Danny Ainge Reveals One Player He Regrets Not Drafting To Celtics

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Danny Ainge Reveals One Player He Regrets Not Drafting To Celtics

Post by bobheckler on Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:02 pm


Danny Ainge Reveals One Player He Regrets Not Drafting To Celtics

by Ricky Doyle on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 7:08PM

Hindsight is 20/20 and Danny Ainge has made some good draft picks in recent years, so the Boston Celtics president of basketball operations isn’t going to lose sleep over the stars who got away.

That said, some oversights hurt more than others. And Ainge had an understandable answer Thursday when asked on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” which one draft pick he wishes he could have back to pick a different player that still was on the board.

“Well, Giannis (Antetokounmpo) has to be up there, but I think that looking back, a guy that we saw and evaluated a hundred times that we didn’t pick was Jimmy Butler,” Ainge said. “We knew everything about him but never believed that he was going to be a superstar or a perennial All-Star in the NBA. But we really, really liked him, and it was a really tough choice. That’s one that I regret.”

Butler, a four-time All-Star, was drafted 30th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2011. He spent his first six seasons with the Bulls before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves on draft night last June.

The Celtics obviously weren’t the only team to pass on Butler in a draft also featuring Kyrie Irving (No. 1 overall), Kemba Walker (No. 9), Klay Thompson (No. 11) and Kawhi Leonard (No. 15). But the amount of homework the C’s did on the Marquette product certainly makes Ainge’s decision sting a little more, especially since Boston wound up with power forward JaJuan Johnson at No. 27 overall.

“We had a lot of wings, we had a lot of people at that (small forward) position, and we needed size and length, and JaJuan Johnson was a 22-point scorer at Purdue (and) Defensive Player of the Year two years, and he just didn’t pan out,” Ainge said, looking back on the 2011 draft. “Yeah, that was one that I’ve regretted many times.” Johnson appeared in just 36 NBA games — all with the Celtics during the 2011-12 season — while Butler has established himself as one of the best two-way players in the NBA.



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