Hey, remember that time where Danny Ainge supposedly wasn't a big fan of this year's draft? Well, it turns out that Ainge has had a change of heart (either that or he was not being completely honest in one of the cases..you know..because it would be crazy for an executive to do that) as ESPN's Chad Ford said that Ainge has flip-flopped, and now really likes the draft, especially Aaron Gordon (from today's ESPN.com chat).
Ainge went from hating the draft to loving it overnight LOL. If the Top 4 are all off the board (and by the way the Celtics are adamant that there isn't as much separation between the top 4 guys and the next 4 guys as we and others have suggested) then it's Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh and Julius Randle in some order. They also like Tyler Ennis and Gary Harris a lot too. Based on everything I've been able to gather all year, I'd say Gordon is probably the favorite though I know Smart has really grown on them and Ainge's son played against Vonleh in high school which gave Ainge a few extra scouting looks at him as well. But if I was going to pick one guy right now, I think it's Gordon.
LOL indeed Chad. So basically Ainge likes ten players (at a minimum), but according to Ford, Gordon is the leader in the clubhouse to go 6th overall.
For those unfamiliar with Gordon, get familiarized. He's a 6'9", 220 pound power forward who has the athleticism to possibly play some small forward at the next level (especially defensively). He's an athletic freak with a 7' wingspan and a 39" vertical who profiles to being a phenomenal defensive player who will run the floor as well as just about any 4 in basketball. Offensively he gets a lot of his points in transition and on the offensive glass, but he's a bit underrated as a shooter. Yes for some reason the foul line is his worst enemy (42% last year, although he's apparently spent the entire Spring re-working his technique), but he did shoot 36% from three and while his release is slow, it's nothing that can't be worked on at the next level. His biggest weakness is an absolute lack of a post game. According to Draft Express he averaged just 0.55 points per play in the post -- that's awful for a power forward.
But Gordon can defend multiple positions, is a great rebounder, a good passer and he's also one of the youngest players in the draft (turns 19 in September). If he can improve his offensive game he could become a Shawn Marion type player that dominates on the defensive end while impacting the game in a variety of other ways (Marion is probably the most realistic comparison I've heard -- much more so than the Blake Griffin ones).
Lot of time until the draft, and still many different directions Ainge can go. But Gordon is clearly a name that we're going to hear a ton of over the next four weeks, and I don't think anyone would be surprised if he's wearing a Celtics hat on stage come June 26th.
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