Danny Ainge has an extensive history of making late-first round steals in the NBA draft, but he's not optimistic about getting one done this year.
Ainge's Celtics have the No. 25 pick in a weak draft on Thursday night. He's looking forward to making a selection, but he doesn't expect to see a franchise-changing player come walking through that door.
"I'm not trying put a negative spin on this, but I am trying to be realistic," he said. "The 25th pick in the draft is probably not going to help us immediately. But there are some players who we think that can fill our roster, that can fit in with the personality of our team, that have a work ethic, that can make our team better in practice, and that can add depth to our roster."
The biggest area of concern for the Celtics, on paper at least, is size. The Celtics have lost four centers in the last four months — Kendrick Perkins was traded to Oklahoma City, Semih Erden was dealt to Cleveland, Shaquille O'Neal retired and Nenad Krstic signed a contract to play overseas in Russia.
But the Celtics are hesitant about looking to add a new 7-footer late in the first round. If anyone is still on the board that late, there's probably a catch.
"If size is available at the 25th pick, I don't know if that's a good sign or a bad one," C's coach Doc Rivers said. "But sometimes you can get lucky. Danny, I've said it for years, if there's a guy there at that size that can play, he'll know it."
"We have to address size in the offseason for sure," Ainge added. "But it doesn't necessarily have to be in the draft."
There are plenty of intriguing guys out there in the first round. If the C's do opt for size, there's Maryland's Jordan Williams or international recruit Jeremy Tyler. If they want scoring, there's Providence's Marshon Brooks or Duke's Kyle Singler. If they want a confident backup point guard, there's BC's Reggie Jackson or another Blue Devil, Nolan Smith.
Ainge will weigh all his options and make the best choice on Thursday night.
"All the things factor in," he said. "Sometimes we're looking to add more character, more toughness, more shooting, better ball-handling, better decision-making or better upside. All of those things come into play every time you draft. But rarely are those characteristics all in one player, and if they are, then his name is Michael Jordan.
"We're looking for good people. This year, I think we'll be able to add some good pieces to our team, but I don't see any starters. We're not adding any starters to our team. We'll add some good role players, hopefully."
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