The Celtic's have obviously been getting a lot of buzz lately, and I keep hearing ridiculous statements about our GM, Danny Ainge. I think most people who follow basketball would agree that he is easily one of the top GM's in the game, and has been for nearly a decade from now. We laud his savyness when it comes to trades, as he easily has two of the biggest steals in the history of the game with the KG trade, and then the trade with Brooklyn. He won the Rondo trade, turned Doc into a future 1st, and got an MVP candidate for practically nothing.
But it's not his trading that I keep hearing about, it's his drafting ability, or his lack there of. Now that the Pats season is done all I hear on WEEI Boston Sports talk radio is the Celtics, and how they don't trust Ainge to make the right picks. People think this man just wastes picks, and as a lifelong Celtic fan, I just don't see it. Sure he has missed players, but every GM does. That's why our starting lineup consists of two guys drafted in the second roung.
People keep telling me we need to trade these BRK picks because Ainge is just going to blow them on mediocre players that set the franchise back, and that he isn't a good evaluater of talent. When I hear this I think of how people ripped the mans heart out during the 2015 NBA draft. The whole world mocked him, and the alleged trades, saying we should consolidate our picks. Who's laughing now? Justice Winslow is averaging 11/4/5 with an 8 PER and worse shooting %'s than Marcus Smart, a player most people on here hate and have given up on.
2003: Made draft day trade for the rights to Kendrick Perkins and Marcus Banks.
2004: Drafted Al Jefferson #15, Delonte West #24, and Tony Allen #25
2005: Draft gerald Green #18, Ryan Gomes #50
Some may not see that as a good draft, but Green and Gomes were both good value at their draft position, and Green is one of the only players in that draft who still sees the court. Gomes also showed a ton of potential, and was part of the KG trade.
2006: Traded the #7 pick for nothing, but then traded to get arguably one of the best players in that draft in Rajon Rondo.
2007: Ray Allen trade year, also aquired Glen Davis, the steal of the 2nd round that year outside of Gasol.
2008: Just a terrible draft, we all know who they should have drafted. They just won a title with KG, KP, and thought they had a good big man lineup. They were looking guard here, and not drafting Mario Chalmers with that pick killed us in more ways than one.
2009: #58 pick, does that even count?
2010: Drafted Avery Bradley with the #19
Steal of the draft considering AB just made the All NBA defensive team this year, and would most likely go top 8 in this draft.
2011: Terrible draft, missed in both rounds on players he should have drafted.
2012: Drafted Jared Sullinger with #21 (great pick), then Fab Melo with #22 (Terrible pick)
This draft was weird in that some of the best players that came from it were all 2nd round picks (Green, Crowder, Middleton), but I think getting Sully, who was in shape and actually good his first few years in the league, at #21 was good value. The Fab Melo pick was just horrid though, no one liked it at the time.
2013: Drafted Kelly Olynyk #13
This was the Giannis/Gobert draft, and a lot of people can't get past that. I can. Most teams missed on those guys, and we walked away from the draft with a player who is going to play 10+ years in the league, and would still go in the lottery. All things considered, that was a boom or bust draft, and we made out with a solid player. I'm fine with that.
2014: Marcus Smart #6, and James Young #17
Well Smart is the undisputed leader of the current team about to win 50+ games, so I'm content with this pick. He's also most likely going to be on an All-NBA defensive team this year, and just had 8 steals tonight. He's a game changer. Taking into account the 2 seasons missed by Parker and Embiib, and I can't help but like this pick.
Young is exactly what his name sake says he is. Young. He's still only 21, so he has a shot to become an NBA player. Obviously there are better players who we should have drafted over him though.
2015: Rozier #16
Good pick honestly, considering he's the backup point for a playoff team, and not a single player outside of the lottery in this draft has any potential. There's a reason why the Celtics didn't just trade him for Ibaka, and why he is mentioned in literally every Celtic trade rumor. The kid can play, he just needs the time.
So I guess I just don't see what other people see, or maybe I'm like Danny and I just over value the players I see every other day. But then I look at all the accolades these players have gotten or will get, that our last team won a title and went to another, and the team we have now is #2 in the East, with arguably the best draft status as well. What am I missing here?
Another player Ainge found late in the draft was Leon Powe. He was the 49th pick in the 2006 draft and was one of the key pieces on the championship team. I know his career was cut short by injuries but he was a great role player in his 3 years with the Celtics.
I think the criticism regarding his drafting is a bit over the top, but to play devil's advocate:
OP is acting as though getting rejected in his attempts to acquire Justise Winslow somehow means Ainge DIDN'T want Winslow, who appears to be pretty bad? The criticism at the time was that Charlotte was dumb for not taking Boston's trade. Ainge tried to make a bad trade for a seemingly bad player.
In recent years:
2012: Sullinger - I'd say this was fine for where he was taken.
Fab Melo (R.I.P.) - obviously this was a bust.
2014: Smart - not an awful pick, but outside of a few good games this month, his horrific offense probably still outweighs his defense. I think you would have certainly hoped for more picking at #6. Add to this the fact that the other moves Ainge has made will basically force him to either dump Smart or sign him to a big contract to play as the #3 PG next year, and it's just an okay pick at best. I'd say it was a mistake still.
James Young - obvious bust at the moment.
2015: Rozier - Was considered a pretty big reach at the time and hasn't done anything to prove otherwise yet. Awful offensive player and doesn't bring much defensively either.
RJ Hunter - Obviously has been a bust to this point
Jordan Mickey - Also hasn't done anything at all to this point.
2016: Brown - Too early to say. He's been bad overall, but he's shown flashes which is all you can really ask for early on.
Yabusele - just not in the NBA yet
Zizic - same as Yabusele
All in all, it's fine, but Ainge collected so many draft picks and failed to cash in, resulting in a need to either take European guys or trade his assets away and kick that can further down the road. There aren't enough roster spots to use all the picks he's collected in the past, and starting in 2012, the only pick that hasn't been awful so far is Sullinger and Smart (TBD on Brown).
Based on your comments I am certain you have not watched any Celtics games. Last year in the playoffs, Stevens threw Smart on Paul Millsap in crunch time and Smart held his own. Smart plays fearlessly. He and Bradley are such perfect compliments for IT's game. Smart is 17th in the league in real plus/minus. You need to stop looking at box scores.
He is Trader Danny. But I think the main point people say he sucks at drafting is because he has never hit on a star player in the draft. None of his picks have performed miles ahead of there draft position. He has had decent picks. But just never the diamond in the rough.
I still think he has masterfully positioned the team to win Banner 18. He has tons of options or ways to continue to improve the team for years to come.
"None of his draft picks have performed miles ahead of their draft position."
Rajon Rondo says hi.
of the Nets picks into another Star player b/c no one the Celtics draft w/ the Nets pick will help them win a Championship w/ this group that is doing so well.
We have to think how GM's think. 90% of NBA GM's KNOW they are Never building a championship team so they are looking for ways to LOOK good & High Draft picks gives downtrodden fan bases HOPE & give lousy GM's in places like Sacramento & Los Angeles & Chicago an opportunity to make GM $$$$ foran extra 2 or 3 years b/c they are perpetually "Building"
Unless the Celtics are SURE they can land Fultz & Ayton in the next 2 Drafts I would move Both these picks for Established Stars.
The 2017 Draft has poor teams as excited as they have been in Years. The 2016 Draft was Garbage & Everyone knew it. Jaylen Brown is just a guy. Aigne took a chance to land Simmons & I don't blame him b/c Simmons on that Celtics team would have put them one step closer to the Finals. But the 2017 Draft & that Nets pick - & there is NO guarentee that pick will be #1 - it could Easily be the #4 pick. - I'd move that for Jimmy Butler
The 2018 Draft is like the 2016 Draft - Garbage except 2 players - Ayton & Porter. Move that pick for a Center - Boogie Cousins maybe?
A Celtics team w/ Butler, Isaiah Thomas & Boogie Cousins could challenge for a Championship Immediately
First off, I want to thank everyone for their solid input.
I think a lot of what the problem currently is highlighted in this thread, and it's good to talk about them to get a better understanding of the game, and how GM's think.
The two examples I see/hear often actually came up. What Markfitz said about not drafting a player that has performed miles ahead of his position, and other posters calling Smart and Jalen Brown just "guys."
Celtics fans come back and shoot out that even though Smart doesn't average 20ppg, he still has the biggest plus/minus on the team, and we all see him as a 6'3 Dreymond Green. To us he's a a fantastic player, and losing him would change the entire makeup and identity of the team. I t hink when he's awarded All-Defensive first team this year (who else is even in the convo for guards?), people will start to take recognition.
I also think if you look at guys like Tony Allen, Avery Bradley, Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrik Perkin you would see that that statement by Markfitz just isn't true, as most of those guys would go in the lottery of those respective years.
The argument of drafting stars is also a little off base when you look that the only high picks he's ever had were #6 (turned into ray allen), #7 (got rondo that year who would have gone in that range, maybe higher), #6 (Again, with the injuries to Parker/Embiib, Smarts position is looking better and better. Jokic is the only player drafted after him that I would take over him at this point.).
If he had high picks, he would have better chances to draft stars (that and drafting Euro players...). considering he's been drafting in the late to mid teens most of his career, you have to respect the fact that he finds good talent.
As a Raptors fan I must say with all biased intentions. Screw Danny Ainge. How's he do it? Always pulling in these great trades and drafting well. He really upsets me.
Do I respect him? No I don't. I just wish he would leave. Go away!
AND another thing. Why does Boston win everything? Screw Boston. Spoiled nantuckets!
Not enough b balls to go around. Butler and Cousins are selfish too. That team fails.
Ainge is as good as it gets.
Hate when people talk up Pat Riley and Mitch Kupcheck. When I think good GM, I ask the question "would that GM be able to build a winner in Minnesota?"
With Ainge I say absolutely. No chance I'd trust some of those big market GMs who can essentially cut corners and sell their market.
He nailed the head coach hire with Stevens who is a better coach than Rivers by a wide margin in my opinion. He won the Pierce/Garnett trade in a big way and got a steal in Crowder for Rondo. He got Thomas for practically nothing. The man wins trades. I wouldn't sweat the not landing a superstar in the draft thing because so few "stars" go outside the top-five.
Ainge's rebuild of Boston has been maseterful and I disagree with people that think he should package those Nets picks for a star. The only guys I'd consider moving those for would be Paul George or Russel Westbrook. Don't touch Cousins or Butler.
Otherwise, keep those things, draft kids, let them slow cook while LeBron still runs the East and enjoy a championship window that lasts a decade plus.