Danny Ainge is disappointed. Celtics Nation is disappointed.
But after landing the sixth pick in the NBA draft Tuesday night, Ainge has put all options on the table.
“We can do anything since we have two draft picks and continuing to add to our young talent or we can make some bigger deals to speed up our process or everything in between,” Ainge told reporters on a conference call. “I think everything is possible and it’s going to be an exciting six months.”
Assuming the Celtics keep the sixth pick, there are a multitude of options that make sense for Ainge. Whether it be another power forward like Julius Randle or Noah Vonleh, or another small forward like Aaron Gordon or Dario Saric, Ainge is more concerned with talent and less worried about short-term need.
“We would take the best player. You have to when you draft at number six.”
Even though Ainge will go for the best player he can get at six, it certainly didn’t play out as he hoped.
“Well, it was a little disappointing,” Ainge said what seemed like a dozen times. “We were hopeful for something better but the odds said that number six was the most likely, so we certainly prepared for number six.”
But as far as the Celtics’ Director of Basketball Operations is concerned, the Celtics didn’t miss their chance to immediately revitalize the franchise.
“There will be choices there that will have a lot of potential, but I don’t think there is anyone that will come in and change the face of our franchise out of the gate. But I do think there is some good quality in this draft.”
The looming question now shifts from who to draft to whether the Celtics can trade the pick for Kevin Love. While Ainge would not comment on specific players, he addressed the value of the sixth pick compared to the fifth pick he traded seven years ago for Ray Allen.
“I think that draft picks are very valuable and that the sixth pick has serious value. How serious? I don’t know yet. We haven’t had a chance to talk about it or explore it even. So we will explore that now that we have clarity on where we are.”
For now, the Celtics turn their attention to scouting potential selections for their two first round picks. Ainge stated that the team will start bringing players in for workouts the first week of June, but will need to schedule more workouts with agents now that they know their draft position.
The NBA Draft Combine in Chicago did not provide sufficient information with so many players skipping Components of the event or not showing up all together. So the Celtics still have plenty of work cut out for them.
“We didn’t get a lot out of Chicago,” Ainge said. “We did get a little bit out of Chicago and every little bit helps. In Chicago there were a lot of guys who didn’t show and didn’t do interviews and didn’t do medicals. So there’s still a lot of things we need to do. I think we ended up talking to 18, which is our maximum.”
The one silver lining for the Celtics is that they no longer have to worry about deciding whether trading for Kevin Love is worth giving up one of the elite talents in the top four of the draft. But they may be competing against better offers from the teams drafting above them. Either way, it will be a fun five weeks to the draft.