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.
Asked if Rondo and Smart can coexist on the floor, Ainge added: “Absolutely. No question. And [Smart] and Avery. No question. He’s a very versatile player. He can play off the ball. He can handle the ball. With his length and his size, he can probably play against a lot of small forwards — 6-3, long wingspan, 230 pounds. He’s a very versatile player. Easily those guys can play together, and I think they would really thrive playing together, all of them.”
Ainge’s sentiments were echoed by coach Brad Stevens.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think [Smart and Rondo] can play together,” said Stevens. “I think it will be great for Marcus to have a guy like Rondo to look up to, to learn from. Not many guys get that opportunity, especially early on in the draft like this. Marcus is another guy that I was thrilled that he was there at 6, because, physically, he’s ready to play, and he competes every single minute of every single day. That will do nothing but help your team, regardless of what position he’s playing.”
“That wasn’t a topic of conversation tonight,” Grousbeck said when asked about how Smart might fit in with Rondo and Avery Bradley. “We have confidence in Brad that he can manage a roster. We also had confidence in the top six, we were going to take the best available rather than slot in. That’s a strategy when you are rebuilding a team, you take the best available athlete and let it all work out. We got an All-Star point guard so that’s not the question here.”
Grousbeck added later: “I don’t think this has any impact on Rajon at all.”
It’s easy to have that reaction.
“We took a point guard.”
“We HAVE a point guard.”
“Wait, are we getting a new point guard?”
I had it last night on Celtics Stuff Live (which was supposed to have JR Giddens on, but technical issues prevented that from happening). It’s the natural reaction.
If you love Rondo, you’re worried… “oh shit… does this mean we’re trading Rondo?”
If you hate Rondo, you’re excited… “OH SHIT… THIS MEANS WE’RE TRADING RONDO!!”
But the Celtics insist that Rondo is not on the move.
Boston Celtics take Marcus Smart — and told that Ainge is not trading Rondo. Not sold those can play together.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 27, 2014
Now… Goodman is a certified Rondo hater. He looks for every reason to speculate that Rondo is going to be moved. He spent an entire mock draft conducted over Twitter with ESPN cohorts trying to trade Rondo to everyone. If he’s resigned himself to reporting that Rondo won’t be moved, then maybe the Celtics really, truly, honestly are trying to make this work.
Or maybe it’s all bullshit.
I truly believe that actually drafting these players was Plan B or Plan C all along. Plan A was to move at lest one or both picks in the Kevin Love trade. Plan B was to move 6 to Sacramento for 8 and Ben McLemore. Plan C might have been for the Celtics to trade 6 to anyone willing to give up anything to move down or out of this draft. But when none of that materialized, they took the best athlete available in Marcus Smart.
It’s not a bad worst-case scenario. Today’s NBA is slowly becoming position-less, with multiple guys with multiple skills sharing a floor they couldn’t have in the past. It’s not a stretch to think the Celtics believe that, should they not be able to pull off any kind of trade this summer, Rondo and Smart will figure out a way to make it work in the same backcourt. Ainge even hinted that the C’s could trot out a small lineup of Rondo, Bradley, and Smart at the 3 if they decided to just throw a bunch of crazy athletes on the floor.
We’ll have to wait and see on that. If one thing has been made perfectly clear, the Celtics are hell-bent on making a trade this summer. Wyc Grousbeck has already warned us to prepare for fireworks, and last night he told everyone “trade season isn’t over yet,” which is true. In fact, it’s just begun.
As I said on last night’s show, fans are victims of the bad season following so many good ones. We’ve all been so used to a much shorter time frame between the end of the season and the draft. Now, with more than two months between anything significant happening for the Celtics (and so many rumors in between), fans had gotten jacked up for a monumental draft night that completely re-shaped the entire franchise.
Now it didn’t happen, and some fans are pissed. But the reality is last night was just the starter’s pistol on a marathon of a summer. We’ve got three full months to go before any of this means anything. Smart’s Celtics career might last for a week in July in the Orlando Summer Pro League, or it could last 15 years. Rondo could retire a Celtic, or be throwing lobs to Paul George for all we know.
For now, the Celtics will insist these guys can play together. And maybe, in today’s NBA, they can. But I’d be holding off on any jersey purchases this summer… just in case.
Related links: Globe: Celtics bolster backcourt with Marcus Smart, James Young | Herald: Smart appreciative of chance to play in Boston | Boston.com: Smart could mean changes for Boston’s backcourt | CSNNE: Celtics like Smart because he’s “an instigator” | Calipari: What the Celtics can expect from Young | ESPN Boston: Wicked Smart? No fireworks, just picks | WEEI: Wyc: Drafting Smart has no impact on Rondo | Wyc Grousbeck thinks of Red when drafting Smart: He’s an instigator and a bull | MassLive: Celtics consider Smart one of the top competitors in basketball
Page 2: …. Brad Stevens is thrilled with the James Young pick
“I’m taking on every challenge myself,” he said. “My game can improve. There’s going to be a lot of expectations, but I just have to be myself and give it my all.”
To hear Celtics coach Brad Stevens tell it, Young is something of a prodigy with range.
“James’ MO is that he’s always been a scorer,” said Stevens. “He shot it at 35 percent from 3 and 45 percent from two. He’s a guy who can shoot it, he has a stroke that’s just going to get better and better. We felt he was a very, very undervalued scoring wing. Everyone in the room had him ranked higher than he went, and were thrilled that he was available at 17.”
The Young pick has been a bit polarizing.
On the plus side, he has the potential to be a tremendous scorer. Danny Ainge, in his post-draft comments, talked about how well Young shot throughout his high school career, and that his performance at Kentucky may have been a bit of an aberration.
On the negative side, sometimes performance issues at the next level aren’t temporary. Sometimes, competing against guys that are a lot better than the competition you’re used to exposes the warts in your game. Plus, I’ve had Kentucky fans tell me Young is a “bonehead.” So….
This is where I suggest that life under Brad Stevens could be just what the doctor ordered for Young. It’s not a stretch at all to suggest a 17th pick can become a star player. Young does have the ability to score the ball, and the Celtics are looking for their future small forward. Maybe he’s the guy.
I’m clearly not sold on him, but the Celtics clearly saw something in the workouts and interviews that made them feel comfortable in what some are calling a reach at 17. Here’s hoping they do.
The best moment of the draft…
Adam Silver gets it. This guy’s career as Commish is off to a rockin’ start.
The rest of the links:
Globe: Rebuilding the Celtics will take some time | Celtics may have found the best combo in deep draft | Stevens focused on winning | First round picks through the years | Red Auerbach’s drafts were informal and uninformed | Cavs pursuit of Love said to sputter | Herald: Brass likes way two new Celtics fit in | LeBron James a big fan of Napier pick | CSNNE: Blakely’s draft grades | Celtics stand pat, but still open to trading | Stevens: Fingers crossed that Smart and Young were still there | Campus Insiders: (video) Steve Pagliuca on Marcus Smart and James Young | MassLive: Austin Rivers drawing interest from Ainge?