'First of all, Brad is very good at evaluating,' said Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge. 'He has a lot of practice at it. So we'd be crazy not to get his opinion because he's a great basketball mind.
Stevens and his staff orchestrate the team's workouts with the hopes of seeing how players will perform in the Celtics' system. He was at the combine, he's in the interviews, and he's watching film on all the draft hopefuls the Celtics work out. Stevens and the coaches get more involved this time of year when the focus can be more on organizational development, rather than the day in day out grind of an 82 game season.
The coaching staff joins the Ainges, assistant general manager Mike Zarren, and the rest of their braintrust in prepping for the draft. Everyone participates. More Forsberg:
Every member of the staff keeps a list -- their own personal big board, if you will -- and will often try to argue for their picks when the staff meets to discuss how the team might proceed on draft night. Danny Ainge has been known to ask his staff to argue for -- or even against -- a player they like and is open to all input. On draft night, it's ultimately the elder Ainge who makes the decision on who the Celtics will go with.
I love this idea of Danny Ainge putting his guys on the hot seat during those meetings like he's a law professor. If you're in that meeting you better be keeping your big board tight. And Austin Ainge has a real even-keeled take on judging whether any of this is even effective:
We try to evaluate ourselves, not just on the picks we make, which is what ultimately matters, but on all 70, 80 guys that are being considered in the draft," said Austin Ainge. "Because that gives you a little bigger portfolio to evaluate yourself on, right? If we pick one pick out of 60 and we get that wrong -- but if we got 90 percent of the other guys right -- then we probably don’t need to change our entire process. But if we’re getting a lot wrong, then maybe we should go back and re-evaluate.
Which brings us to the question of stashing. With four picks in this draft and eight more next year, the Celtics have more picks than they can possibly roster. Sure, trades could be made. But another possibility is taking some chances on project players and shipping them overseas. If the Celtics truly believe in their system, they could well value having four picks more than one late top 10 pick. There's certainly been some intriguing fringe prospects at the Celtics' training facility in the last couple weeks. You can't help but wonder if Austin Ainge will be taking some prospects' temperature on packing up for a season in Istanbul the closer we get to the draft.
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