Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics have the 16th pick in the June draft, their highest since they banked on getting a top-two pick in 2007 but settled for fifth and then dealt the pick for Ray Allen. There is major speculation that the club will trade up or down unless a prospect they desire lands in their laps.
ESPN draft gurus Chad Ford and Fran Fraschilla chimed in on the Celtics’ possibilities in this bizarre draft, which could be a gem or a dud.
“Their scouting staff has traditionally done a very good job in this range,” said Fraschilla, the former coach at New Mexico, St. John’s, and Manhattan. “I think they could go either way — they could go development or a European kid, a big kid that’s hanging around and they could stash overseas. Or I think there’s enough of those guys that we talked about, the senior or the guy that can be a rotation player, that are going to be staring at them at 16, that I tend to think they are going to do what they’ve always done and find the best fit for them.
“They draft basketball players, guys you can stick in Doc Rivers’s system, and they pick things up relatively quickly.”
Ford pointed out a couple of prospects who may fall to Boston, including Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the SEC player of the year, who averaged 18 points and seven rebounds last season. Ford also noted San Diego State swingman Jamaal Franklin, who averaged 17 points and 9.5 rebounds as a junior. Franklin improved throughout his college career, a trait Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge likes.
“I know Danny Ainge’s spiel and he takes players based on how he projects their potential in the future, not necessarily what they’ve just done in college,” Ford said. “Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley are just great examples of that. Ainge loved them in high school, saw them in college, and felt like in both players’ cases, the systems that they were in did not accentuate the strengths that he saw in them as players. And in both cases, he got a player that was much better than where they drafted them because Ainge has a great ability to see what a player can and can’t do and be able to divorce that from what they did do in college.”
Asked about the potential of the 16th pick, Ainge said, “I don’t think this draft is particularly strong and I think there are some players with potential who are projects and there’s some players who have a chance to blossom into players down the road. There’s not very many that are going to come in and help a team right out of the gate.”
The Celtics are open to moving the pick, something they have done several times in the Ainge era.
“We could trade up, trade down, there are a lot of different scenarios that haven’t even been discussed yet,” he said. “Right now we’re just preparing and evaluating all the players in the draft.
We should all be a bit careful with our own speculation when it comes to supposed ‘major speculation’ when it comes to discussing possible trade scenarios. Ainge has does have a history of trading picks and players all over the place during the draft so this shouldn’t come as a major surprise. In 2006 he traded Randy Foye to Portland with Raef LaFrentz and Dan Dickau to get Sebastian Telfair and the immortal expiring contract of Theo Ratliff. In the same draft, he worked a deal with Phoenix for them to draft Rajon Rondo and trade him to them for a first round pick in 2007 that they acquired earlier from a trade that sent Jiri Welsch to the Cavs. Later in that draft, he also swung a deal in the second round with Denver to acquire Leon Powe.
In 2007 we all know what happened after losing one of the top two picks in the lottery. Ainge drafted Jeff Green with the 5th pick and used that, along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to Seattle for Ray Allen and Glen Davis. Things were relatively quiet from 2008-2010 in terms of trading during the draft, but in 2011 there was the highly debated JaJuan Johnson for MarShon Brooks I’ll-pick-for-you-you-pick-for-me trade. You could even go as far back as his first draft with the Celtics, when he worked a similar deal with Memphis, having them select Kendrick Perkins and Marcus Banks (they selected local product Troy Bell from BC along with Duke’s Dahntay Jones for Memphis).
So this shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise, but it is intriguing considering this offseason has quite the cloudy outlook. According to Ainge himself, he started to complete the puzzle by saying Doc would return as head coach next year. This is vital more so in terms of free agency as well as convincing KG and possibly Pierce to return. Doc also likely knows quite a bit about the draft prospects since they’re all close to the age of his son Austin, as he’s probably seen a lot of them play quite a bit. I wouldn’t get too excited though mainly because of Ainge’s quote above. At any rate we know Ainge is always out there making waves and making things interesting. His overall track record is very good and sometimes you hit a home run, sometimes you strike out. Ainge is at least not the type of guy to stand there looking with the bat on his shoulder. It’s a good thing that his track record as GM is a lot better than his career batting average of .220! (although I’m sure many of you will disagree with that)
The rest of the links: