BOSTON (CBS) -- The morning after the NBA Draft, Celtics fans were not entirely thrilled with the results. Most of them believed that Danny Ainge and the C's front office would swing some sort of deal to move up in the draft or acquire a veteran player. But neither happened.
Instead, the team drafted Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey and Marcus Thornton.
Aware of the criticism, Ainge called into the Toucher & Rich program on Friday morning to provide some detail about draft night.
"I am not frustrated," Ainge said. "Actually, I'm a little bit -- I'm a lot tired -- but I'm not frustrated."
Ainge said that the Celtics got "very close" to using a number of their future assets to move up in the draft, but "it just didn't happen."
"In hindsight, the next day, it's probably a good thing. We were probably going to spend too much to do what we needed to do," Ainge said. "This morning I wake up, and I'm refreshed that we got guys that we like but also that we didn't overspend for some of the players that were in the draft -- actually just basically one player we were chasing that we thought we had a realistic chance at."
Given that the Celtics have amassed so many picks in future drafts, it stood to reason that Ainge would try to trade some on draft night. But Ainge explained that it's very difficult to sell other organizations on taking future picks on draft night, given the hoopla that surrounds the event.
"They [the future picks] are worth a lot, [but] I think the draft is probably the time where they're least valuable, simply because people get so caught up in players. Without mentioning names, there are some players that were drafted at certain spots [by teams] that turned down lots of draft picks that I just don't think was smart on their part," Ainge explained. "On draft day, typically those are hard deals to move. People get so caught up and get so in love with a specific player that that player in their minds becomes bigger than life."
Ainge said that the team tried to get into the top three, but realized that was unrealistic. He said they were in regular communication with teams in spots from four through 15, and some discussions came very close to leading to a deal, but they never happened.
"I think they were just determined to take a guy that they liked. I think that they may regret end up not doing it in some of the cases," Ainge said. "I think people make irrational choices in those situations, not knowing that a 2019 unprotected pick has great value."
Fred Toucher interpreted these comments as a suggestion that perhaps Ainge believes other teams simply aren't smart. Ainge clarified that's not what he means.
"No, I'm not saying that actually. I'm saying that the draft is a big party for fans, it's a big ordeal for a lot of people, and sometimes I think that I got caught up in that yesterday in that I was probably offering too much for a player that I wanted. And at the end of the day, when a deal didn't happen, I wasn't all that disappointed," Ainge said. "It was like, 'Wow, that's unbelievable that that team turned down those types of offers for that player that they ended up drafting.'
"I wouldn't say it's stupid, but maybe emotional and not really thought out and caught up in the moment."
Many fans were not enthused about the Celtics drafting Terry Rozier at No. 16, because he was not a huge name that had really been expected to go that high. But Ainge defended the pick, saying that Rozier has "star athleticism" and that despite the overload of guards on the Celtics roster, he was the best player available in that spot.
"He's my kind of guy," Ainge said of Rozier. "Yeah, I think that we have four really good, experienced guards that he's going to have to find a way to beat out. But having said that, we have three months from now before we start training camp. And a lot can happen between now and then."
As for the criticism from media and fans, Ainge said that some of the best picks made when he was coaching Phoenix did not draw much excitement from fans, either.
"Some of the most successful drafts I've been involved in are the ones that were received by our fans the worst. I remember in Phoenix, when we drafted Steve Nash, and we were booed. We're drafting Shawn Marion, and we were booed, because they had more popular players and players that were in all the media leading up to the draft" Ainge said. "But the bottom line is this: Obviously they quit booing Steve Nash once they saw him play, and they quit booing Shawn Marion when they saw how good he was.
"It comes down, no matter who we draft, if it's well-received, the only thing that matters is how good they perform and how they live up to expectations."
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