BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics are ready for Thursday’s NBA Draft, but are not expecting to make a big-time pick or any trades.
“When you’re drafting where we’re drafting, and I’m not trying to put a negative spin on this I’m trying to be realistic, the 25th pick in the draft probably is not going to help us immediately,” Danny Ainge said Wednesday afternoon. “There are some players we think will fit in with the team, have a good work ethic that can make our team better in practice and add depth to our roster.”
The Celtics own the 25th and 55th pick in Thursday’s draft. Both Ainge and Doc Rivers agree the team needs some size and more shooting, but they may not be able to get that in the draft. At least any that would help for the 2011-12 NBA season.
“Usually size isn’t available with the 25th pick,” said Rivers. “Sometimes you can get lucky.”
“We want good players,” said Ainge. “All the things factor in. sometimes we’re looking to add more character, more toughness. More shooting, better ball handing, better decision making, better upside. All of those are realistically come in to play any time you draft, but rarely are all those characteristics in one player. If they are, his name is Michael Jordan.”
Danny Ainge Talks NBA Draft
“This year I think we’ll be able to add some good pieces to the team, but I don’t see starters,” said Ainge. “We’re not adding any starters to our team; we’ll add some good role players hopefully.”
The Celtics currently have only six players under contract for the 2011-12 season.
“We don’t have a lot of signed players right now on our roster. But the ones we have are really good. We know that,” said Rivers. “We just have to try to keep putting the right pieces around them. The younger guys need more guys, the older guys need more support. And that’s how we look at it.”
There is also the possibility the Celtics could draft an international player.
“Just in general, there is only a certain amount of super stars born,” said Ainge. “Each year there’s a few players at the top of the draft. This year there’s some good players. I’m not sure there are some great, great players. I do think there are a lot of kids playing basketball around the world. I do think there are a lot of players that you can get that can fit your team and fit your system.”
With such slim-pickings late in the draft, the Celtics will likely use the pick for a future contributor, or someone that could surprise them like in years past.
“Maybe a guy that doesn’t play next year, like Avery (Bradley) last year, and it could be a guy that could be more like Ryan Gomes, who can come in and be our eighth or ninth player right away. All those scenarios are possible.”
The Celtics also do not anticipate moving any of their picks in next year’s draft to better themselves Thursday night.
Ainge Jokes About Austin Rivers
“We don’t want to move next year’s pick to get into this year’s draft. The picks that we have aren’t good enough to get to the very, very top of next year’s draft. We think next year’s draft is better,” said Ainge.
“Austin Rivers is in next…. Wait I can’t say that,” Ainge joked, referring to Doc River’s son Austin who will play at Duke this fall.
Ainge had to be careful what he said about Austin. He was fined $30,000 in 2007 for sitting next to then-Texas freshman Kevin Durant’s parents during the Big 12 tournament.
That could make for a very difficult offseason next year.