BOSTON (CBS) — As the Celtics wait for next week’s NBA Draft Lottery to determine where they’ll select early in the first round, one former player knows who he’d prefer should the ping-pong balls bounce their way and the team lands the first overall selection.
Leon Powe, back with the Celtics in a community role, joined WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Adam Kaufman to discuss the upcoming draft, and said adding more talent to the roster is always the top priority for Danny Ainge.READ MORE: 2 Tigers At Pittsburgh Zoo Test Positive For COVID-19
“You try to get the best talent as possible, and that’s been our main goal since Day 1. If that happens through trade or through the draft, that’s how we’ll go about it,” said Powe.
Powe, a second-round pick back in 2006, follows the college game closely and said the Celtics can’t go wrong with either LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram if they get lucky and get the top pick. But he also has a preference between the two.
“My personal love, I love Ingram. I’ve been watching him and love him to a fault. You know how you fall in love with a draft pick – everyone has the one they like,” laughed Powe. “I do like Simmons and his upside and talent is unbelievable. The sky is the limit for him also. Any one of those players, I’d be happy with.”
But Powe fell in love with Ingram’s motor as he watched the versatile freshman average 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds throughout his only collegiate season. One game in particular, a 74-73 Duke win over rival North Carolina, stood out to Powe.READ MORE: Fraternity Suspended As Police Investigate Death Of UNH Student Vincenzo Lirosi
“He showed me a lot of heart, especially the Duke-UNC game [on February 17]. It was at North Carolina and, man, he had to play the center, the three, the four – he played every position and guarded everyone in the second half,” explained Powe. “Coach K threw out the offense and told him to take over the game and he took over. I like that big-game, take over ability. He showed me he has that ability, which will help an NBA team in the long run.”
Igram played all 40 minutes in that Duke win, scoring 20 points with 10 rebounds and four assists. It was one of the 14 games in which he scored 20 or more points during the season.
“He’ll go through those rookie mistakes, but he does have that ability [to take over a game],” said Powe.
Powe also touched on an upcoming basketball put on by the Celtics for kids all over Massachusetts. Listen to the full interview here: