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Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge on OM&F: ‘Boston fans don’t know who Jaylen [Brown] is’

06.24.16 at 1:45 pm ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

Amidst Celtics’ fans frustration with Boston’s selection of Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 overall pick, Celtics’ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria to defend his pick and discuss the Celtics’ upcoming offseason. To hear the interview, go to the OM&F audio on demand page.

“Boston fans don’t know who Jaylen is. If you want a really good picture of Jaylen you should call Bill Walton. I think he broadcast 10 or 12 of Jaylen’s games in the Pac-12 last year,” said Ainge. “The first thing is that with Jaylen, I don’t think he is going to reach his potential three, four, five years from now, fully, but the good thing about Jaylen is with his physicality and his body, athleticism, strength and maturity he can play in an NBA game right now. He can contribute now, he won’t reach his full potential to later.

Added Ainge: “I think that you are missing what we have seen him do for the two years prior to this years college season. You guys know this I’m sure, but he was a guy that was projected at no.2 in the draft at this time last year … Usually those are fairly close to accurate. If a guy is not that high he is usually pretty close with a few exceptions. Jaylen was a guy we were watching for a longtime. We have seen him play against good players that are in the NBA right now with great success and be the better player. I have seen him in two draft workouts against really good college players or guys that were drafted yesterday and watch him make shots and I’m not so concerned. I am concerned with those numbers (referring to Brown’s 29 percent field goal rate). I think there are some things that with the way Cal played with two bigs all the time and with a non-shooting point guard. They didn’t have the greatest spacing. I’m not trying to make excuses for him. Jaylen is not a perfect finished product. He has been able to overpower kids throughout his time because of his body and power and explosive athleticism.

“Yeah, he’s got to make some better decisions, but again I focus on what he can do, I look at the things Jaylen Brown can do. With all these kids, we have gone through them with a fine tooth comb. We have looked at everything they have done offensively, defensively with their character, how hard they work. We look at every bit of their background; we talk to a lot of different people in regards to them, so we see the good, the bad, the ugly and the great.”

Ainge also reiterated that the Celtics did try to trade the pick before making the selection.

“Throughout this entire draft we were trying to get players and talk to most every team in the NBA for the different picks. We were still trying to trade, but we weren’t able to for a couple of reasons,” said Ainge. “I think that the difference in the NBA now, then it was even just five years ago, is that there is not very many teams that have full 15-man rosters right now and are looking to dump contracts and dump cap space because everybody has cap space for the next two years. For the next two summers you are going to see that, as the TV money has doubled the salary cap. It is a unique time where we are and those kind of deals are just harder to get. I’m not saying that you expect to get a star at 16 or 23 in the draft, but sometimes you can get an OK player … I think it is dangerous to draft a guy to just be able to have a higher trade value because first of all we don’t know who has higher trade value.”

Ainge believes that Boston is an attractive destination for free agents once the signing period begins on July 1.

“I have to believe this it is my job to sell a product, there are players out there that have shown interest in Boston in the past and we have come very very close and we didn’t lose out because we were Boston or we didn’t lose out because we didn’t have another star guy in those cases it just there is always some reason,” said Ainge. “I am still optimistic that our Boston Celtic organization and the city of Boston and our history can be an attractive place for some, even though it has never happened in the history of the Celtics with the exception of KG, which was, yes, a trade but also he had to agree to sign here on an extension before a trade was made.”

In addition, Ainge addressed how the Celtics would approach free agency.

“It is need based in free agency, but the need of a really good player at any position is a need,” said Ainge. “So it will be need based. But there will be some needs that if we strikeout a list of players that we seek our A list, we go to our B list, our C list , our D list. We will put an immediate call into Evan [Turner] out of respect if nothing else. But we do have interest in Evan, or we may use his cap space to sign a different player. We will be taking trades even before free agency begins, we are back at it today.”

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Danny Ainge defends Jaylen Brown pick, admits ‘it was a tough choice, we grew very fond of Jaylen’

06.24.16 at 8:39 am ET
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The announcement of Jaylen Brown as the Celtics’ first draft selection prompted boos and heckles on the floor of the TD Garden Thursday night. 

Owner Wyc Grousbeck even came out to try and explain the pick but was drowned out by the disappointed fans. 

Then Danny Ainge, hours after completing the draft with five more selections, came out to explain himself and the organization and what they were thinking. 

“So, there was a lot of discussion over the last couple of months with the No. 3 pick. And a lot of study and hard work by my staff. We had some, like I said, a lot of discussion and even trading that pick and trading down in the draft and trading for future picks and so forth. Ultimately, there wasn’t anything to our liking.

“We grew very fond of Jaylen. He’s a great kid; 19 years old who has a man’s body, great athleticism, sort of a vogue new type of player in the NBA, of the versatile player, the versatile wings, can play multiple positions, defensively. And we think he has a lot of upside but we think he’s a 19-year-old kid that can get on the court and play with the big boys right out of the gate.” 

To read his draft profile, click here

Was Brown always the guy at No. 3?

“No, it was a tough choice,” Ainge added. “There was a lot of good players, lot of good players at (No.) 3. So that was never really done completely. There’s a lot of different views, internally, and we went back-and-forth many many times. But everybody unanimously really liked Brown as well, there was other guys as well.”

The biggest concern is Brown’s shooting touch at Cal in his only season there as a 19-year-old. The 6-foot-7 projected wing shot only 29.4 percent from 3-point range. 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Cal, Danny Ainge

Poll: Did Celtics make right choice by taking Jaylen Brown 3rd in draft?

06.24.16 at 12:58 am ET
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The NBA draft is over and Celtics fans seem decidedly mixed on the selection of Cal forward Jaylen Brown. But don’t take our word for it. We want to hear from you. Did Danny Ainge make the right move?

Did the Celtics make the right choice keeping the third pick and selecting Jaylen Brown?

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Jaylen Brown,

Celtics make 3 selections in 2nd round

06.24.16 at 12:43 am ET
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After trading away their first two second-round picks for a lottery protected pick in 2019, the Celtics did end up making three second-round selections. 

With the 45th pick, they took Demetrius Jackson, a point guard from Notre Dame. This past season Jackson averaged 15.8 points and 4.7 assists. Jackson was projected by some to be a first-round pick, so this could be considered a good value pick for the Celtics, but it will be difficult for Jackson to earn playing time on a roster that already features Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier at the point guard position. 

At 51, the C’s went with Ben Bentil, a 6-foor-8 stretch forward from Providence. Bentil averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds this past season as a sophomore. Bentil is a decent scorer, both from the outside and attacking the basket, but struggles as a rebounder and a defender. 

With the 58th and final pick, the Celtics drafted Abdel Nader, a senior forward from Iowa State. It has been reported that Nader has agreed to play for the Maine Red Claws next year. 

Celtics trade 31st and 35th pick to Memphis for 2019 lottery protected first-round pick

06.23.16 at 11:05 pm ET
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As first reported by ESPN, the Celtics have traded the 31st and 35th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft to the Memphis Grizzlies for the Los Angeles Clippers first-round pick in 2019, which the Grizzlies owned. The 2019 pick is lottery protected and will only convey if it falls between 15 and 30. The pick is also lottery protected in 2020 and will turn into a second-round pick in 2022 if it is not conveyed by then. 


Celtics go international again at No. 23 by selecting Croatian center Ante Zizic

06.23.16 at 10:19 pm ET
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Another pick, another foreigner for the Celtics.

Seven picks after selecting French big man Guerschon Yabusele with the 16th overall pick, the Celtics tabbed Croatian center Ante Zizic at No. 23.

Zizic, 19, averaged 14.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game with Cibona overseas. He could end up being another draft-and-stash player for the C’s, continuing his development in Europe. He is considered a banger inside who possesses legitimate NBA toughness.

No idea if this is an joke account, but it sounds plausible that former Celtics big man Dino Radja would be on board with this pick.

Read More: Ante Zizic, Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Celtics rumors

Jaylen Brown learned first-hand about NBA intensity during recent 1-on-1 game with Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler

06.23.16 at 9:48 pm ET
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Jaylen Brown has the athleticism to excel in the NBA. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

Jaylen Brown has the athleticism to excel in the NBA. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

Jaylen Brown learned about NBA intensity from a name Celtics fans lusted after — Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler.

Because Brown and Butler share a trainer, they worked out together before the draft. A workout turned into a game one of one-on-one. They planned to play three.

“We went tooth and nail at it. … I guess he thought it would be easy, and then somebody won the first game and then he wanted to keep going,” Brown told reporters in New York. “And so we kept going after that, then he won the second, then he won the third, then I won the fourth, and we ended up playing all the way to 21.”

Brown wouldn’t reveal who won, but he’ll have a chance to renew acquaintances with Butler and the rest of the NBA’s most versatile swingmen after being selected third overall by the Celtics in Thursday’s NBA draft.

“Boston is a great city full of culture, full of life, education, things that mean a lot to me,” Brown said. “I’m super excited. I cannot wait to get there and can’t wait to get everything started, can’t wait for the season to start, and I’m happy to be a part of the family.”

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Celtics, Celtics draft
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