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Danny Ainge provides some insight on where he’s headed with No. 3: Be the best ‘without selling out’ 05.23.16 at 3:10 pm ET
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Jan 26, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge looks on prior to the game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Ainge has lots to consider before the June 23 draft. (Russ Isabella/USA Today Sports)

If you’re wondering what Danny Ainge is thinking heading into June 23, think long-term instead of short-term. 

Appearing on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final Sunday night, the president of basketball operations for the Celtics suggested that there’s a lot to consider when weighing trading the No. 3 pick or holding onto it for the best player available at that spot. 

“[The pick] certainly doesn’t have the same cachet in trade conversations, in trying to get better quicker, so that sets that back a little bit. Or we’d have to give up more [talent as part of a trade],” Ainge told the show. “I think that there are good players, if we end up using that draft pick. We’re excited about the potential players.”

So, it appears that Ainge is suggesting that making any trade to bring back a reasonable piece would involve trading one of his existing pieces, not necessarily a deal it sounds like he’s ready to make, at least not yet. 

“Right now, we’re trying to become a better team as fast as we can without selling out. I guess that’s the best way to put it,” Ainge told the show.  “We want to become a more significant team this upcoming year. And, at the same time, we want to build something that’s sustainable for a longer period of time.

“I think that that’s my job in the organization. I think that ownership would like to see something happen faster. I know my coaches would like to see something faster. I know my players want to see something faster. I’ve been in their positions and I get it. I want to see something faster, too. But I just have to protect us from doing something irrational, just to get a little bit better. If it’s something that gets us to be a true championship contender faster, then I think we’re all on board. As long as it’s a sustainable formula and not a one-year quick hit that sacrifices future assets.”

There’s been plenty of speculation as to whether the Celtics would trade the No. 3 to Philadelphia for a chance to take Providence College star Kris Dunn, after presumably taking either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. 

But if the Celtics hold onto the pick, it’s not likely that they go with Dunn. Instead, names like 7-footer Dragan Bender, sharp-shooter Jamaal Murray and scoring phenom Buddy Hield are in the mix.

Then Ainge made his biggest point, something to consider whether the Celtics draft a player, sign one in free agency or acquire a player this summer in a trade. 

“A player that is going to take time to develop or a player that may not come over to the NBA for a year or two, if we really believe that player’s the best player, we have to take him,” said Ainge. “We cannot let a player slip by us just because it doesn’t fulfill our immediate satisfaction, or the objective for the fans to see something more exciting. We have to pick the best player, under any circumstance. There are just too many examples of really good players that the fans haven’t been excited about on draft day.

“Last year, I remember [Kristaps] Porzingis was drafted in New York and they were booing all over the place and you’re like, ‘Well, why would they be booing so much on Porzingis?’ When you draft players, I remember when I was in Phoenix and we drafted Steve Nash and we were booed. I remember being booed when Dan Majerle was drafted in Phoenix. You can’t base any of your decisions based on what the public thinks and based on what other people think you should do. You just really have to use our experience, our work, and our eyes, and we communicate all the time on what the best road to go is.”

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Buddy Hield, Danny Ainge
Studs and Duds: Tyler Zeller, Evan Turner led Celtics past Knicks 02.02.16 at 10:16 pm ET
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Feb 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) is called for a flagrant foul against Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony commits a flagrant foul against Celtics forward Jae Crowder during Tuesday’s game. (USA TODAY Sports)

Shooting is overrated.

On a night when the Celtics couldn’t make a 3-pointer to save their lives — missing their first 13 — it didn’t matter in a 97-89 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

With the win, the Celtics (28-22) pulled a half-game ahead of the Heat and are tied with the Hawks for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 20 points, while Tyler Zeller (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Evan Turner (14 and 10) both added double-doubles off the bench. Aaron Afflalo led the Knicks with 18.

In a sloppy and physical first half, the Celtics kept the game close, despite only shooting 38 percent from the field and missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.

With their outside shots not falling, the Celtics pulled ahead in the third quarter by moving the ball and attacking the basket. After only managing six assists in the first half, the Celtics assisted on nine of their 11 third quarter field goals.

In the fourth, the Celtics bench, led by Turner, Zeller, and Kelly Olynyk, dominated the Knicks, abusing their terrible pick-and-roll defense. The trio combined for 25 of the team’s 27 points in the final frame.

They needed it, too, because they were abysmal from long range, making only 3 of 19 3-pointers (15.8 percent). They helped their cause by limiting the Knicks to 30 percent shooting from distance (6-for-20).

The C’s return home to play the Pistons to complete the back-to-back on Wednesday night.

For a complete box score, click hereRead the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics 97, Isaiah Thomas, Knicks 89, Kristaps Porzingis
Report: Celtics ‘thinking big,’ potentially trying to move up in NBA draft 06.23.15 at 10:31 am ET
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Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

With two first-round picks, reports have surfaced around the possibility of Celtics‘ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge trying to move up in Thursday’s NBA draft. The Celtics currently hold the 16th and 28th picks in the first round, both making for huge bargaining chips around the league.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, a rival executive described the Celtics being “aggressive” and “thinking big” in potentially moving up in the draft. Reports circulated late last week about the Celtics possibly moving up to acquire Texas forward Myles Turner, who is expected to be picked in the lottery range before the Celtics first pick.

(It is worth mentioning, moving up in the draft can be a hard thing to do, which Ben Rohrbach wrote about here.)

Additionally, rumors have continued about a foot issue with potential top-five pick Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, causing him to slide in the first round. Cauley-Stein, a rim protector, is exactly what the Celtics have scoured the market for over the past two years since the departure of Kevin Garnett. Another potential target is Kristaps Porzingis, out of Latvia, who is graded by some as the top talent in the draft and would give the Celtics a true scoring option off the pick-and-roll with point guard Isaiah Thomas.

With an excess of cap space, the C’s could also be looking to move picks for an established NBA player. As speculation continues regarding the fate of DeMarcus Cousins, the Celtics remain a dark horse to acquire him if Kings’ ownership cuts the cord.

Read More: Danny Ainge, DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner
NBA draft prospect profile: Latvia PF Kristaps Porzingis 06.20.15 at 7:36 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

 

KRISTAPS PORZINGIS

Position: Power forward

Country: Latvia (played for Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain)

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Aug. 2)

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 220 pounds

Key 2014-15 stats: 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks

Scouting report: Porzingis is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2015 draft. He is a lock to get picked in the lottery, and many mock drafts have him being selected in the top five. Porzingis is a relative unknown to most Americans, having played for both club and national teams in Europe. That being said, he has impressed scouts in workouts since crossing the Atlantic. His combination of size (big enough to be an NBA center) and athleticism make him very appealing. Porzingis’ stature helps him to be proficient as a rim protector. He can run the floor and create offense off the dribble.

Porzingis is a good shooter with a high and fluid release, canning 36 percent of his 3’s this year between Liga ACB and Eurocup play for Sevilla. This is an especially helpful skill to possess in the new-age NBA, with the game evolving and placing more importance on 3-point shooting. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! describes Porzingis as having Dirk Nowitzki‘s shooting touch and Pau Gasol‘s athleticism,€ which is about as high of praise as a European big man can receive.

“He’s always so calm,” Porzingis’ 32-year-old brother, Janis, a former European basketball star himself, said about him after a recent workout. “Think about this. He played like 50 games last season in ACB at 19 years old, and played like five bad games. I couldn’t do that at 25 years old, let alone 19.”

The most prominent knock on Porzingis seems to be his relatively slight build. To thrive as an interior presence in the NBA, he needs to add some bulk and get stronger. In European play this year, Porzingis didn’t rebound particularly well. While playing somewhat short minutes (21 per game), he could only pull down fewer than five boards per contest. They could also be a result of his skinny body type. However, Porzingis is still a teenager, not turning 20 until August. He has time to develop his body to the size it needs to reach for him to attain his potential as an NBA difference-maker.

Notes: Porzingis has twice been named to the ACB All-Young Players Team, in 2014 and 2015. His brother, Janis, is a former European basketball star and now helps to train Kristaps. Last year Kristaps declared for the draft but withdrew his name.

Since coming to the U.S. and working out for NBA teams and scouts, Porzingis has more than made a name for himself. He has climbed up draft boards and into the hearts and minds of basketball fans nationwide. The hype machine has churned out entire mailbags devoted to “Kristaps Porzingis mania.” The top two picks in the draft seem to be largely predetermined (with Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns going in some order), but Porzingis has been projected to go as high as the third pick to the 76ers. The Knicks (owners of the fourth pick) reportedly are intrigued by Porzingis’€™ potential ability to fit into Phil Jackson‘s triangle offense.

Porzingis worked out in Las Vegas on June 10 for a gaggle of media members and team executives, including high-ranking representatives from each of the teams with the first four picks in the draft.

Related articles:

Grantland: Who is Kristaps Porzingis?

SB Nation: Kristaps Porzingis could be the steal of the 2015 NBA draft

Business Insider: A 19-year-old Latvian prospect is blowing away NBA people in workouts, and some think he could be the best player in the draft

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Kristaps Porzingis,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Latvia PF Kristaps Porzingis 05.19.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

KRISTAPS PORZINGIS

Position: Power forward
Country: Latvia
Age: 18
Height: 7-foot
Weight: 220 pounds
Wingspan: Over 7-foot

Key 2013-14 stats: 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 14.0 minutes

Scouting report: Porzingis is a 7-footer who brings incredible potential as a shot blocker, defender and 3-point shooter. It’€™s hard to understand why he’€™s not a consensus lottery pick, though it may be due to his slight frame. But that’€™s hogwash. One needs just a look at a photo of Joakim Noah at age 18 to see that Porzingis has the same exact build as he did at that age.

Not to say that Porzingis will be a Defensive Player of the Year like Noah, but any concerns about his body should permanently be put to bed, considering his extremely wide frame — ideal for adding muscle — is a positive, not a negative.

Porzingis is attractive as a prospect because his skills are perfect for the modern stretch big man. He struggles with consistency from 3-point range (34.2 percent), but has excellent mechanics and looks silky smooth when spotting up in transition or halfcourt. As a bonus, Porzingis is quite athletic and can finish strong at the rim in transition. Once he adds muscle, it’€™s reasonable to assume he will make his way onto the SportsCenter Top 10 with some loud dunks.

At only 18 years old, Porzingis already is one of the better individual defenders in Spain’€™s ACB, arguably the second-best basketball league in the world. Cajasol was an average defense team (104.5 DRtg), but the team was better when Porzingis was on the floor (101.0 DRtg).

The Latvian 7-footer has a long way to go as a threat on the post, as a passer and on the boards, but for a (currently) underweight teenager playing in a league full of grown men, his production is exceptional. He’ll be a “draft-and-stash,” but the rewards could be bountiful in the coming years. In terms of value, Porzingis could be the steal of the draft, especially if he isn’t a lottery pick.

How he fits: Porzingis would provide the Celtics with a potential rim protector once he adds muscle to his wide frame, but in the short term, his aptitude for scoring would provide the team a boost. It’€™s difficult to slot Porzingis’ draft positioning, but he’€™s a possible top-10 talent who could slip to the 17th pick.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: Which international bigs could the Celtics have interest in drafting?

Eurohopes: Kristaps Porzingis profile

Video: Here is a video scouting report of Porzingis.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Kristaps Porzingis, NBA
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