Monday , Jun , 14 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Boston Celtics 2004 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – The Boston Celtics have a new head coach in Doc Rivers,
plus they also have three picks in the first round of this year’s draft.

Danny Ainge, who became the head of basketball operations for the Celtics last
offseason, traded three-time All-Star Antoine Walker and guard Tony Delk to
Dallas for center Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills and this year’s
first-round pick. He also acquired controversial guard Ricky Davis, center
Chris Mihm, forward Michael Stewart and a future second-round draft pick from
Cleveland for swingman Eric Williams, center Tony Battie, and forward Kedrick

Ainge is still putting his stamp on the team. He has made significant trades,
hired a new head coach, and will be responsible for the selections in this
year’s draft.

All-Star Paul Pierce, who was selected out of Kansas by the Celtics in the
first round (10th pick overall) of the 1998 NBA Draft, averaged 23 points, 6.5
rebounds and 5.1 assists in 80 games for the Celtics during the regular
season. Pierce, a three-time All-Star, is one of the league’s best but he
cannot win by himself.

LaFrentz, who was the key to the Walker deal, missed 65 games this season
because of a knee injury, while Davis averaged 14.1 points in 57 games for
Boston. When Ainge acquired LaFrentz and Davis he thought that he was getting
two players that would be nice complementary players to Pierce.

Center Mark Blount had a career year for the Celtics. The 28-year-old Blount
played in all 82 games, starting 73, for Boston and averaged career-highs in
points (10.3 ppg) and rebounds (7.2 rpg). He is a free agent and there will be
a lot of squads that will be interested in signing a 7-0 starting center.

The Celtics did make the playoffs as the eighth seed in the East, but were
swept in the first round by the Indiana Pacers. This draft is critical for
Ainge, who has received a lot of heat for his trades. If Boston wants to find
its glory of the past than Ainge had better make the most of this year’s

Don’t be shocked if Ainge attempts to package two of the picks to move up in
the draft.

Key Player(s): Mark Blount (center) Ricky Davis (guard), Raef LaFrentz
(center), Paul Pierce (forward/guard), Jiri Welsch (forward).

Team Needs: A power forward that is not afraid to get his hands dirty, a
point guard and a second scoring option to Pierce.

Draft picks: 1st round (15th overall), 1st round (24th overall), 1st round
(25th overall), 2nd round (40th overall).