Blakely: Josh Jackson's lack of time with Celtics makes him unlikely choice at No. 3

Blakely: Josh Jackson's lack of time with Celtics makes him unlikely choice at No. 3

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.

Even better?

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.

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press