|06.30.15 at 11:42 am ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge introduced the team’s 2015 draft class at a press conference Tuesday at the team’s practice facility in Waltham.
With Ainge and the Celtics taking a lot of heat since the draft about potentially overrating Rozier, who they selected at No. 16 overall, much of the dialogue centered around the Louisville guard and how he managed to move so far up the C’s draft board.
“It started in my college career, I just got in a lot of work in the gym,” Rozier told reporters. “I left a lot of coaches with great impressions then I came here. I just work hard and show what I can do, which is toughness, defense, showing I can shoot the ball a little better than my college stats show. … I’m just excited to be playing for a … great franchise with 17 world titles and just to meet my new teammates and get it started.”
Ainge followed up to Rozier’s answer, saying he was always high on the team’s draft board. Rozier averaged a team-leading 17.1 points per game last year.
“He was always that high on our draft board,” Ainge said. “For the last couple months he’s been a guy that we had known and looked about and thought was very underrated based on the media and how they perceived him. Terry, because of the quality of player he is, was moving up rapidly in the last few weeks of the draft process as far as the attention he was getting around the league and that started scaring us because we thought we had a diamond in the rough that nobody really was valuing all that much.”
Though many expected the Celtics to emerge from the draft with solid, rim-protecting big men, Ainge surprised many when he selected guards with three out of his four picks. When asked about how he can set himself apart on a guard-heavy roster, Rozier conversely described how he intends to fit in with the rest of the Celtics’ roster.
|06.29.15 at 10:04 am ET|
The Celtics are expected to inquire about almost every available name this summer, so their rumored interest in Greg Monroe and Al-Farouq Aminu should come as no surprise in the days leading up to the July 1 free agent frenzy.
The 6-foot-11, 253-pound Monroe will meet with the Celtics, Blazers, Bucks, Knicks and Lakers this week, according to The Advocate in Baton Rouge. The Louisiana native averaged 15.9 points (54.9 true shooting percentage), 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game for the Pistons this past season, producing a 21.2 player efficiency rating.
Monroe certainly fulfills a rebounding need for the Celtics, ranking among the league’s top 20 in both offensive rebound percentage (11.2) and defensive rebound percentage (25.1). He is an adept scorer inside of 8 feet, where he made more than 90 percent of his successful field goals.
However, Monroe isn’t an elite defender, as opponents shoot a robust 55.1 percent at the rim against him. For reference sake, Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass all held opponents to a lower field goal percentage at the rim. Monroe also doesn’t have the floor-spacing ability that Celtics coach Brad Stevens seems to covet, as the big man converted just 34.8 percent of his 92 shots outside of 8 feet.
|06.26.15 at 3:20 pm ET|
ESPN basketball insider Jeff Goodman appeared on Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about the Celtics and the rest of the NBA draft. To listen to the interview, visit the MFB audio on demand page.
Goodman was highly critical of the Celtics‘ selection of Terry Rozier with the 16th pick of the draft. Goodman acknowledged that general manager Danny Ainge tried to move up to a higher pick, but Goodman was disappointed with the choice of Rozier when those efforts did not prove fruitful.
“I really like Terry Rozier at 16, but not for the Celtics. I think it was just the wrong pick,” Goodman said. “I’m usually a big fan of Ainge and how he drafts. Not a great shooter. My take is they’ve already got mediocre-shooting perimeter guys. Combo guards, they’ve got plenty of them. Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and now you add Terry Rozier to the mix.”
As a result of this apparent logjam at the guard position, it seems likely that more roster moves are on the horizon. According to Goodman, the Celtics are looking to trade guards but have found that the current Celtics may not have much value.
“I don’t know if they have enough value that you can move Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart right now. I think they’re trying,” he said. “From what teams have told me, Marcus Smart is on the block, but he doesn’t have quite enough value, so it’s going to be interesting to see if Ainge does make a move.”
Goodman said that, given the players still on the board at 16, the Celtics should have taken Wisconsin swingman Sam Dekker.
“I think Dekker was the best talent and he fit the best need at that point. He’s a 6-foot-9 3-man who’s pretty athletic and showed last year in the NCAA tournament, he might have been the best player up until the national title game. … just feel like Dekker was worth the risk, his upside is higher,” Goodman said.
On the whole, the Celtics didn’t do much to better themselves on draft night, according to Goodman.
“I just don’t know how much the Celtics helped themselves right now. I think Danny Ainge is probably frustrated because he felt like they had an opportunity to do so. … Terry Rozier, today, can’t beat out Avery Bradley or Marcus Smart,” he said.
The Celtics also owned the 28th pick in the draft. They used it to select Georgia State shooting guard R.J. Hunter, who hit one of the most memorable shots of this year’s NCAA tournament. Goodman was more impressed with the Celtics’ second selection, despite the fact that Hunter, scouted to be a great shooter, made only 30.5 percent of his 3-point attempts last season.
“I know the numbers don’t necessarily make him look like he’s a knockdown shooter, but he really is. He’s probably the third- or fourth-best shooter that came out of this draft, maybe even better. I like R.J. a lot. .. . I think he can help. He can help because he gives you something you really don’t have, which is a perimeter shooter,” Goodman said.
Despite the dissatisfaction with the front office’s draft performance, Goodman remains optimistic that the Celtics can improve later in the offseason, either via trade or free agency.
“I haven’t given up on this offseason,” he said. “Danny Ainge is still one of the better guys in terms of making deals out there. He’s active, he’s smart.”
|06.26.15 at 12:20 pm ET|
The Celtics surprised almost everyone by grabbing Louisville point guard Terry Rozier with their first pick in Thursday’s draft, and followed that by taking George State shooting guard R.J. Hunter, LSU power forward Jordan Mickey and William & Mary point guard Marcus Thornton.
Did Danny Ainge do the right thing by taking the players he considered the most talented available, or was it a mistake to load up with undersized guards on a team that already has a plethora of undersized guards?
What grade do you give Danny Ainge on the Celtics' 2015 draft?
- C (36%, 131 Votes)
- D (29%, 104 Votes)
- F (17%, 63 Votes)
- B (16%, 58 Votes)
- A (1%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 361
|06.26.15 at 1:17 am ET|
In the end, moving up into the prized Top 10 of the 2015 NBA draft was not in the cards for Danny Ainge.
“I’m not disappointed,” said the Celtics president of basketball operations. “We tried. It just didn’t happen.
“We tried hard. We tried hard to trade up. We spent the last couple of weeks trying to move, and really today was the only time we had any indication that we could move up. But we were trying. At the end of the day, it’s like Red used to say, sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make. Maybe we were going too hard at it. And there was a time when I thought, ‘Whoa, this is getting a little out of control. We’re putting a lot of eggs in one young player’s basket.’
“So, I’m not frustrated. And, in the long run maybe it’ll be the best.”
The “one young player’s basket” may be a reference to the rumor of the Celtics’ effort to move up to No. 9 earlier in the day, trying reportedly to nab small forward Justise Winslow of Duke. There were reports that the team was going to part with Jared Sullinger and ship him to Charlotte. Sullinger had reportedly even followed the Hornets on Twitter and stopped following the Celtics.
Ainge could only laugh.
“The fans feed into what’s being written and said a lot, too,” Ainge said. “I did say we would try to move up. The price was way too high. There’s so many rumors out there. There are so many things are being said and written that aren’t even close to being true, that are just made-up stories. No sources and fake sources and people get caught up in these rumors and their expectations grow even higher. Don’t you think?”
Did he come close? “Yeah, we thought we were close,” Ainge said.
Instead, Ainge stayed put and made selections at all four of his spots going into the night. He took Terry Rozier at No. 16, R.J. Hunter at No. 28, Jordan Mickey at No. 33 and Marcus Thornton at No. 45. Three of them, Rozier, Hunter and Thornton are guards, adding to an already crowded and jumbled backcourt.
“Listen, it all comes down to how good the players are that we have,” Ainge said. “It doesn’t matter what I say about it. We’ll just wait and see how good they are. We like the guys we have and I think our fans are going to enjoy them.”
Ainge had said he was looking for quality over quantity, and was not likely to make all four picks. He reiterated Thursday that he won’t be able to keep all four picks on the active roster, instead will try to stash them in Europe.
“No, we don’t have room on the roster for all four guys, most likely,” Ainge admitted. “We probably don’t have room for them so we’ll work out deals where guys can play overseas in some of the situations.”
|06.26.15 at 12:47 am ET|
Terry Rozier will have his hands full to make the Celtics crowded backcourt.
But listening to the 21-year-old product of Louisville, the guard is more than up for the challenge.
“I came in for two workouts so I had a pretty good feeling about it,” Rozier said during a conference call after being selected with Boston’s first of two first-round picks. “It worked out well. Danny Ainge is a great guy. Stevens is a real great guy. He’s really interactive with his guys. It was just amazing.”
With names like Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart already on the roster, Rozier will have to battle with those veterans and fellow rookies R.J. Hunter (Georgia State) and Marcus Thornton (William and Mary) to make an impression.
“I’m very excited,” Rozier said. “I know the tradition. Fans are crazy about basketball. And I’m just to excited to be a part of something like this. I’m just to ready to bring something to the table.
“It’s kind of the same thing I went through with a lot of guards when [Louisville] won the national championship [in 2013]. I just want to come in and bring the Celtics the same kind of defense, find my way to fit on the floor and compete. That’s my thing. I’m not worried about who’s there. I’m worried about how can I get on the floor and things like that.”
One of the big influences, naturally, has been his coach at Louisville and former Celtics coach Rick Pitino.
“He was a big help,” Rozier said. “He helped me relax. He knows the area [in Boston]. He talked to me every day. He was a guy in my corner, in my ear, just giving me the confidence.”
|06.25.15 at 11:18 pm ET|
The Celtics selected LSU sophomore power forward Jordan Mickey with the No. 33 pick, the first of their two selections in the second round.
The C’s added William & Mary senior point guard Marcus Thornton with the 45th pick, their fourth and final selection of the night.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Mickey averaged 15.4 points (50.4 FG%), 9.9 rebounds, 3.6 blocks and 1.3 assists in 34.9 minutes over 31 games, leading the Tigers to an NCAA Tournament berth. For WEEI.com’s draft prospect profile on Mickey, click here.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Thornton averaged 20.0 points (45.6 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 83.0 FT%), 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 36.7 minutes over 33 games.
Stevens said he expects all of the team’s picks to compete in summer league play.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Austin Ainge Offers Window to C's Pre-Draft Process
- Trade Possibilities for C's with Draft Approaching
- Latest Buzz Surrounding Jamal Crawford, Kristaps Porzingis, Celtics'...
- Latest NBA Trade Rumors, Buzz
- Ranking Celtics' Biggest NBA Draft Needs
- Buzz Surrounding Ty Lawson, Celtics Draft Plans and More
- Realistic Targets for Celtics to Chase During Offseason