Son of Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge and current Director of Player Personnel Austin Ainge isn't just along for the ride because of his genetic connection to the boss man. According to a great article by Chris Forsberg, Austin Ainge has been paying his dues to earn his involvement in the Celtics Draft room.
To the uneducated observer, there's a notion that 33-year-old Austin Ainge ascended to his front-office role because of his last name. No one in the Ainge family denies that familial ties helped open some doors, including Ainge's first gig at Southern Utah (Reid was an assistant coach at BYU when Danny Ainge played there, then Reid was an assistant on Danny Ainge's NBA coaching staff in Phoenix). But Danny Ainge is emphatic that his son has logged the necessary basketball hours.
"Listen, Austin got his first coaching job with Roger Reid because Roger knew him as a kid and loved him," said Danny Ainge. "Roger was one of the most intense, fiery personalities, and he loved Austin. I think he wanted Austin. Austin learned a lot at Southern Utah; he did a lot, he had a lot of responsibility."
And obviously Austin's father sees plenty of reasons to have him plugged into the draft process as well:
"[Austin has] been around the game his whole life," said Danny Ainge. "Austin was in my coaches' meetings, Austin was on the court, he was in my huddles. He was tugging on my pant leg telling me what to do when I was a head coach in Phoenix. He's been around it his whole life. Him and I have talked basketball -- I've talked more basketball with him than anybody else."
Sometimes nepotism can work against an organization, but when you've got two highly qualified family members working in tandem that can be a powerful tool for making important decisions. The Ainges have lived and breathed basketball for decades now; it should be excited to see what they pull off this Thursday in the 2015 NBA Draft.