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.