BOSTON – If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Danny Ainge when it comes to the NBA draft process.
He loves being hands-on when it comes to evaluating talent.
When you look at most of the prospects Ainge and the Boston Celtics are considering with the No. 3 pick, that has been the case with one exception. . . Josh Jackson.
Not only have the Celtics not worked out Jackson, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the 6-8 forward from Kansas had yet to even a conversation with Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations who will ultimately make the call on who to select in tomorrow night's NBA draft.
Jackson said when the Celtics had the number one pick, he and his agent didn’t feel Boston was all that interested in him. And when they traded it for the number 3 pick on Monday (the framework of the deal was agreed to on Saturday shortly after Markelle Fultz’s workout with the Sixers), Jackson said they tried to schedule a workout but “it was scheduling issues and just a little too late for me to get out (to Boston) then.”
Still, Jackson added that he’s open to playing for Boston if they draft him at No. 3.
“It would be great to play in Boston,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “I see a lot of their players on their team are about the same things I’m about. Anybody who knows me, knows I love to win. I see that in a lot of the guys on their team. I would love to play in Boston.”
Still, it’s hard to imagine the Celtics drafting a player that high that they didn’t work out, in addition to not having Ainge spend some time getting to know them whether it be in person or on the phone.
And while it was great that Jackson had a chance to talk to head coach Brad Stevens and some assistant coaches on the phone, Ainge is the one that you have to really sell on being worth the No. 3 pick, not Stevens.
The interview portion of workouts is important, but takes on even greater significance for Jackson who has some aspects of his past that Ainge – or any team for that matter – would want to hear his version of what happened.
In his lone season at Kansas, there were two incidents that drew national headlines.
He was involved in a fender-bender that he did not tell Jayhawks head coach Bill Self about until a month later, which led to the 6-foot-8 forward being suspended by Self for the start of the Big 12 Tournament.
But the real questions about Jackson’s character center around an incident in December when he allegedly made verbal threats of violence to a Kansas women’s basketball player, in addition to doing about $1,000 of damage to her car according to the police.
“A lot of the character issues that you guys have probably been reading, they’ve been blown out of proportion a lot,” Jackson said. “Obviously I did a few things wrong that I should not have done, but it’s been blown up a lot just because I am who I am. The people close to the situation, the teams that are considering drafting me that I have talked to, they know exactly what’s going on. They know exactly what’s happening. It’s a minor mistake.”
That’s what he’s saying to the media, which is a good thing.
If he would have had the time to say it to Danny Ainge, the man who will make the call on who Boston selects with the third overall pick.