JaJuan Johnson was confident he had NBA first-round talent.
That was confirmed Thursday – even if it came with some machinations.
The Boston Celtics passed on All-American forward Johnson with their No. 25 pick.
Two picks later, New Jersey selected Johnson, making him the first Purdue player to be selected in the first round since Glenn Robinson was the top overall pick in 1994.
Soon after, New Jersey sent Johnson's rights and a future second-round pick to the Celtics for Providence guard MarShon Brooks, Boston's pick at No. 25.
Ultimately, Johnson gets a guaranteed contract and an opportunity to play for one of the league's most storied franchises.
The Celtics have four All-Stars on the roster with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo. The team needed some scoring depth and a boost on the boards – they were the worst offensive rebounding team in the league last season.
Johnson would seem to meet both needs as well as giving Boston another player who will work hard on the defensive end.
As a senior for the Boilermakers, the 6-foot-10 Johnson averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game and was named Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Based on the rookie pay scale, the No. 27 pick is guaranteed nearly $1.9 million for two seasons. That could change under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but Johnson knows at least that his dream to play in the league is secure.
"It's rewarding. It's the life I chose," he said earlier this week. "It's definitely a blessing, just to have the opportunity to play basketball as long as I can. Hopefully it's even longer than just a couple years. I'm definitely fortunate to be in this position that I am."