Ainge: No game-changers in this draft

Ainge: No game-changers in this draft
March 25, 2014, 12:45 pm
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Danny Ainge says that we've all put too much stock in the talent pool of this year's draft class.

On Monday night, Ainge, Brad Stevens and Rich Gotham were featured in a live stream video on the Celtics website to discuss the direction of the team.

Among the topics raised was this year's NBA Draft. To tank or not to tank has been a discussion all season, and Ainge suggested during the question-and-answer session that even those teams tanking for the best possible selection won't be transformed by the player they pick.

"I've been saying all along that the experts on ESPN and so forth are blowing this draft out of proportion," Ainge said. "First of all, we don't even know who's in the draft yet. There are a lot of underclassmen that are projected, so we're prepared for those underclassmen that are projected draft picks but we don't know who's going to be in the draft.

"There aren't any game changers in the draft. There are a lot of nice players and players that we'll be excited to work into the development, but they're not going to come in and turn our team around in one year or two years. But hopefully we'll be able to get a couple of players this year that will be rotation players in the NBA for years to come."

Ainge was willing to admit that the Celtics might be looking for some size in the draft, wherever they pick.

"I think rim protection has been a weakness of ours this year," he said. "Then just quality, consistent play, the best players."

One player who has garnered plenty of attention of late is Australian prospect Dante Exum. While not going into specifics on what he thinks of Exum's skill set, Ainge did detail his philosophy on international players.

"Sure. There are international players that we are very fond of and very aware of," Ainge said. "We haven't had a lot of international players but every year there has been a guy or two that we've really liked that have been gobbled up by somebody ahead of us, or we just liked someone else better at the time we picked. Yeah, there are some international possibilities this year."

Part of the reason Exum's draft stock may continue to rise is that other prospects -- Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Marcus Smart -- have all been eliminated from the tournament early on.

Ainge said that a poor performance in the NCAA tournament doesn't necessarily affect his perception of a particular player.

"No, I don't think so, not if it's one bad game," Ainge said. "I've seen too many guys that have played poorly. I remember the most blatant one was Mark Price back when I was playing. He was an All-American and he had a bad NCAA tournament against Georgetown and everybody assumed he couldn't play in the NBA against athletes. Then he became a Hall of Fame player, he was special. It's not one game, it's the whole package and what they've done throughout their careers, what they've done in international competition, and what they did most of this last season. But it's also what they do from here on out, when we evaluate in the combine camps and draft workouts and so forth."