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Danny Ainge spoke with the media about Boston’s 2012 draft slate, which featured a healthy dose of added depth in the frontcourt, something the C’s desperately needed heading into this offseason. Here’s a few key comments from Ainge about his trio of rookies (Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, and Kris Joseph):
Overall assessment: “”I think we got a 3, 4, and a 5. We didn’t draft on need, although big guys are hard to find. Quality bigs are the most challenging position to find in the draft and free agency, so we are very excited about the results tonight.”
On what he expects out of Melo: “I know that he can block shots. He was terrific at offensive rebounding. One thing that is unique with Fab is that he blocks shots and takes charges and that’s unique for big guys.”
On Sullinger’s back issues and his potential need for surgery down the road: “We got wind of the back issues, which was causing him to slip a bit. He was projected much higher last week. We were fortunate to get him. We were concerned and did our research on the back issues and felt comfortable. There are some issues there and our medical staff thinks short term and long term there may be some maintenance issues with the back. Doc Rivers played with a herniated disc for 13 years. It may need surgery at some point, it may not.”
On Sullinger playing in summer league: “I think so. He’s playing right now and playing well.
On Kris Joseph: “Kris is an all-around player. I like his potential. He can shoot, he can put the ball on the floor, he’s got good size for his position. We had him in for a workout, we watched him closely this year and he performed well at a workout. He wasn’t as consistent as he could of been at Syracuse, but he has shown flashes of being a good player.
On Sullinger being a complete player: “I’ve liked Jared longer than his years at Ohio State. He was a dominant high school player. He’s been good everywhere he’s been and his team wins. What I like about him is he’s complete. He can shoot, pass, and rebound. One thing he can do that he didn’t do much at OSU. He can make shots from the perimeter. You see him do that a little bit on film. I really like his stroke. I hope he can improve that area [the shooting] because that’s a big part of our offense.”
On Sullinger’s post game translating to the NBA: “We’ll see. Length is an issue. He has good width. There were a lot of these kinds of issues with Glen Davis when he came in but these guys just find a way. Guys that are smart and have a good touch and feel make the adjustment.”
On how draft picks help fill out the roster: “I think they fill needs. We are drafting the best players but we do need size. We’ll see how the roster fills in from here on out. We have a lot of work to do.”
Can these rookies run with Rondo? “Oh yeah, sure. Sullinger is not a sprinter, but he is a rebounder and you have to have the ball to run. I think that will be important”
Draft picks impact on free agency: “I think that for a team that is trying to win, it’s tough to count too much on three rookies coming in. Maybe one will be ready to go, maybe two will be able to play a certain role. We’ll try to fill with veterans from here on out.”
On overall impression of draft: “I’ve very optimistic for these three guys. They have a bright upside. They are all workers, and want to improve. We’ll see if they make the adjustments.”
Did they come close to making a deal? “We tried, but we never got to a point where teams wanted to move for what we were offering. I’m not sure how close we were. We weren’t going to sell the farm to move up in the draft.”
In case you missed them earlier tonight, here is some video highlights and background on all three players
With the 21st pick (in the 2012 NBA Draft!) the Celtics selected PF Jared Sullinger from Ohio State. Sullinger’s a 6’9″ lottery talent — albeit one who fell as a result of potential back problems. He’s also a back-to-the-basket big — albeit one who is earthbound.
With the 22nd pick (also in the 2012 NBA Draft!), the Celtics selected Fab Melo, a 7’0″ Brazilian center out of Syracuse. Melo projects as a project but gives the Celtics size they can mold and a potential shotblocker in the middle.