|Austin Ainge to lottery-bound players: ‘We’ll figure out who is confident in their pick range’||05.19.16 at 11:27 am ET|
WALTHAM – One takeaway from the news that Kris Dunn reportedly doesn’t want to be chosen by the Celtics with the third pick is that he and his handlers are fairly confident that he’ll be the first guard taken.
This nugget is of keen interest to the Celtics, and in particular director of player personnel Austin Ainge.
“Over the next little while we’ll figure out who is confident in their pick range and who wants to come in and who doesn’t,” Ainge said Wednesday after the Celtics held pre-draft workouts for several prospects. “The picks between 3 and 16, there’ll probably be a couple of guys who’ll say, ‘We’re not going 3, we’re not going 16, so we’re not going to come in.’ So, there’ll probably be a couple.”
Now Ainge and the Celtics can narrow down the pre-draft field to those players they are targeting.
“We’ll start that coming up here,” Ainge said. “Probably a little of both but we’ll have to see.”
In addition to owning the third overall pick, the Celtics have the 16th and 23rd picks in the first round and five picks in the second round.
“The higher the draft pick, you have a better chance,” Ainge said. “There’s going to be really good players available at 16, there’s going to be really good players available at 23. It’s just harder to identify in that range. It’s a little harder. We’re going to work really hard to do the best we can.”
Ainge’s comments Wednesday were interesting because they came before the news of Dunn’s wish not be drafted by the Celtics came out.
With the Celtics in the market for a wing shooter and rim protector, a guard wouldn’t seem to be at the top of their list. But Danny Ainge said Tuesday after the lottery that his objective would be to take the best player available with the third overall pick. If the Celtics are looking at guards, especially later in the draft, the ideal situation would be to get a lot of them on the court at the same time to compete against one another.
To do that, the Celtics must first contact those players who have already hired agents and get in touch with others who have not.
“Everything has been on hold for a lot of the guys that feel they’re in the range for No. 3 until the lottery and so, we’ll start those negotiations with the agents coming up here,” Austin Ainge said. “So, I don’t know yet, to be honest.”
The Celtics may take a long, hard look at Kris Dunn as a candidate for their third overall pick in the upcoming draft.
But the feeling may not be mutual.
According to veteran NBA scribe and Yahoo Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski, those handling the star point guard out of Providence don’t want him working out for or being taken by Boston.
The reason is simple. The Celtics already have an established point guard in Isaiah Thomas and the possibility of moving Thomas to the ‘2’ guard is iffy at best. It’s the same case in Phoenix, which has Eric Bledsoe running the point.
Why is this such a big deal?
At 6-foot-4 and having played in the guard-heavy Big East, Dunn is regarded as the best point guard in this class, with draft projections have him going anywhere from third to sixth. Dunn didn’t take a physical at the Chicago combine, so the possibility exists that he could withhold medical information from the teams in addition to not meeting with or working out for them.
“They can’t stop them from drafting Dunn, but will those teams do it without his medical records, without a personal workout, without an interview with him? Because I’m told Boston and Phoenix will likely have to do that with Dunn,” Wojnarowski said in his “The Vertical” podcast.
It’s going to be fascinating to see what the Celtics do because they could theoretically trade with the point-less Sixers, who are reportedly dying to get out of the No. 1 spot and drop to No. 3 and draft Dunn as their point guard of the future. The Celtics would assumedly love to move up to the top spot and get Brandon Ingram and certainly have the equity to do so, with eight draft picks, including three in the first round.
If the Celtics hold at No. 3, they are likely to target 18-year-old Dragen Bender, the 7-foot Croatian wing shooter they could use. Danny Ainge said Tuesday after the lottery that if the Celtics hold onto their No. 3 pick, they will take the best player available, and Bender would seem to fit that mold more than Dunn in terms of their needs.
|Celtics host pair of pre-draft sessions Wednesday, working out Josh Hart, Abdul-Malik Abu, Trevon Bluiett||05.18.16 at 10:13 am ET|
WALTHAM – Now that the Celtics know they’re selecting third in the June 23 draft, they can get back to working out potential future players.
They will be busy Wednesday with two workout sessions. In the first one, they’ll get a look at Marblehead, Mass. native Abdul-Malik Abu, from NC State, Trevon Bluiett (Xavier), Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin), Malik Pope (San Diego State), Zhou Qi (China) and James Webb III (Boise State).
In the second workout, they’ll get a look at Josh Hart from national champion Villanova, as well as DeAndre Bembry (St. Joseph’s), Malcolm Brogdan (Virginia), Jake Layman (Maryland), Abdel Nader (Iowa State) and Taurean Prince (Baylor).
Isaiah Thomas might not have brought home one of the top two picks in the NBA draft, but he did bring a little perspective.
In the wake of missing out on the top two picks in the NBA draft, it was the Celtics’ good luck charm of a point guard who, after sitting in the conference room of the Midtown Hilton in Manhattan, reminded everyone that a very good player can still be had at No. 3.
“Man, the No. 3 pick. Wasn’t Jordan No. 3? Say no more after that,” Thomas told Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com.
Indeed, Michael Jordan was selected third overall by the Bulls in the 1984 draft.
What, of course, remains to be seen is how the 2016 class compares with the ’84 class, which featured three Hall of Hamers in the top five picks. Hakeem Olajuwon went first overall to the Rockets. Sam Bowie was selected second by Portland. Jordan went third to the Bulls, followed by Sam Perkins to Dallas and Charles Barkley to Philadelphia. Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley are enshrined in Springfield.
How deep was that class? Another Hall of Famer, John Stockton, was taken 16th overall by Utah. There’s also recent results to suggest that you don’t have to land the top two picks to come away with a haul.
|Mike Petraglia, Sam Packard on Celtics No 3 pick in NBA Draft Lottery||05.17.16 at 11:48 pm ET|
WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Sam Packard discuss what the Celtics and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will do now that their lot in the 2016 NBA draft is sealed after finishing third in the NBA lottery held Tuesday night in New York City. The Celtics will pick after the Philadelphia 76ers (No. 1) and the Los Angeles Lakers (No. 2). Will the Celtics keep their pick or trade it away? How hard will that be?
WALTHAM — In the end, the Celtics and Kelly Olynyk had seen enough from his right shoulder.
The team and the player decided to make the decision this week to have surgery to repair an injury that hampered the 7-footer in the final two months of the season and in the final three games of the playoff series against the Hawks.
The team also indicated that Olynyk will begin an immediate rehabilitation program and the time frame for his return to basketball activities has not yet been determined.
“It wasn’t a certain shoulder surgery,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Tuesday night. “It wasn’t an easy decision but Kelly’s shoulder just [had] a lot of movement, slipping in and out. I think everybody finally concluded there’s no guarantee it was going to get better without surgery. Through a summer of rehab, there’s still a risk of it slipping in and out of play. So, he chose and we chose collectively for him to get surgery and try to end it once and for all.
“Usually this shoulder surgery is five months [for rehab]. I’ll let you do the month. Every player is different. Every situation is different. That’s approximate.”
If the timetable is indeed five months, that would put Olynyk out until mid-October, the middle of preseason. If all goes well, he should be ready for the start of the regular season.
Olynyk initially injured the shoulder on Feb. 10 against the Clippers. He missed 14 games before returning for the rest of the season. He re-injured the shoulder in Game 1 against the Hawks and missed Games 2 and 3. He was severely limited in his return to action in Games 4, 5 and 6.
Olynyk, who completed his third year with the team, averaged 10.0 points, including shooting 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20.2 minutes per game during the 2015-16 regular season. At the time of the injury, Olynyk was leading the team in 3-point shooting and his ability to stretch the floor and spread the offense was noticeable when he was not on the court.
Olynyk recorded a season-high 28 points on 11-21 (.524) shooting from the field, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block on Dec. 11 against the Golden State Warriors.
WALTHAM – Danny Ainge wanted to be perfectly clear Tuesday after being awarded the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA draft lottery in New York City. The Celtics president of basketball operations was disappointed at missing out on the top two picks, yes, but not devastated to tears.
So before taking any questions, he decided to get out ahead of the questions that were coming about his red eyes.
“And by the way, I have allergies. I haven’t been crying up in my office. My eyes are puffy,” Ainge said. “Anybody have any questions?”
Then the questions began. With Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram apparently just out of their reach, what are the plans for the third overall pick?
“We don’t know that yet. We’ll obviously explore that,” Ainge said. “We’re in the middle of that process right now of figuring out who’s in the draft and who’s the best fit for us. We’ll also probably get some calls for that pick I’m guessing, so there’ll be discussion of that too. But right now we’re really in the mode of preparing for the draft.”
The level of disappointment?
“Hey, listen, there’s a lot more things to be disappointed about in this life,” Ainge said. “It could have been worse and it could have been better. It is what it is and we’ll move on and do the best we can to build a great team.”
Still, behind closed doors in the Celtics training facility in Waltham, there was disappointment. But there was no cursing Isaiah Thomas for being in the lottery room in New York and not bringing home the big prize.
“There were some groans. I think the buildup, once we weren’t sixth and we weren’t five and we weren’t four, there was a lot of hope that we could get a good pick,” Ainge said. “But we’ll take it. We’ll give Isaiah a passing grade. We’ll keep him.”
The second level after Ingram and Simmons starts with names like Dragan Bender of Croatia, Jamaal Murray, Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield.
“Last year at this time I think everybody saw that and it sort of changed between what everybody thought at this time and what happened in the draft,” Ainge said. “So it’s still too early. There’s still a lot of evaluation. When you’re looking and evaluating in some cases 18 and 19-year-old kids there’s a lot that changes between the end of their college careers and the draft, so I wouldn’t say anything is in stone in how the draft order is gonna go. We’ll just evaluate them all and see how it falls.”
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