As we all wait impatiently for the draft, you've probably taken a look at some of the top prospects that the Celtics might acquire. Sure, you've your ideal college phenom in mind, whether it's Parker, Embiid, Smart or one of the others. Then you imagine them plugged into a lineup. You fantasize and think to yourself, 'Rondo, Parker...maybe Love?!' and become flustered with excitement momentarily. Then you realize how speculative and hypothetical you are and gather yourself. Nevertheless, you can't help but wonder, 'what is Ainge thinking?'. Well, the Boston Herald provides us with some insight.
While we eagerly flip on NCAA tournament games hoping for upsets, buzzer beaters, and anything that won't demolish our brackets any further, Danny Ainge is looking for other things. In fact, he doesn't even care much for the numbers:
"I'm not looking at the 'why' of what's happening," Ainge said. "I'm not looking at the box score to determine whether a players is playing well or looking at what people's expectations might be. I'm looking [at], why is he playing well? Or, why is he not playing well? How is he defending? How is he interacting with his teammates? How does he respond to adversity?"
"I'm looking at a whole gamut of things, trying to get the full picture of the player, because so much of it is trying to predict who that player can become, not just who he is right now."
Like he said, Ainge is looking for a whole slew of things when evaluating college prospects. He needs to take a variety of things into account, such as team context among others to try to put together an unbiased assessment.
"We're typically evaluating players that we've watched in international competition, whether it be for the USA or whatever country they may have played on," he said. "We're watching guys in summer competition and their college careers and draft workouts. I think you have to see all of it, because sometimes certain guys are restricted by the system they play in for their college team. You might not see the full array of things they can do, and then you see them in a different environment playing for USA Basketball and you see a completely different person."
"There are certain teams out there who play a way that it's hard to shine in," Ainge said. "They're built for team success; they're not built for great individual success. Then there are some teams that play a little more up and down, guys put up better stats and they get a lot more publicity. So watching players in different environments, I think, is very important."
Though some criticize Ainge for his drafting, has has undeniably struck gold before.
"I mean, that was the case with Rondo. After the summer before his sophomore year, we had him rated very, very high. And then he had a sub-par sophomore year by everybody's standards, I think, even by his own. But we still really, really valued him based on numerous games in the summertime with USA Basketball, where he was the best player of that whole group."
Despite maintaining a certain agenda when evaluating players, Ainge admitted that he is not immune to mistakes.
"You know, there are some times when we have a lot of information on these players, a lot of games and a lot of film and research and background checks and a lot of opinions that go into it, and there are times when you can overthink it. Sometimes you ignore certain information because a guy can do certain things well, and sometimes you pay attention to that information and you bypass a guy who turns out to be really good."
If there is ever a time you can't 'miss' in the draft, it is a rebuilding year with two potentially game-changing first round draft picks. C'mon Danny, bring home a keeper. We need it.