BOSTON – The Celtics’ practice facility will become a basketball port-of-call in the coming weeks as some of the best young talent passes through, all with the goal of doing their best to impress the Celtics’ brass.
Austin Ainge, the Celtics’ director of player personnel, said Boston will begin working out players on Wednesday with the first group consisting of six players - two guards, two forwards and two big men.
“We’ll put them through a lot of different situations,” Ainge, who declined to identify the six players working out on Wednesday, told CSNNE.com. “We’ll see how bigs are at guarding guards, and guards defending bigger players, some of the roles they would have to play if they were Celtics…We’ll get a good look at what they can do in a lot of different scenarios.”
With eight draft picks [three in the first round and five in the second], the list of players making the rounds will likely be longer than usual.
Ainge said he anticipated the Celtics will work out 80-100 players, which is slightly more than they usually do.
“With trades, you just never really know,” Ainge said. “So we try to work out players all the way through 60.”
Speaking of trades, Ainge anticipates the Celtics will be on the phone more than past years because they have so many picks and, by all indications, do not plan to use them all.
If Boston can’t package some of their picks to acquire more talent, the Celtics will look even closer than usual at drafting players from overseas with the intent that they don’t join Boston’s roster for a couple of years.
Because Boston has so many picks, you would think they would be in position to be more selective than past years when it came to who they brought in for workouts.
“With our picks, it is in a player’s best interest to work out for us,” Ainge acknowledged. “But for us, we want to see as many players as possible so that we can draft the best fit, the best player that’s available.”
The draft lottery later on May 17 will determine exactly where the Celtics will be selecting with the pick they acquired as part of the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013.
Boston acquired three picks as part of the trade. They used the first one to draft James Young two years ago.
This past season, Brooklyn (21-61) finished with the third-worst record, which gives Boston a 15.6 percent chance that the Nets pick it receives will be the No. 1 overall selection.
If Boston lands one of the top-two picks, a workout with LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram – the consensus top-two players in this year’s draft – is likely. And if the Celtics wind up with the No. 2 pick, they might work out Dragan Bender who is the top overseas prospect in this year’s draft.
In addition to the Brooklyn pick, which will be no worse than the sixth overall selection, Boston has another pair of first-round picks (16th and 23rd overall), along with five second-round picks (31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th), at their disposal.