Celtics Notes: Young C’s Looking To Build Off Momentum Of Playoff Run


June 11, 2015

WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics hosted six NBA hopefuls for a pre-draft workout Thursday morning, but those weren’t the only players putting in work at the C’s practice facility.

Five current Celtics players — Kelly Olynyk, Phil Pressey, Chris Babb, James Young and Tyler Zeller — also took to the court in Waltham to continue their preparation for next season, according to Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge.

That quintet represented a large portion of Boston’s young nucleus — the most experienced, Zeller, is entering his fourth NBA season — and rising NBA sophomore Marcus Smart has been a staple at the team’s facility this spring, as well.

The Celtics were one of the league’s biggest surprises this season, nabbing the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and earning a playoff bid one year after winning just 25 games. They failed to win a postseason game, but Ainge said the team is using its unexpected success as motivation this offseason.

“Our players are in working hard,” Ainge said. “We couldn’t be more pleased. Even the guys who aren’t here, we know they’re working elsewhere. Guys are getting better. I think they felt that we had some momentum going last year and want to continue it. Everybody’s working hard.”

NBA regulations prohibit current players from working out with potential draftees, but several — Smart and Young, in particular — have had conversations with and offered advice to the prospects passing through.

Some additional notes from Thursday’s workout:

— Ainge recently returned from the adidas Eurocamp in Italy, where he had the opportunity to scout some of the world’s top international players.

“It wasn’t the strongest camp,” he said. “But there are definitely some players to watch for this year and a lot for the future.”

— It’s impossible for a player to work out for all 30 teams, so some picking and choosing is required on the part of draft prospects and, more specifically, their agents. Ainge said there have been a few players the Celtics hoped to bring in that they have been unable to.

“(The agents) have to pick, and they don’t want to have guys work out unnecessarily,” Ainge said. “So, I say, ‘What’s the percentage that they’re there at (pick) No. 16?’ And if they think it’s zero, they don’t send him. I usually think it’s higher.”

Not being able to schedule a player for a workout does not, however, preclude a team from drafting him.

“The workouts are nice, and we really like to have the guys in to get to know them a little better,” Ainge said. “But we’ve certainly drafted guys before that we haven’t had in for workouts, and we’re not scared to do so.”

— Ainge reiterated his stance that Boston would not be opposed to trading one or more of its four draft picks but said any potential negotiations will be of the last-minute variety.

“Nobody’s messing with that right now,” he said. “Draft day, if anything. We’re preparing to draft our picks, but we’re always ready to make moves if the opportunity to get better arises.”

Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images

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