|Austin Ainge walks fine line in pre-draft workouts||06.02.15 at 6:03 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Austin Ainge is walking a tightrope at this time of year.
It’s the time of year when the Celtics‘ director of player personnel has to watch what he says about every prospective draft pick that comes through the door of the team’s practice facility for pre-draft workouts.
On Tuesday, another four, all point guard prospects worked out for Brad Stevens, Ainge and his father Danny, showing off their skills. One of them, Olivier Hanlan, is very familiar to Boston and New England fans, as he played three seasons at Boston College. Another, Andrew Harrison has declared for the draft after two stellar seasons at Kentucky, including a national title game appearance in 2014 and run at immortality this spring before UK lost to Wisconsin in the national semis.
Also on hand was Louisville guard Terry Frazier and Tennessee’s Josh Richardson. Another, Corey Walden out of Eastern Kentucky suffered a minor hamstring injury early on and had to sit out most of it and another missed his flight because of weather issues.
But when asked his impressions, Ainge was coy because he has to be.
“When you guys ask me questions about the guys, I say like one positive sentence about everybody,” Ainge said. “Really, what else can I do? If I say anything negative, their agents will be mad at me. If I get too glowing, you guys [will write about it].”
Where does Ainge get his background info?
“We ask the players. Obviously, the [other NBA] teams won’t tell us. So we ask, ‘Hey, where did you work out last? Who was there? How’d they look?’ So we ask them. They’re allowed to tell the truth.
|Austin Ainge is sold on Shabazz Napier as an NBA point guard: ‘He’s going to make it’||06.17.14 at 1:05 am ET|
WALTHAM — The Celtics may or may not get a chance to take Shabazz Napier in the June 26 NBA draft. But team personnel executive Austin Ainge made one thing clear his opinion Monday after Napier’s workout for the team: Napier will be playing somewhere in the NBA eventually.
“Shabazz is so clever and shifty,” Ainge said. “He is very hard to stay in front of because he really changes directions very well. He’s quick but he is even shiftier than he is quick. He’s very clever and he can make shots.
“Shabazz is not physically overwhelming, but he has toughness, intelligence and skill and that extra savvy, so he more than makes up for it. He’s going to make it is my guess. He’s a good player.”
Napier stands just 5-feet-11 and weighs 180 pounds, with a wingspan just over 6-feet-3 and a reach of 7-feet-9. But to Ainge and the Celtics, his ability to lead a winning program on the court has its own rewards in the eyes of basketball evaluators.
“It’s big. It’s big,” Ainge said. “We all can look at physical tools. But the league is full of guys that don’t fit most athletic, physical but still are successful. Shabazz certainly checks the box as to how well physically he can play.”
But those numbers certainly don’t count for everything, like winning two national championships at one of the most prestigious college basketball programs in the country — UConn — and staying at school and playing all four years.
“You can certainly see it,” Ainge said of Napier’s pure skill. “It’s obvious watching Shabazz. Then I think it’s measured in all the other stats. He gets assists, points in the paint and his teams win. All those things can be measured.
“In a college game you learn a lot. But in this, you learn different things. We’re putting him against NBA athletes in NBA positions. That’s probably the biggest advantage for us.”
|Austin Ainge named Red Claws head coach||07.21.09 at 4:26 pm ET|
Austin Ainge, son of Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge, has been named head coach of the Portland Red Claws. He is the first head coach in the history of this NBA Development League team.
‘I have always been intrigued by new ideas and innovation,’ Red Claws President and General Manager Jon Jennings said in a team statement. ‘Austin Ainge brings that to our team. He blew me away with his ability to analyze players and game strategy. When I was a young coach with the Celtics, video was the new revolution. Today, it’s statistical analysis. Austin brings that to a whole new level. Combine that with his ability to develop players and his background, and he is going to be a fantastic head coach.’
Ainge, 27, most recently served as a scout for the Celtics. His responsibilities included working with J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker while they were assigned to the D-League’s Utah Flash. Ainge served as an assistant coach at Southern Utah University after finishing his basketball career at Brigham Young University.
‘I have had the unique opportunity to be on many sides of this business,’ Ainge said in the statement. ‘A main focus for me, as I have drawn from each situation, is talent evaluation. That includes both as the team is being assembled and during the season. As a coach, you must focus on which plays to call and what defensive adjustments to make, but even more important is which players are your best players and which lineups are playing the best together. Evaluating your own players and lineups is paramount, and using statistical analysis is a big help in making more accurate evaluations.’
The Red Claws are the NBDL affiliate for the Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats.
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