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NBA Draft 2014: Celtics Draft Party Diary

Instead of driving to New York for the actual draft, I opted to go to the Celtics’ draft party in Boston.

6:45 — After working my way through two hours of Boston traffic, I just arrived and nothing has broken. This feels like that moment in Game of Thrones when a wedding appears to be going really well, and all is right with the world. Something big (and probably awful) is on its way.

7:00 — Fairly certain Draft Express rated the media room sandwiches as likely second-round picks. Some potential, but lots of flaws.

7:10 — Here’s Andrew Wiggins’ suit:

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.06.35 PM


Is this a number one pick? Does his outfit put to rest any questions about his boldness? I would say YES HE IS AND YES IT DOES.

7:15 — Everyone here seems to think the Celtics are high on Aaron Gordon which YEP YEP YEP YES PLEASE. From the sounds of things, Gordon and Marcus Smart were both fantastic interviews as well. I approve.

7:16 — Also worth noting: The Celtics are “tight-lipped” on Joel Embiid after seeing his medical reports. I like this. Why would Orlando or Utah bite if they haven’t seen his reports?

7:17 — Also ALSO worth noting: Noah Vonleh is falling down the draft board. I can’t say I’m that surprised…I’m just hoping he free-falls well past #6.

7:25 — Just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know I’m freaking out a little bit.

7:32 — Adam Silver hits the stage and is greeted by an enormous round of applause! I hope this becomes a traditional inside joke. I also hope that, at some point, the NBA brings out David Stern, just to troll everyone. Have a little fun with it, NBA!

7:33 — “Cleveland is now on the clock.” What happens if Cleveland runs out of time? Wouldn’t that be the most logical way to follow up the Anthony Bennett pick? Lose it because you ran out of time?

7:35 — 1:15, 1:11, 1:00…Um, Cleveland, I was kidding but…

7:36 — :14, :13, :06, :04, :02…IT’S HAPPENING!

7:39 — Whatever, I guess they get to keep it and it’s anarchy in the NBA or something.

7:41 — The Cavs take Wiggins. I love love LOVE him there for several reasons. First, I think he fits nicely with that team. His defense will be great, and he can (hopefully) develop his shot without feeling like he has to score 20 points per game immediately to have an impact. Second, Cleveland can’t be accused of screwing up the pick, even if he is a bust. Win win.

7:42 — Incidentally, Adrian Wojnarowski is already WAY ahead of the game. He has reported picks 2-4, and Milwaukee hasn’t even selected.

7:43 — …And now he’s reporting a rather horrifying trade: The #6 pick to Sacramento for…Ben McLemore? Just McLemore? Not even the #8? What in the world is happening?

I’m going to riot if this occurs.

7:44 — We’ve reached a point in the NBA draft where the second question a number one pick is asked is “Talk to me about your fashion.” Wiggins’ suit was styled by someone named Ryan Williams, unless I heard wrong, which I probably did. Wiggins also ended an answer with the phrase “You know. Eh.” I love this pick. Well done, Cleveland.

7:49 — Jabari Parker goes to Milwaukee, and nobody is surprised.

7:53 — Joel Embiid goes to Philadelphia. Didn’t Philly get the message that they didn’t have his medical reports? C’mon, Sam Hinkie. Play ball here.

Honestly, though, I’d be happier with Aaron Gordon.

7:55 — HOLD EVERYTHING ENTIRELY. Woj is reporting the MAGIC are going to take Aaron Gordon. I realize Woj is never wrong, but this would be a pretty nice time for him to start. Why would Orlando want Gordon?

7:56 — And Utah is taking Dante Exum, as they should, stopping his fall and leaving the Celtics none of the best-case scenarios I was hoping for. I would bet my car and my dog that Marcus Smart is the pick here. (Note: I would not bet my dog. You can have my car though.)

7:57 — So we knew there was a decent chance one of Embiid/Gordon wouldn’t be available. I agree with teams who are letting Vonleh slide, but Boston really could have used a reach from someone. Exum might have fallen, which would have been intriguing.

7:59 — There goes Aaron Gordon, officially. My heart hurts.

8:01 — This is insane. Woj continues to report that the Celtics’ deal for Ben McLemore would not include Sacramento’s 8th pick. Why would Boston ever do this?  

8:03 — Woj/Chad Ford/Marc Spears haven’t been able to get past the impenetrable wall of Boston’s war room. That’s fine; it’s going to be Marcus Smart.

8:03 — Incidentally, how absolutely unbelievable is Kevin Durant’s “The Baddest” ad series? This absolutely has the potential to be better than Uncle Drew. I prefer “Badder than a good thanksgiving dinner” to “Don’t reach, young blood.”

8:06 — Official adios to Dante Exum. Still nothing from the Celtics’ war room. The Celtics are ON THE CLOCK.

8:07 — Losing.

8:08 — My.

8:09 — Mind.

8:09 — And there it is. Chad Ford and others are tweeting that Boston’s pick will be Marcus Smart. Hang on, I need to process.

8:11 — I’m still trying to figure this out. We’ve had strong trade rumors regarding the sixth pick, but the Celtics were reportedly really really high on Marcus Smart. How could Woj’s wires have gotten this crossed? Or was the deal honestly that close? Or are the Celtics honestly trading the guy they spent the entire season losing for in exchange for a guy with a 7.7 PER in 2013-14 with an abysmal team? Or are the Celtics considering making the Rondo-for-the-8th pick trade? 

8:12 — It’s official: Boston won 25 games to acquire Marcus Smart. I’m not SO mad at that, I guess.

8:13 — ESPN pans to a guy cheering enthusiastically in a Rondo jersey. I wonder if he realizes how precarious this pick appears to make Rondo’s future with the Celtics?

8:20 — Wyc Grousbeck is about to speak to Boston media. I’ll be there holding a microphone and pretending that I belong.

8:30 — Wyc did good work. reassuring us all that Rondo would stay. We posted it in our Marcus Smart profile, but here’s Wyc’s quote on the topic again.

“It’s interesting, that wasn’t a topic of conversation tonight. We have confidence in Brad that he can manage a roster…That’s a strategy when you are rebuilding, you take the best available athlete and then you work it all out.

“I don’t think this has anything to do with Rajon Rondo.”

8:40 — Holy lord, this Isaiah Austin tribute is amazing. I’m trying not to cry like a blubbering idiot in the Celtics media room.

9:00 — I’m slacking on my draft dairying. Apologies. I like TJ Warren a lot to Phoenix. Lots of great prospects still available for Boston at 17.

9:15 — Cleanthony Early. Clint Capela. PJ Hairston. I would be very excited by any of these guys. I’m not much of a James Young guy, and I feel like KJ McDaniels might be a reach this high, but any of the other three would be pretty great.

9:25 — So, of course, here come the James Young reports. I am not particularly pleased with this pick.

9:30 — James Young. It’s official. Let’s briefly break this down:

Young is a shooter (allegedly) who shot below 35 percent from 3-point range. He’s an athlete (allegedly) who doesn’t have real explosiveness side to side or up and down the court. He’s very fluid, but often takes awkward shots.

I understand that Young has great measurables and that he’s very young, but he hasn’t really given us any indicator that he’s going to deliver on his potential.

9:33 — Honestly, couldn’t Boston have traded down and gotten him? I know you can get too cute trying to mess around with that, but somebody has to be stressing about a prospect being off the board at this point, right? And it’s not like Young was the only shooting guard/small forward still available.

9:36 — Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca: “We had these guys ranked higher than we drafted them.” Good lord guys, how high did you have James Young ranked?

9:37 — Pagliuca references a Red Auerbach quote: “‘You need instigators, not retaliators” in reference to Marcus Smart. This is interesting for two reasons: First, Wyc said exactly the same thing. Second, this is not NOT a retaliation…right?

Listen, that fan deserved to get pushed, and I actually like Smart a little more for doing it, even though I obviously hope he doesn’t do it again. It’s just a weird thing to say with such an obvious retort available.

9:38 — More Pagliuca: “We were thinking Chicago might take (James Young).” Nah, the Bulls were much too busy snapping up Dougie McBuckets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris, both of whom might prove to be more useful than McDermott.

10:15 — I’m still slacking on this. More apologies. Stevens just talked to the media. Two quick thoughts:

— The biggest takeaway from Stevens’ interview: “I don’t think there is any doubt (Rondo and Smart) can play together. I think it will be great for Marcus to have a guy like Rondo to look up to and learn from. Not many guys get that opportunity, especially early on the draft like this.”

— Stevens really seems to think Young has a lot of potential. He talked at length about his youth and how good he has the potential to be. “He was on my top 11.”

10:16 — Charlotte drafts Shabazz Napier? Are we going to get a Shabazz and Kemba reunion??

10:17 — The Heat trade for Shabazz, ruining everything AS USUAL. :( The sads.

10:43 — At 30, how in the world is Cleanthony Early still available? Really hoping Boston can make its way into the second round to snap up someone like him.

10:55 — MassLive’s Jay King after James Young’s conference call: “I’m pretty sure he just called Brad Stevens ‘Brian.'” So this should go well.

11:23 — We are well into the second round, so let’s will wrap this up, although I’ll take more notes if the Celtics take on another pick. This brings an end to Boston’s 2013-14 season in which the Celtics #MadeLosingAnArtForMarcusSmart and, apparently, #GotTheirBellRungJamesYoung.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • hax

    1) I don’t see why trading Smart for Mclemore would cause riots. Mclemore is better right now. But yeah, another piece would be good. But that trade didn’t happen, so nothing to talk about there.

    2) The fan called Smart a ‘piece of crap’ which is nothing compared to what NBA players hear all game long. Smart is immature. Stevens and Rondo have their work cut out for them turning this boy into a man. But it’s do-able. Hopefully he’ll come off the bench for Rondo & Young, both positions. Would be good minutes and if he plays any good, it’d be a large boost to the team. Would also free up a lot of the roster not spamming junk guards everywhere, like last year(Babb, Pressey, Bayless).

    3) Can we give Young a chance before giving him the Jeff Green ‘you’re the best player but we hate you’ treatment? He showed a lot of flashes of scoring and clutch play last year. Looked way better than Harrisons/Randle in several games.

  • dasein

    Hinkie did get an Embiid medical report. All of the top 3 did in addition to Cs and Lakers.

    Hinkie is the crimelord. It was kinda obvious that Magic wanted Payton at 12 once they took Gordon at 4. So Hinkie nabs him at 10 to extort the Magic. And it worked- they got their own 2015 1st back. This will almost certainly be a top 3 pick next year. I wonder if this type of thing is going to backfire for Hinkie in the long run though. Magic shoulda at least played a little hardball, and threaten to leave him with a player he didn’t want. But then they failed the draft in general.

    • hax

      76’ers won this draft so much.
      Magic blew it so bad.(Reach on Gordon, gave up a lot for Payton, also a reach)

      Oh well, their defense might be good next year.