When Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, drafted LSU forward Jordan Mickey at No. 33, he picked a versatile defender who has the potential to become a valuable player in the near future.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who worked out Mickey prior to the draft, was surprised to see the LSU forward still on the board in the second round.
"Jordan's a good player," coach Stevens said shortly after Mickey was drafted.
"Mickey is a guy that we thought, like many thought, would probably be gone by the time we picked at No. 33."Mickey, who averaged 3.6 blocks per game last season as a sophomore, led college basketball in blocked shots. Despite his slim 6-foot-8 frame at power forward, his defensive abilities, athleticism and 7-2 wingspan is what impressed the Celtics most. After drafting the young big man, Ainge raved about his second round pick, calling him "the best athlete right now in our frontcourt."
"I think Jordan is a versatile athlete from a defensive standpoint," Stevens said. "He can guard fours. He can switch a little bit. He's a great shot-blocker, when you look at his numbers, for a smaller guy in height. But then you look at his length and his reach, and he's really, really long, and he gets off the floor extremely quickly. He's one of those guys that probably shoots about 16-17 feet right now but can impact the game in a lot of different ways."Mickey demonstrates plenty of upside defensively, but of course, just like every other player who was drafted in the second round, he does have his flaws. Jordan is limited offensively. He uses his athletic abilities to score in the post to make up for what he lacks in strength. Which is something that players can pull of at the collegiate level but it doesn't always translate in the pros.
And even though Ainge had nothing but good things to say about all four of his draftees last Thursday, don't expect to see all four of them in a Celtics uniform in the fall.
"We're going to work out some deals with at least one, maybe two," Ainge said
"We don't have room on the roster for all four guys, most likely, so we'll work out deals where guys can play overseas in some of the situations."Ainge and Stevens will get a better look at their newest players within the next couple of weeks when the NBA Summer League kicks off in July. Mickey, along with guards Terry Rozier (No. 16 pick), R.J. Hunter (No. 28 pick) and Marcus Thornton (No. 45 pick) will all be on display.