Danny Ainge: Celtics Would Have Drafted Joel Embiid With No. 6 Pick

by abournenesn

Jun 27, 2014

Joel EmbiidThere were mixed messages coming out of Boston Celtics camp in the run-up to Thursday’s 2014 NBA draft regarding how the team felt about Joel Embiid’s medical status.

While one report claimed they were “scared” of the stress fractures suffered by the Kansas center in his back and right foot, another insisted it was “highly unlikely” Embiid would slip past the Celtics at No. 6.

The day after the draft, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a radio interview that the team would, in fact, have taken Embiid had he been on the board when their pick came up.

“Yes, we would have,” Ainge said on The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich,” via MassLive. “He was not red-flagged, meaning ‘Stay away at all costs.’ He was rated a little bit less than (he would have been) with (his injury) risk, but he was a guy that we were looking at, had he fallen.”

Embiid went to the Philadelphia 76ers with the third pick, marking the second consecutive year the Sixers took a big man who would not be ready to play at the beginning of the next season. They traded for No. 6 overall pick Nerlens Noel on draft night last year despite a torn ACL; Noel did not play at all last season.

With Embiid off the board, the Celtics drafted Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart at No. 6 and Kentucky swingman James Young at No. 17.

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