boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe
DAN SHAUGHNESSY

He's ready to mock this draft

I know whom the Celtics are going to select with their first pick in tonight's draft. I spent weeks doing deep undercover research and came up with the name. Forget all that other stuff you've heard and read. This is the guy . . .

Keyser Soze.

Perhaps you've heard of him. More than likely you haven't. He's a 6-foot-10-inch Hungarian, 22 years old. Here's the book on him: really shoots it, runs the floor well, and just needs to gain a little weight.

Never mind what you've been hearing from Leo Papile, Ted Sarandis, Mike Tirico, Greg Anthony, or Anthony Athanas. Forget about Robert Swift, Luke Jackson, and/or Dorell Wright. Keyser Soze is the guy.

And here's another clue for you all. The Celtics just may pull the trigger on that deal we've been hearing about. You know, the one that has them sending Paul Pierce to Chicago for Chandler, Joey, Ross, Phoebe, and Friends.

OK, by now you all know that I'm just making this stuff up. But unless you are Leo Papile, Ted Sarandis, Mike Tirico, or Greg Anthony, I probably had you going with Keyser Soze (the fabled, fabricated killer in "The Usual Suspects''). Really. Can any normal sports fan any longer have any clue what's up with the NBA Draft? Those days are over and so is the fun of the draft.

Red Auerbach is going to be on hand tonight. He's been involved in every draft since 1950, when he took Charlie Share with his first pick, then broke the NBA color barrier by being the first general manager to select an African-American player - Duquesne's Chuck Cooper. That was the same year Auerbach got "stuck'' with a "local yokel'' in a special dispersal draft - fellow by the name of Cousy.

In the spring harvest of 1956 Auerbach selected Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, and K.C. Jones with his first three picks, probably the only three-Hall-of-Famer draft in league history. Danny Ainge has three first-round picks tonight and he'll be happy to come away with one guy who scores 10 points in an NBA game sometime in the next three years. History shows the odds are not good. With the introduction of high school players and Europeans, the NBA Draft has become the third source of roster improvements. Teams rely on free agent signings and trades first, then pray they get something on draft night. More often than not, they get Joseph Forte.

Heinsohn attended yesterday's predraft press conference at the Celtics' facility in Waltham and his presence reminded some of us of the days when Red would select a college graduate who he'd maybe seen at the Holiday Festival or the NIT. If Red hadn't seen the player play, he'd just call up one of his guys. It was former Celtic Bones McKinney (then coach at Wake Forest) who in 1957 told Auerbach to take a chance on an unknown guard from North Carolina Central named Sam Jones.

Today's scouting is more scientific, but yields far less because as new Celtics coach Doc Rivers said, "the draft gets younger and younger every year and it's more athletic and less skilled every year.''

Rivers was critical of the team he inherited, saying, "I've watched close to all the games and I'll tell you what, there's some bad games in there. We have to instigate more.'' He said he wants to play uptempo, with more skilled players, and play better defense.

There's been some tension at the top of the Celtic command this week. A couple of draft chiefs walked out of a meeting Tuesday night, complaining about interference from ownership and new hires in the front office. Meanwhile, ownership is concerned that Rivers (who'll make $5 million per year) might not be moving his family to Boston as part of his commitment to the Celtics. Lastly, Sports Illustrated.com recently reported that Ainge turned down a two-year contract extension and that former Celtics coach John Carroll was told he'd get his playoff bonus even if the Celtics didn't make the postseason.

Asked about the no-playoff-bonus offer, Carroll yesterday said, "I never said that.''

Fine. But is it true?

"I never said that,'' repeated Carroll.

We'll take that as a yes.

The Celtics, as you know, did make the playoffs. And they did get swept. And Carroll did get fired.

And tonight they do have three picks.

Who will it be? Robert Swift? Luke Jackson? Donta Smith?

Keyser Soze?

"There's a lot of people that don't have a clue what's going on,'' said Ainge.

We can only hope he's not speaking about any of the people who'll be in the draft room with him tonight.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives