This may come as a shock to you, but the Celtics’ director of player personnel Austin Ainge really likes all the team’s rookies. A lot. I say that in fun, because every team is excited about the players they just picked in the draft or just brought over from overseas. Still, it is always fun to hear some of the words of praise that they dedicate to the young players.
Yesterday, the Boston Sports Journal conducted an interview with Austin (their first Celtics article in their subscription model venture). Here are some quotes of note:
On Daniel Theis:
Daniel has been a prospect for a number of years now. He's a guy that has just slowly gotten better. He kept working on his game, kept improving. Now at age 25, he's ready to make the leap. He's won three German championships in a row and plays a lot at the 4 and 5. He can shoot 3s, he's athletic and he’s a national team player, so he's very experienced for a 25-year-old.
Personally I have no idea what to make of this guy. I sense that he’s a deep bench guy at best, but maybe he’ll surprise us. Certainly with his experience and age he’s more seasoned than the average rookie.
On Semi Ojeleye:
Semi's unique. He's 245 pounds and moves like a guard laterally. There are some 6'5'', 6'6'' guys that can move laterally but not too many of them are as strong as Semi. He's got a very unique skillset that allows him switch and guard 1 through 5 and is capable of making a 3-point shot as well.
I was most excited to hear Brad Stevens gush about his defense. That means he’ll find his way onto the court at some point. My guess is that he’ll be mostly a 3 and D kind of player (at least at first) and that’s very valuable to have in this league.
I don’t want to over-quote, so I’ll stop there, but you can see the full interview at the link above.
It is also worth noting that Austin Ainge appeared on the Celtics Beat podcast with our friends at CLNS Media.