Celtics executive Danny Ainge has been criticized for taking Louisville point guard Terry Rozier with the No. 16 overall pick, but Ainge didn’t want to run the risk of another team selecting the player, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald writes. “We liked Terry from the very beginning,” Ainge said. “I was getting a little nervous that he was moving up too high in the draft. If another week had gone by he would have been rated much higher. He was 20 in the last two or three weeks of the process. There was a time we thought maybe we could get him at 28, but it was clear on draft day that wouldn’t happen.”
Trading down to select Rozier wasn’t an option, according to Ainge, Murphy notes. “We knew he wouldn’t be there 12 picks later,” Ainge said. “Our intel was that we should not [trade down], and that he would go very close to where we drafted him. He was going to be picked. We really liked him and wanted him. We got the guy we wanted. He’s a guy we have known about, and we thought he was very underrated based on the media and how they perceived him. Terry improved rapidly because of the quality of player he is the last few weeks of the draft process. He was getting attention around the league, which worried us because we thought we had a diamond in the rough. Nobody was valuing him all that much.”
Here’s more out of the Atlantic Division:
- Nets restricted free agent Mirza Teletovic is receiving significant interest from European teams, Tim Bontemps of The New York Post relays (Twitter links). The 29-year-old forward’s first preference is to remain in the NBA, Bontemps adds.
- Sixers coach Brett Brown came away excited about No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor‘s potential after a conversation with Okafor’s coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News writes.”I had a fantastic conversation with Coach K and when we hung up, I knew Jahlil had great potential and is a terrific, young prospect, but I hadn’t realized what type of person we had, as well,” Brown said. “The more I learn about Jahlil, the more you respect his upbringing value and love of the game. I was in the office at 6:30 the other morning, and he’s in the gym working with a trainer. You then go upstairs and get ready for a day’s work and you feel great. I’m really excited to coach him, and the program is going to realize very quickly how special he is.“
- While the Sixers will do what they can to improve their roster, the franchise isn’t expected to be major players in the free agent market this summer, Cooney writes in a separate piece.