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Danny Ainge Downplays 2014 Draft Talent. He Needs to Draft the Correct Player, not the Best Player

March 25th, 2014 at 2:56 PM
By Sean Melia
We wonder why players want to play just one year in college then bolt for the NBA's greener pastures. Then we watch the same thing happen nearly every single season.
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Here's what happens. Freshman enter the year over-hyped and over-publicized. They have praise heaped on them endlessly from June-November. Mock drafts project 18 year-olds in the top ten of a draft that is 12 months away. 
Then, the balls get rolled out and these freshman have to start actually playing for their college and with their teammates. The microscope gets turned up really high, every flaw is highlighted.
Over the course of the season these freshman ride a rollercoaster of plaudits and criticisms. Every game affects their draft stock. No money. More problems. 
This week Danny Ainge came out and did exactly what should be expected this time of year. He said he was not that impressed with the 2014 draft. It seems ludicrous considering the fact that this draft class has been praised endlessly. However, months of attention make it very easy to find all those blemishes.
In a Boston Globe article Danny Ainge said of this draft, "I think that's it's realistically hyped now, because I thought – and I said – before the season started that it was completely overhyped." 
Kudos to Danny for patting himself on the back for saying it wasn't a good draft in the first place. 
It's no surprise that Ainge is being outspoken. Is he being honest, though? It's hard to tell. It seems like some of this is a way of not showing his cards and he also might be telling the truth to some extent. 
It would be interesting to see what would have happened to a player like LeBron James if he went to college for a season, played with a bunch of guys who were a lot worse than him, and he was asked to carry a college through a tournament while every team just threw the kitchen sink at him defensively. His rookie year in the NBA was superb. He scored 20.9 points, dished out 5.9 assists, and had 5.5 rebounds. Those are insane numbers.
However, would they have been the same in college, playing with guys whose basketball IQs were way below LeBron's? Possibly. But maybe not.
LeBron was always under the microscope, even in high school. High school basketball is much different than March Madness basketball. He played in games that didn't have millions of viewers. He didn't carry an entire university on his back while trying to win a National Championship.
So while Danny Ainge and all these other analysts and GMs begin to downplay this draft, it becomes abundantly clear why kids want to get out of college. They are poked and prodded like show ponies, making no money, and it seems like the only thing that happens if they stay in college longer is they lose money because their draft stock continues to slip with each passing year. They are forced to play with teammates that might not bring out the best in them.
You know who couldn't win in that situationt?
LeBron, in Cleveland.
He was surrounded by players that waited for him to do everything. People began to doubt his ability down the stretch. All it took were some aggressive teammates and a good coach to get LeBron to where he deserved to be. 
Now, it's Danny Ainge's job to find the player that will fit in with his team building philosophy. The nice part about that is, fans don't have to worry about having two first round picks in the best draft in 20 years, Celtics fans need to worry about having picks in the right draft in the past 20 years. 
Tags: Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, boston globe, Danny Ainge, Lebron James, NBA

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