Danny Ainge says top of the 2016 NBA Draft is ‘a little bit cloudy’

Ben Simmons (middle) and the LSU Tigers took on Derek Willis (left), Isaiah Briscoe (right), and the Kentucky Wildcats on March 5.
Ben Simmons (middle) and the LSU Tigers took on Derek Willis (left), Isaiah Briscoe (right), and the Kentucky Wildcats on March 5. –Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics still have the coveted Brooklyn Nets pick in their possession for this year’s NBA Draft, a pick that’s projected to land in the top five. However, in Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge’s mind, there’s a bit of uncertainty at the top of the draft board.

Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Thursday that his perceptions of college players don’t usually change much over the course of the season, but that the outlook of this year’s top prospects still looks to be a little hazy.

“They change a little bit, like maybe there’s a clear one, two, three in your mind, and maybe it gets a little more cloudy,’’ Ainge said. “This year I think it’s a little bit cloudy at the top of the draft.’’

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One reason for doubt could be highly touted prospect Ben Simmons of LSU getting left off the Wooden Award finalist for not reaching the academic criteria — but according to Ainge, just because someone doesn’t perform in the classroom, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be successful with NBA life.

“There’s a difference between being smart and focused,’’ Ainge said. “Unfortunately, there’s too many that get away with not going to class enough, but I’ve drafted players that haven’t been great students before.’’

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