BOSTON — Never mind a D-League team, the Celtics practically could stock a full farm system with the number of draft picks they hold over the next half-decade.
And Danny Ainge is perfectly fine with that.
The Celtics’ president of basketball operations said Monday, after his team netted yet another future selection in the Jeff Green trade, that there is no such thing as having two many draft picks.
“No, because draft picks are always tradable,” Ainge said. “Players are not. Draft picks are always assets, until sometimes they’re drafted, until they become players, or until they become paid.”
Building through the draft is the best way of creating a championship contender, Ainge says, but that does not simply mean drafting players and hoping they pan out. The key is to develop rookies so they are able to either contribute to the team that drafted them or grow into attractive trade chips.
It’s a strategy the Celtics previously used to bring in Kevin Garnett.
“I think you have to build through the draft,” Ainge said, “but like last time, we built through the draft, we developed players and we were able to trade to get some veteran guys in that were ready to win that were more compatible with Paul (Pierce) at the time.
“But we did it through the draft. That’s how I look at it, and right now we’ll do the same thing: We’ll draft players, we’ll develop players and we’ll look for opportunities to take steps forward.”
That strategy obviously takes time, though, as Celtics fans have learned in recent years. It’s easy for veterans to lose focus and/or motivation amid the uncertainty of a rebuild — something Ainge said he’s spoken with his troops about.
“I’ve talked with all the guys.” he said. “I think everybody is pretty certain what the situation is. As certain as they can be. As certain as I can, which is somewhat uncertain.”
If that jumble of a sentence isn’t a perfect description of the Celtics’ current situation, we don’t know what is.
Thumbnail photo via Charles Krupa/Associated Press