BOSTON (CBS) — Danny Ainge was a busy man on draft night, despite a lack of a trade activity.
The Celtics’ president of basketball operations aggressively pursued Justise Winslow according to multiple reports, as he attempted to move into the top ten of the draft by packaging a host of first-round picks to nab the small forward.READ MORE: Omicron COVID Variant Detected In Massachusetts Woman
Ainge’s offers were rebuffed, but once the team’s quest to land Winslow fell short.
Still, Boston’s brain trust attempts to add a wing did not subside, according to a new report.
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News has the scoop in a recent feature on Kelly Oubre which explain Ainge’s efforts to move up and grab the No. 15 pick.
After a sometimes rocky freshman year at Kansas, Oubre was the 15th pick in this year’s NBA draft, taken by the Wizards after they were able to work out a deal with the Hawks.
Oubre was high on the board of several lottery teams, including the Hornets at No. 9 and Heat at No. 10, but when he slipped into the teens, there was a clamor from teams to move up and grab him.
Boston likely would have taken him at No. 16, a source said, and once the Celtics failed to get Charlotte’s pick, they tried to move up for Oubre.
Eventually, the Washington Wizards traded away two future second-round picks and the No. 19 overall pick to the Atlanta Hawks for the rights to Oubre at No. 15, one pick ahead of where the Celtics drafted Terry Rozier.
What does the Celtics reported pursuit of Oubre say about Rozier and the current construction of the team’s roster? Let’s take a look at a few of the takeaways.
1. Ainge was trying to fill an area of need on the roster. Much to the chagrin of many fans on draft night, the Celtics didn’t exactly improve their depth issues with the team’s four picks.
However, the Oubre pursuit shows the team at least tried to address a need on the wing beyond Winslow.READ MORE: Wind Gusts Across Eastern Mass. Projected To Be 50 MPH Or Higher On Monday Night
Oubre is a 6-foot-7 19-year-old that would have eventually provided some solid long-term depth behind Jae Crowder at small forward, if Boston had managed to land him.
The fact that they didn’t go after him as hard as Winslow though brings us to our next takeaway.
2. The Celtics didn’t like Oubre that much more than Rozier.
The price tag for the youngster to move up to No. 15 overall was not steep at all.
Two second-round picks is a small price to pay for a prospect you like, especially when you consider the fact that Boston will have around 14 second-round picks at their disposal over the next five drafts.
To me, the fact the Celtics didn’t pull the trigger on a deal is a telltale sign that Oubre wasn’t that much higher on the Cs draft board than Rozier.
Boston would have been happy to take him, but they weren’t going to sacrifice any sort of assets to grab him. Oubre may have been the better fit, but Rozier likely was the more complete player on the team’s board.
Ultimately, we won’t know whether the decision to pass on the former Jayhawk, who averaged a meager 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in his only season in Kansas, was the right one for years to come.
Oubre has plenty of athleticism and potential, but his basketball IQ is a question mark, and much like James Young, there is a lot of maturing he needs to do on both ends of the floor to succeed in the NBA.
On a roster crowded with youth, Rozier is the player that appears to be more ready to jump in and help a team right away.
For a Celtics team that will be fighting for a playoff berth next year, he was probably the better choice, at least in the interim.MORE NEWS: Martin Richard Foundation Holds 4th Annual MR8K Race In Boston On Saturday
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.