“Danny Ainge called everyone in the league 50 times,” explains one source within the NBA, describing Boston’s persistence to shed four picks in the 2015 NBA Draft. “Then on draft night he called everyone again.”
Leading up to Thursday’s draft, Boston’s name surrounded more trade rumors than its 29 rivals.
But the question remains, how did the Celtics enter with four draft choices, and exit with all four picks?
In the top half of the first round, the notion that 2015 NBA Draft overflowed with future all-stars remains debatable at best. Yet, all of the Celtics’ picks came post-lottery, puzzling Celtics fans who projected 2015’s 7th playoff seed as the current roster’s ceiling if they don’t add seasoned star power via trade of lottery.
A veteran league executive’s forecast of picks fifteen through sixty hardly sounds optimistic.
“The draft is full of D-League guys. Not many program-changers outside the lottery,” says a veteran NBA executive.
Danny Ainge told the Boston sports radio that he did try but is relieved nobody took the bait.
“In hindsight, the next day, it’s probably a good thing. We were probably going to spend too much to do what we needed to do,” Ainge said on Boston’s 98.5 the Sports Hub over the weekend.
Yet, one glance at the Celtics roster finds this statement peculiar, as the players circulating every potential trade rumor included the injury-plagued Jared Sullinger, point guard Marcus Smart, and forward Kelly Olynyk. None of the aforementioned triumvirate are blockbuster trade fodder. But the three players helped Boston overachieve into a playoff spot this past season.
Consequently, what happened in the draft, is that Boston stayed in the draft.
But when can one evaluate Draft success appropriately? A day, a year, or five years later? At first glance, the Celtics used the draft to right statistical wrongs over the past two seasons.
Choosing point guard Terry Rozier at 16, warrants mixed reviews. On the one hand, fans question his true position. On the other hand, his gamesmanship and shot making ability remain underrated and invaluable, according to a Breitbart source within the league.
“He’s a hard-nosed and hungry kid, that actually shoots it better than he gets credit for,” the source tells Breitbart Sports.
Drafting James Young and R.J. Hunter with late first-round picks in consecutive drafts, the Celtics still look like the antithesis to the trigger-happy defending World Champion Golden State Warriors.
The Celtics ranked 27th out of 30 NBA teams in three point shooting for the second straight season, hovering around 32 percent, down almost a percentage point from last year. Boston is also the worst shot blocking team in the NBA, ranked dead last in 2015.
Although selecting Jordan Mickey early in the second round satisfies this gloomy stat line on paper, the forward from LSU stands only 6’8”. Hardly an imposing goalie by NBA standards.
At 46, the Celtics grab Marcus Thornton, a likely D-Leaguer for life, who shattered scoring and three-point shooting records at William and Mary. While Thornton can shoot, his niche on the Celtics roster could be as a bigger defender on the perimeter.
While there is no debating in last week’s draft Danny Ainge shot the guns. But to rival franchises he brandished a water gun.
“Trades are usually one team offering crap, in exchange for something good. Once in a while it works out for both teams,” says the source within the league.
Luckily for the Celtics, free agency starts next week, where you can get something, sometimes, for nothing.