The Boston Celtics hosted six prospects for pre-draft workouts on Monday, but it appears this only is a small portion of the large group of players they’ve actually taken a look at.
Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge told reporters at the Auerbach Center that Boston has worked out 70 prospects thus far, with less than a month to go until the NBA Draft. This might sound like a lot, but considering Boston has four picks in this year’s draft, it makes sense that they’re leaving no stone unturned.
“You’re always just trying to get as much information as possible,” Ainge said, per MassLive. “Talk to them and put them in drills and try to pick at their weaknesses or show their strengths. And we’re just trying to get as comfortable as we can with this very difficult projection.”
Every team has their own quirks during workouts, and the Celtics have been known to create some competition in years past, notably with their infamous “Boston Marathon” sprinting drill at the end of their sessions. Yes, Danny Ainge likes to have the prospects sprint the length of the court as many times as they possibly can over a three-minute span to end the workout. He’s done this since he was head coach of the Phoenix Suns in the mid-90’s, but it appears the Celtics now are adding some additional, and frankly bizarre, tweaks.
“We’ve done some crazy things,” Austin Ainge told reporters while laughing. “We’ve had guys in and we’ve had some big guys trying to shoot underhand to see if they could make free throws underhand. We’ve even tried to, if a guy has the worst shot ever, we’ve had him do some form shooting left handed to see maybe they could switch hands and fix this thing. We’ve done some crazy things like that. But most of the time guys are going to be about what they’ve been. … They look at us like we’re crazy sometimes.”
Imagine going into a pre-draft workout and having a front office tell you to shoot underhand? We’re sure they get some pretty funny responses.
Either way, the Celtics will make their official selections June 20.
Watch Ainge’s full media availability here, courtesy of MassLive.