Celtics 2016 Draft puts 'In Danny we trust' mantra to the test

Celtics 2016 Draft puts 'In Danny we trust' mantra to the test

BOSTON – The TD Garden had a definite buzz about it Thursday night with season ticket holders eagerly awaiting to see what the Celtics would do with the third overall pick in the draft.

Keep it?

Trade it as part of a package for an established star?

Trade it down for a player they like and a future asset?

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

And then they made the pick.

Cal’s Jaylen Brown was the guy they wanted.

It wasn’t the sexiest pick they could have made. It wasn’t a no-brainer pick, either. And it doesn’t magically transform the Celtics into an NBA title contender or anything like that.

It once again puts this whole ‘In Danny (Ainge) we trust’ mantra among Celtics fans to the test.

This was not a player that immediately energized the Celtics fan base, evident by the number of boos that echoed throughout the Garden upon him being selected.

But this is what makes Ainge so good at his job. He will not pander to what’s popular or easily accepted.

Ainge has had a very simple philosophy when it comes to drafting players. He’ll take whoever helps the Celtics the most, which is why Dragan Bender and Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield – and yes, Kris Dunn of Providence College – were all passed over for Brown.

Those players all have clear strengths which validate them being among the top players in the draft. 

But Ainge evaluates more than talent.

He’s also looking for toughness, the right fit both on and off the court.

But Brown brings something more to the game. The minute he steps on the floor for his first Celtics practice, he will be their best athlete. And with a 7-foot wingspan, Brown has the kind of length that could become a factor immediately on the defensive side of the ball.

Providence College guard Kris Dunn was the player that fans wanted Ainge to select, and multiple league sources told CSNNE.com that Dunn was given “strong consideration” with the number three pick by Boston.

The Celtics were engaged in a number of potential trades, but rebuffed them all because teams were trying to hustle the Celtics asking for a lot more than the Celtics were willing to part with.

And to follow that up with a pair of draft-and-stash picks in the first round with picks No. 16 and No. 23, fans were once again left feeling as though this draft was a dud for the Green Team.

But there was a method to Ainge’s approach to the 16th and 23rd picks.

By drafting those two players and not having them come over immediately, that will give the Celtics a little more flexibility to potentially sign a pair of max-salaried players this summer.

As far as their second round picks, Boston can either sign them to short-term, minimum salary deals or have them play overseas and thus maintain more cap flexibility going into this summer.

And going into the summer, the Celtics will be well-positioned to pursue the best players available and not be consumed with trying to figure out if they can make it work financially.

This road back to being an elite team is not an easy one for a Celtics fan base that’s clamoring for a team that can legitimately bring home Banner 18.

It will require adding elite talent, continued improvement among their young core of players and yes … trust in Ainge. 

Horford helps Celtics get back on track

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Horford helps Celtics get back on track

Aggressive Al Horford was on the floor Friday night for the Boston Celtics, a good sign for a Celtics team that has been battered by injuries. 

As the oldest member of the team, the 31-year-old’s leadership has to become more example-driven as well as existing in the spoken word.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST  - Smart's importance to C's, dissecting the East

Horford was on point for most of Friday’s 92-83 win over Orlando, a game that was far more lopsided in Boston’s favor than the final score might indicate.

The 6-foot-10 forward/center had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. 

What was more telling was that Horford took a team-high 18 shots from the field, as clear a sign as you will find that Horford’s mindset on Friday was to attack Orlando’s defense early and often. 

And while it’s true that the Magic are one of the worst teams in the NBA, that doesn’t diminish the way Horford executed the plays called by head coach Brad Stevens as Horford played the role of primary scorer more often than usual, instead of being a major facilitator.

Having missed Boston’s previous two games, Horford was admittedly concerned if the lay-off might affect his conditioning. 

“Wind-wise I felt good,” Horford told reporters after Friday night’s win. “A little rusty on offense. But defensively I felt great. I felt our team came out with energy; just a good win.” 

A win that became a lot easier to get with Aggressive Al on the floor. 

 Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in Boston’s 92-83 win over Orlando.



Terry Rozier: He continues to provide the Celtics with really solid guard play, with all-star guard Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) missing. Rozier had a game high-tying 17 points along with seven rebounds and five assists. 

Greg Monroe: The third quarter was when Monroe really began to take over the game. He finished with 17 points, 10 of which came in the third. 

Shelvin Mack: Not a lot to cheer about for Mack and the Magic who once again struggled in so many phases of the game. But Mack still managed to score 16 points. 



Al Horford: Having missed the two previous games, Horford was back in full force on Friday. He had 15 points on 6-for-18 shooting to go with nine rebounds

Boston rebounding: The Celtics control of the glass began from the outset and never really eased up. For the game, Boston grabbed 55 rebounds compared to just 40 by Orlando. 



Fourth-quarter Celtics: The only real blemish on an otherwise impressive performance by Boston, was the team’s overall play in the fourth quarter. Boston was outscored 31-17 and turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter. 


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.