|06.26.09 at 2:09 am ET|
If it were up to Danny Ainge, he would have spent the past month quietly preparing for the NBA Draft. Instead, the Celtics GM has been battling questions, trade rumors and speculations.
After midnight on Friday morning, a weary Ainge addressed the media. It was more than just the end of Draft Night. For Ainge, it was a temporary sigh of relief.
‘I think there’s so much competition in the media for any new story and something exciting, and so it does get old from my perspective of having to answer so many [questions],’ he said via teleconference following the draft. ‘We’re just sitting in there doing very boring work, watching videotape all day, and everyone else is out there making up stories and making up rumors. We’re just trying to get ready to draft the 58th pick and get ready for all of the options that may come our way.’
Without a first-round pick in this year’s draft, talks had been centered around the possibility of trading up. Starters Ray Allen, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo had all been mentioned in rumors to snag a lottery pick. Many left Ainge baffled.
‘There was many rumors that had my head scratching a little bit,’ he said. ‘Most of them are either made up or completely distorted or three weeks late.’
As it turns out, the Celtics did not come close to trading up to the first round. While they had conversations about moving up in the second round, Ainge said he is ‘grateful’ Lester Hudson was still available at the 58th spot.
While tired of dispelling rumors, Ainge did address a hot topic of conversation — his recent interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show in which he revealed the Celtics had fined Rondo for tardiness and said he did not believe the point guard is a max contract player right now. Those comments sparked further trade speculation.
“We’re not trading Rondo,” Ainge attested. “We love Rondo. We always have. We love him more today than the day we drafted him. He’s not perfect and he’s a young player that needs to get better. And we don’t like it when you’re late.”
Now that the draft is over and lottery pick rumors have been put to rest, Ainge can get back to business. Next up is free agency and building a team for the Orlando Summer League in July.
‘It’s good to be over and now I’m sure we’ll get questions and answers about all of the trades possibilities and free agents and all those kinds of rumors,’ Ainge said. ‘So that’s not a fun part of the job, but it’s part of the job.’
|06.26.09 at 12:43 am ET|
Danny Ainge just spoke to the press on a post-draft conference call and reaffirmed his affection for point guard Rajon Rondo.
“We’re not trading Rondo,” Ainge said. “We love Rondo. We always have. He’s not perfect. He’s a young player that has to get better. We just don’t like it when you’re late.”
|06.25.09 at 11:58 pm ET|
The Celtics have made their selection and they have chosen Lester Hudson a guard from Tennessee-Martin. Hudson has an intriguing backstory. A scoring machine at UTM, Hudson is 24 years old, which dropped his draft stock. More on the pick coming later this evening.
|06.25.09 at 11:50 pm ET|
Leading up the Draft Night there was chatter of Ricky Rubio’s preference to play in a big market. Minnesota certainly isn’t one, and now the flashy point guard may return to Spain.
Rubio’s father, Esteve, told the MARCA.com in Spanish, “With this pick, it is possible that Ricky will play a year or two more in Europe.”
He added, “He can still go, he can stay a year … and until two. Everything is open, although the most probable is continuing in Europe for some time. We have to talk with the people in Minnesota … and to see what happens, because, at this time, we can be in Minnesota or in another place.”
The Timberwolves selected Rubio with the fifth overall pick in Thursday’s draft. They took another point guard, Jonny Flynn, with the following pick.
Rubio noted on his Twitter page, “Ser el #5 del draft es increÃble. ¡Estoy muy contento! Be the 5th pick in the NBA draft is incredible. ¡I’m very happy!”
|06.25.09 at 11:01 pm ET|
Leave it to the Spurs to take the most productive college player this side of top pick Blake Griffin (and in the second round, no less). With the 37th pick, San Antonio selected Pitt’s DeJuan Blair who was merely the best player in the Big East and who dominated No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet in their matchups.
Blair’s knees gave teams cause for concern, but he never should have fallen this far.
Two other Big East players–DaJuan Summers from Georgetown (Detroit) and Sam Young from Pitt (Memphis)–went just ahead of Blair. Summers also seems like a steal, while Young is one of the oldest players in the draft.
The Celtics pick is No. 58 and we’ll have more when they make their selection.
|06.25.09 at 10:24 pm ET|
– Jrue Holiday was the highest-rated player left in the Green Room, but the UCLA product may have found a perfect fit with Philly, who took him at No. 17. Holiday isn’t ready to step in and start, but Andre Miller is an unrestricted free agent and Holliday may get a chance to be in the rotation and eventually take over if he develops.
— Austin Daye, son of ex-Celtic Darren Daye, could have been a top five pick if he had gone back to Gonzaga and developed his game. The Pistons did well to get him at 15.
— DeJuan Blair will make a lot of teams look silly for passing on him. The kid was a dominant force at Pitt. Yes, he’s undersized from a height standpoint, but he’s incredibly strong and his production was off the charts. The Bulls went with two bigs–James Johnson and Taj Gibson and I’d be surprised if either wind up as good as Blair.
— Wayne Ellington at No. 28? Sorry, Jay Bilas. Too high. (By the way, is there any pick the ESPN panel doesn’t like?)
— Free Darko? Mr. Millic might have actually found a home in New York.
— Did Stu Scott really call Shaq the best passing big man in the league? Oy.
|06.25.09 at 7:43 pm ET|
– And we’re underway. The Clippers kicked off the 2009 NBA Draft by taking Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin, who is the only sure thing in the draft. Griffin should be an immediate impact player provided the Clips can trade away at least one of the following veteran big men: Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman or Zach Randolph.
— Jay Bilas just added “Beasted” to the lexicon, as in: DeJuan Blair beasted Hasheem Thabeet. Let’s hope he retires that one post-haste. Thabeet is the easy winner for 2009’s awesomest suit award, however. Blinding. So far the draft is unfolding in an orderly manner. This makes me nervous.
— OKC takes James Harden No. 3. Harden is the Blake Griffin of 2-guards in this draft in that he is very likely to be good and in a perfect world could be excellent. Now we begin the Ricky Rubio watch.
— So the Kings are sitting there with both Rubio (whom my girl friend said looked scruffy in a Zac Efron way. I have no idea what that means) and Tyreke Evans from Memphis by way of the Philly suburbs. What to do? The pick is in and it’s Evans. Stu Scott keeps insisting that Evans is a point guard. I’m not so sure about that, but he is a player.
— Ru-bio! Ru-bio! Boy he did NOT look happy to go to Minnesota. Does this mean the Bassy Telfair era is over? Did it ever begin? “I’m Ricky Rubio. I’m not like anybody else.” Quote of the draft so far.
— Ooooh shocker! There’s no way Minnesota is taking Jonny Flynn too. This has to be for somebody else, right? Right? Interestingly, Ric Bucher just said they’re keeping both players. This provides some protection in case Rubio’s buyout gets complicated.
— Booooooooo! Golden State takes Stephen Curry, which leads to a forced Stu Scott joke and lets the New York fans do what they do best on draft night. I know New York fans fixated on Curry, but I’m not so sure he’ll be much more than a 3-point specialist. So who do the Knicks take here? We’ve hit the nobody knows portion of the draft.
— Jordan Hill is it. Safe pick. Boooooo!
— Here come the freshmen. The Raptors took DeMar DeRozen who could be really, really good or really, really meh. Bilas is trying to equate DeRozen with Amare Stoudemire because they both went No. 9, which is a huge reach. It’s a good fit for DeRozen though because the Raps have no one on the wing.
— Milwaukee takes Brandon Jennings, who I wrote about the other day. Right now Jennings is interesting because of his circumstances, i.e. skipping college and playing in Europe. Jeff Van Gundy just made a good point that Jennings is fortunate to play for Scott Skiles, who is not the easiest coach to play for but that’s probably what he needs right now. Wonder what this means for Ramon Sessions?
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