With the NBA draft two days away and Kevin Garnett's status still unresolved (publicly, at least), the Celtics' draft strategy would seem to be in flux.
But A. Sherrod Blakely thinks Celtics boss Danny Ainge has a philosophy that he can employ whether or not Garnett returns.
"I think Danny understands, year in and year out, you have to add the best players that fit what you're looking to do moving forward," Blakely told Carolyn Manno Monday on 'SportsNet Central'.
And one thing is clear: The Celtics need frontcourt help, regardless of Garnett's decision.
"Talking with Kevin throughout the season made it very clear: He hates being a center," said Blakely. "So, obviously, you have to get some guys who can take a little bit of that load off him playing that 5 spot. And there are some guys that are going to be in this draft that can help him to do that, that will be available when the Celtics are picking at 21 and 22. But the key is whether or not those guys are the right fit."
As for whether or not the Celtics use their two first-round picks to try and trade up . . .
"You know, in this draft, you're not going to find a player as good as Kevin Garnett at 1, or 2, or 10, or 12, or anywhere in the draft," said Blakely. "So moving up isn't going to necessarily fill that void.
"I think that the plan all along has to be to add talent. And that is, using the picks you have. You can get guys at 21 and 22 to help you in that frontcourt. And remember, the Celtics are going to have a lot of salary cap space this summer. So you can also address that need through free agency."
Jae Crowder praises what it's like to play for Brad Stevens, and how playing for him has rejuvenated him as a player.
WALTHAM, Mass. – NBA players are creatures of habit so you can understand why Al Horford was just a little bit out of his element on his first practice with the Boston Celtics.
After nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Horford hit the free agent market this summer and signed a four-year, $113 million with the Celtics.
Horford acknowledged that his first practice with the Celtics “was a little different” but added, “It’s definitely a weird feeling, but it feels right to be here.”
Players, coaches, national pundits, the list is seemingly endless when it comes to folks who believe Horford is an ideal fit with the Boston Celtics.
“He can do score in the paint, shoot 3s, defend, pass, he can do it all out there,” Amir Johnson told CSNNE.com. “He’s going to fit in well with us.”
But like any rookie or newcomer to a team, Horford admitted he had some moments when he was a step or two late getting to where he needed to be on the floor.
“We’re running through a lot of plays, a lot of concepts being thrown out,” Horford said. “It’s a matter of getting comfortable with all the sets.”
As much as he will work to figure things out, Horford is wise enough to know he’ll need the help of his new teammates, too.
“I’m going to lean on a lot of the guys,” Horford said. “I’ll definitely ask a lot of questions. Avery (Bradley) already has gotten in my ear, anything I need he’s there for me. I just want to get acclimated as fast as I can.”
Horford also said that head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely helpful in assisting him in speeding up his learning curve.
“Coach (Stevens) is very sharp, very . . . he explains things well,” Horford said. “He explains things well. He wants practice to move along. The pace of practice, definitely a faster pace.”
But you won’t find Horford complaining.
Horford is clearly excited about starting this new chapter in his basketball career.
“For me it’s more of a relief, finally being here in Boston, house, being settled,” Horford said. “Now we can just focus on the season.”