Danny Ainge expects he’ll stay put at Nos. 6 and 17
|06.26.14 at 7:40 pm ET|
For all the speculation on possible trades up and down in the first round, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he’ll like stay put with his two first-round picks. Of course, he made that prediction 90 minutes before the first pick of the 2014 NBA draft.
“There’s been a lot of conversation over the last month,” Ainge said of the interest from other teams looking to move up to take Boston’s first pick at No. 6 overall. “A lot of discussions regarding trading of the picks. Trading up, trading back, trading for players. Big deals, little deals. We’re ready for some different scenarios but just like all trade deadlines, the draft really isnt a deadline, but it is a time where you’ve got to make a decision to take the pick or trade it. Probably it looks like most likely that we’ll keep it.”
Ainge, who said he has “processed” all of the medical information on Joel Embiid, said there’s been “a lot more” dialogue on picks this year compared to last year.
“Quite a few real conversations, but a lot that end in a phone call,” Ainge said. “A yes or a no. Some go a little bit deeper. Two or three phone calls. Some even deeper.”
If Embiid is available, will Ainge be tempted?
“We have processed the information. And I believe in my medical staff. And that’s all,” Ainge said.
Then Ainge was asked to characterize this group of NBA talent.
“I think early in the year, I said it’s a little bit over-hyped,” Ainge said. “I think midway through the year i thought it was still over-hyped. Part of that is maybe the player in me. Like, ‘C’mon let these kids be kids.’ None of these guys are franchise-turners and I still believe that. Everything I said I still believe.
“I’ve always believed, just like in every draft, there are going to be players that are good, guys that can start, guys that can play in rotations on championship teams. There will be a couple of them. Two or three or four maybe that can become NBA All-Stars. I wish I knew which one of those that would be. I think that when you start making comp to Lebron James and Kevin Durant to kids before they’d even played a game in college, that’s sort of unfair. And that’s sort of what they hype was that I was referring to as over-hyped.
“Let’s let them prove it before we start making comparisons. I do feel like we’re going to get a good player at six. A player that I think can be a starter in the NBA. How good they become, time will tell. Players that we’ll be excited about adding to our roster, but players I’m not expected to turn us into an immediate winner by themselves.”
Uncertainty at top?
I think last year’s draft there was some uncertaintly as to what was happening there at the top. There are other drafts, the Rondo draft with Lamarcus Aldridge, Tyrus Thomas, and Bagnarni were the top picks, there was some uncertainty there. It’s not that uncommon that there’s no certainty with who’s going one or two or three.
If you pick at No. 6 and 17, mean you’re in for a longer rebuild?
I think our initial goal when the season ended was to try to expedite a rebuilding process. I don’t think by taking No. 6 and 17 that that has ended. We’ve always been comfortable with No. 6 and 17 and knew that was the most likely scenario. But you can’t rush something that’s not there. We’ll take that first step tonight and continue to throughout the summer and see what opportunities are there. We’ll try to remain opportunistic.
Chance you end up with another pick? higher or lower?
Sure. Probably not higher. I think those have pretty much been exhausted at this point. I wouldn’t say definitely not.
Consensus around what’s there at 6?
I think we have a consensus. Over the last couple weeks, I make it my job to know everybody’s perspective on players, what they think, how they rank players. I meet with them individually, we go through film, we talk through their opinions, we meet collectively. I do believe at this point today for sure with our first pick that we have a consensus order. There’s really close calls. There’s been differences of opinions that we’ve come together on. At 17, there’s not as much of a consensus but there’s just so much uncertainty.
One guy who stands out at 6?
I think we’ve gone through every scenario. Whatever scenario comes before, we’re prepared with a consensus.