Danny AInge knows how to trade a player or two to acquire more picks in the NBA Draft. He proved that when he did well to maximize the return from dealing players such as Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. He has also demonstrated that he is knowledgeable when it comes to trading away picks to acquire big name players, as evidenced when he dealt for Garnett and Ray Allen. Sadly, after once again witnessing a perplexing NBA Draft for the Boston Celtics, Ainge has proven once again that he does not understand the complete draft process.
Sure, AInge has selected players such as Rondo and Al Jefferson. Both are perennial NBA All-Stars. Neither are still with the organization.
Ainge has also drafted Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones over David West and Boris Diaw. He took Randy Foye over Rudy Gay. He selected J.R. Giddens instead of Nikola Pekovic, DeAndre Jordan or Goran Dragic. He opted for MarShon Brooks over Jimmy Butler and Chandler Parsons. Ainge even chose Fab Melo instead of Draymond Green and Khris Middleton, and Marcus Smart over Elfrid Payton and Zach LaVine, as well as Joseph Young instead of Shabazz Napier, K.J. McDaniels or Cleanthony Early.
I am not saying that all of the decisions were avoidable. We don’t always know how college basketball players will translate at the next level. That is why it is too early to say whether or not Ainge will regret drafting Terry Rozier instead of Sam Dekker, Jerian Grant, Justin Anderson or Bobby Portis. Or, if years from now, we will say that Ainge should have selected Montrezl Harrell over Jordan Mickey, or that the Celtics would have been much better off if they had taken Norman Powell or Dakari Johnson instead of Marcus Thornton. Nobody knows.
Although, I will freely admit that I do not feel as if Ainge is a great talent evaluator for college players. He has way too many swings and misses on his NBA Draft resume. I like that he is always trying to wheel and deal on draft night but, that may ultimately serve as too much of a distraction in the long run. I was hoping that Boston would have been able to package some picks and move up in this year’s draft. Willie Cauley-Stein or Justise WInslow could have looked very good in green. Granted, if the rumors are true that Ainge offered six draft picks to move up to the No. 9 spot, then he should be thankful that the Charlotte Hornets were too stupid to accept the deal. That probably would have been a mistake.
Going forward, no one knows what will happen. On paper, the Celtics have too many players who do the same thing, especially at guard. They are under-sized and defense-oriented. That is not a bad things but, when you have too many of them on one roster, it can not be seen as a positive.
Now, if Ainge is able to move some of those guards or 2015 NBA Draft picks to acquire some size and strength up front, then much of my criticism will go unwarranted. Unfortunately, that is not currently the case, therefore giving me plenty of ammunition to knock Ainge for what I feel has been a far from successful draft process.
Go ahead, “Trader Dan.” By all means. Please, prove me wrong.