roughly $106 million signed in fall of 2019.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 22.9 points per game, 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 48.5 percent FG (38.6 percent 3PTFG)

The second of four first-round picks acquired in the Brooklyn mega-deal.

Jayson Tatum

Acquired: Draft (2017, first round, third overall)

Contract: Signed through 2024-25 season on five-year, $163 million extension signed in fall of 2020. Player option worth more than $37 million for 2025-26 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 27 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 44.6 percent FG (37.5 percent 3PTFG)

The Celtics won the draft lottery in 2017 and traded the first overall pick -- originally acquired in the Brooklyn mega-deal -- to the Philadelphia 76ers (Markelle Fultz was later selected) in exchange for the pick which turned into Tatum and a 2019 first-round pick (Romeo Langford was later selected). Even with no contributions from Langford, the trade has already become one of the most lopsided in NBA history, with Fultz lasting only 33 games in Philly.

Robert Williams III

Acquired: Draft (2018, first round, 27th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2025-26 season on a four-year, $48 million extension which kicked in at the beginning of current season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 7.8 points per game, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 63.5 percent FG

The Celtics tabbed Time Lord one pick before the Warriors selected Jacob Evans, who appeared in only 57 games for the franchise and hasn’t played in the NBA in two years.

Grant Williams

Acquired: Draft (2019, first round, 22nd overall)

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season after Celtics exercised $4.31 million option on rookie deal. Can be restricted free agent next summer.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 10.1 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, 42.1 percent FG (40.5 percent 3PTFG)

Williams, the two-time SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee, was the third player the Celtics selected in the first round in 2019. Romeo Langford (14th) and Matisse Thybulle (20th, rights traded to 76ers) were drafted earlier.

Aaron Nesmith

Acquired: Draft (2020, first round, 14th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season after Celtics exercised $3.8 million option on rookie deal. Team option for $5.6 million for following season and can be restricted free agent after 2023-24 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): Has appeared in 10 games this postseason but has played only 37 minutes, most among players not regularly in rotation.

The draft pick used to select Nesmith was originally acquired by the Celtics in a 2015 trade which sent Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Payton Pritchard

Acquired: Draft (2020, first round, 26th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season after Celtics exercised $2.24 million option on rookie deal. Team option for $4 million for following season and can be restricted free agent after 2023-24 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 5.4 points per game, 1.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 45.1 percent FG (36.2 percent 3PTFG)

Pritchard was the second of three players drafted by the Celtics in the first round in 2020 but the only one who is regularly in the team’s rotation. Aaron Nesmith, drafted 14th overall, has played only 37 minutes this postseason and Desmond Bane, drafted 30th overall, was traded to Grizzlies for two future second-round draft picks.

Al Horford

Acquired: Trade (Celtics traded Kemba Walker, 2021 first-round draft pick, 2025 second-round draft pick to Thunder for Horford, Moses Brown and 2023 second-round draft pick in summer of 2021).

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season in final year of four-year, $109 deal originally signed with 76ers in summer of 2019.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 11.9 points per game, 9.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 50 percent FG (43.2 percent FG)

Report: How Celtics plan to handle final year of Horford's contract

Horford originally spent three seasons with the Celtics after signing as a free agent in the summer of 2016 -- the same year Durant joined the Warriors in free agency -- before opting out of the final year of his deal and signing with the 76ers in the summer of 2019.

Derrick White

Acquired: Trade (Celtics traded Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, 2022 first-round draft pick and right to 2028 first-round pick swap to San Antonio Spurs for White at 2022 trade deadline).

Contract: Signed through 2024-25 season on four-year, $70 million extension originally signed with Spurs in fall of 2020.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 8.1 points per game, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 38 percent FG (27.6 percent 3PTFG)

Celtics coach Ime Udoka was an assistant with San Antonio under Gregg Popovich during White’s first two NBA seasons.

Daniel Theis

Acquired: Trade (Celtics traded Enes Freedom, Dennis Schroder and Bruno Fernando to Houston Rockets for Theis at 2022 trade deadline).

Contract: Signed through 2024-25 season on four-year, $36 million deal signed with Chicago Bulls in summer of 2021. Club option for final year of deal.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 4.7 points per game, 3.4 rebounds, 59.2 percent FG (16.7 3PTFG)

Second stint with Celtics after originally playing for team from 2017-21. Traded to Bulls in three-team deal in March 2021.

Other players to appear in games for Celtics this postseason: Luke Kornet, Sam Hauser, Nik Stauskas, Juwan Morgan and Malik Fitts

Stephen Curry

Acquired: Draft (2009, first round, seventh overall)

Contract: Signed through 2025-26 season on four-year, $215 million extension signed in summer of 2021.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 25.9 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 44.9 percent FG (38 percent 3PTFG)

Six players drafted ahead of Curry in 2009: Blake Griffin (Clippers), Hasheem Thabeet (Grizzlies), James Harden (Thunder), Tyreke Evans (Kings), Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves) and Jonny Flynn (Timberwolves).

Klay Thompson

Acquired: Draft (2011, first round, 11th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2023-24 season on five-year, $189.9 million contract signed in summer of 2019.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 19.8 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 45.7 percent FG (39.9 percent 3PTFG)

Missed two full seasons after tearing ACL in Game 6 of 2019 NBA Finals before returning on Jan. 9, 2022.

Draymond Green

Acquired: Draft (2012, second round, 35th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season on four-year, $99.6 million extension signed in summer of 2019. Player option worth more than $27 million for 2023-24 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 8.7 points per game, 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.1 blocks, 53.9 percent FG (26.1 percent 3PTFG)

Both the Celtics and Warriors -- among other teams -- passed over Green twice in 2012 draft before Golden State finally selected him 35th overall. Celtics drafted Jared Sullinger (21st) and Fab Melo (22nd) while Warriors drafted Harrison Barnes (seventh) and Festus Ezeli (30th).

Kevon Looney

Acquired: Draft (2015, first round, 30th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2021-22 season on three-year, $15 million contract signed in summer of 2019.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 6.1 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 66.7 percent FG

One of only three draft picks made by Warriors between 2013-2018 and only one still on roster.

Damion Lee

Acquired: Signed as free agent on two-way deal in summer of 2018.

Contract: Signed through 2021-22 season on three-year, $4.5 million deal after converting two-way contract to fulltime deal during 2019-20 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 2.7 points per game, 2.3 rebounds, 43.3 percent FG (33.3 percent 3PTFG)

Originally entered NBA as undrafted free agent with Celtics in 2016, spending the 2016-17 season with Maine Red Claws in the G League. Brother-in-law of Stephen Curry.

Jordan Poole

Acquired: Draft (2019, first round, 28th overall)

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season after Warriors exercised $3.9 million option on rookie deal. Can be restricted free agent next summer.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 18.4 points per game, 3.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 53.1 percent FG (39.3 percent 3PTFG)

Celtics drafted three players ahead of Poole (Romeo Langford, Matisse Thybulle, Grant Williams) in first round of 2019 NBA Draft.

Andrew Wiggins

Acquired: Trade (Warriors traded D'Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to Timberwolves for Wiggins, 2021 first-round draft pick and 2021 second-round draft pick at trade deadline in 2020).

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 season on five-year, $147.7 million contract signed with Timberwolves in summer of 2017.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 15.8 points per game, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 48 percent FG (35.3 percent 3PTFG)

First overall pick in 2014 NBA Draft by Cavaliers, but traded to Timberwolves later that summer in deal that brought Kevin Love to Cleveland upon return of LeBron James in free agency.

Gary Payton II

Acquired: Signed as free agent, originally on 10-day contract, in April 2021

Contract: Signed through 2021-22 season on one-year, $1.9 million contract signed in summer of 2021.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 6.1 points per game, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 72.2 percent FG (75 percent 3PTFG)

Son of Hall of Famer Gary Payton; originally entered NBA as undrafted free agent in 2016 with Rockets. Has appeared in seven games for Warriors this postseason, with two starts, but hasn't played since Game 2 of Western Conference semifinals due to an elbow injury. Is expected to return for Finals.

Otto Porter Jr.

Acquired: Signed as free agent in summer of 2021.

Contract: Signed through 2021-22 season on one-year, $2.4 million contract.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 5.5 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 46.7 percent FG (32.3 percent 3PTFG)

Third overall pick in 2013 NBA Draft by Wizards. Has also played for Bulls and Magic. Has appeared in 13 games off the bench for Warriors this postseason but injured his foot during the Western Conference Finals. His status for the Finals is uncertain.

Jonathan Kuminga

Acquired: Draft (2021, first round, seventh overall)

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 on two-year, $24.86 million rookie deal. Team options for following two seasons and can be restricted free agent following 2024-25 season.

Postseason stats (2021-22): 6.9 points per game, 2.2 rebounds, 50.8 percent FG (23.1 percent 3PTFG)

Played one year in G League after high school rather than college basketball. Pick used to select Kuminga originally acquired in deal that brought Wiggins to Golden State.

Other players to appear in games for Warriors this postseason: Nemanja Bjelica, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Andre Iguodala, the 2015 Finals MVP for Warriors who had spent last two seasons with Miami Heat before rejoining Golden State. Iguodala, 38, appeared in only 31 games during regular season and three thus far in the playoffs, totaling 42 minutes.