So much for fireworks.
Rather than pull off any big moves on draft night, the Celtics used the picks they had, selecting Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart with the No. 6 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, then taking Kentucky swingman James Young with the No. 17 pick. If there is wheeling and dealing to be done this summer, we haven’t seen it yet.
“We wanted to stay at six or move up,” said Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck. “We wanted to make trades in recent days, we have been on the phone quite a bit with other teams about other ideas. Nothing ever seemed close to fruition no matter how hard we tried.”
The 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Smart played two seasons at OSU, where he averaged 16.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.9 steals per game. The Celtics worked him out three times ahead of the draft
“We like the fact that he’s an instigator,” said Grousbeck. “Red [Auerbach] told me that you need instigators, not retaliators. He’s a bull.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge reiterated that the team likes Smart’s motor.
“Marcus is a hard guy not to like. He plays with great fire,” said Ainge. “One of the top competitors I’ve seen all around the world.”
Smart, who might have been selected with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013 had he come out after his freshman season, may be the most NBA-ready of the players selected. He’s a solid guard who can push the tempo, get to the rim, and finish. He’s also an above-average defender, as the steals average indicates.
The big question is where Smart fits in with the Celtics roster. He shot 29.5 percent from 3-point range in college. Paired alongside Rajon Rondo, it would seem that the Celtics backcourt lacks a true outside threat.
“I don’t think this has any impact on Rajon at all,” said Grousbeck.
Said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, “I don’t think there is any doubt. They can play together.”
Smart’s selection may also indicate the end of Avery Bradley’s time in Boston. A restricted free agent, Bradley will reportedly command as much as $7 million to $9 million on the open market.
Smart “has a real bright future as a point guard, but we think he can play off the ball as well.” said Ainge.
Asked about whether he was moving forward with Rondo, Ainge gave a one-word answer of “yes”.
Donning a green Celtics hat, Smart said of coming to Boston, “This is great. … It’s a great feeling to play for a wonderful organization.”
The 6-foot-7-inch, 203-pound Young comes from an absolutely loaded Kentucky Wildcats team. He averaged 14.3 points during his freshman season, making 41 percent of his field goals and 35 percent of his 3-pointers. The Flint, Mich. native is just 18-years-old, so he’s got a lot of room to grow into the game.
“He’s always been a scorer,” said Stevens. “We felt he is a very undervalued scoring wing. We were surprised he was available.”
ESPN’s Bill Simmons, at least, liked the Young pick.
After weeks of speculation about trading for Kevin Love or adding more picks in the draft, it appears the Celtics are going to stand pat with their two selections.
“I remember trading for Kevin Garnett in 2007,” Grousbeck said. “I got a phone call about that from Minnesota on July 30th or 31st, so trade season is not over yet.”