BOSTON (CBS) -- The Boston Celtics began Friday with plenty of questions surrounding the team after Thursday night's NBA Draft, which featured the much-criticized selections of forwards Jaylen Brown from Cal and Guerschon Yabusele from France with the third and 16th picks in the first round. Celtics president Danny Ainge was happy to face those questions from Toucher & Rich Friday morning.
After a night jammed with juicy trade rumors that ultimately became nothing for the Celtics, Ainge faced arguably the biggest question of them all: is this all the Celtics are going to do this summer?
"No. Absolutely not," said Ainge. "We haven't even begun free agency. The summertime is when most deals and most things are done to build your roster. ... We're certainly not done."
Ainge heard the boos that rained down at the TD Garden and the strong negative reactions to Wyc Grousbeck's address to the fans at the TD Garden Thursday night. He loved the controversy, mainly because he sees it as an opportunity to prove everyone wrong about his picks.
"Some of the best drafts I've ever been involved with in my career were the ones that were booed most by the fans," Ainge said. "Last night, reactions are all about popularity. They're not about anything more than that, so I don't play anything into that at all."
The discussion shifted to the picks themselves. The popular sentiment was that the Celtics needed a rim protector and a good shooter, but Ainge "didn't see" players like that at the top of the draft who could have helped the team in the way that fans and media are hoping. Ainge said that the team believed No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown, a highly athletic and versatile forward who needs to improve his shooting but owns massive upside, was the best player available in the draft at that time - and everyone in the "War Room" was on board with the pick.
"It's not about winning a draft day press conference, it's about winning basketball games," said Ainge. "We believe Jaylen gives us our best chance."
Ainge was quick to dismiss criticism of the team's selection of Yabusele with the 16th pick, whom mock drafts ranked as a second-round pick. Ainge said the Celtics pay "zero" attention to mock drafts and have their own draft order that is, ostensibly, "very different" from that of the draft experts and pundits.
"Most people don't know Yabusele, let's put it that way," said Ainge.
In Brown, Ainge sees a potentially "very special" player who is "a better shooter than his freshman year shot chart indicates," decrying people's excessive focus on his performance at Cal and expressing confidence in the forward's ability to improve his shooting as he matures as a player.
"It's not doom and gloom," Ainge said in response to the negativity permeating Celtics fans and media on Friday, referring to his time as Suns head coach when the team got booed after drafting Steve Nash in 1996. "Draft Day reaction from fans has proven to not be a very reliable indicator" of how good the players really are, he added.
Ainge put out a final sales pitch for Brown in an attempt to talk everyone off the ledge after last night's perceived disaster.
"The fans are going to love Jaylen's intensity, his competitiveness, his athleticism, his strength," said Ainge. "I think they're gonna be very excited in the long run and that's way more important."
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