Thursday , Jun , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Boston Celtics 2006 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – All-Star Paul Pierce is surrounded by a bunch of young
players who are still learning the ways of the NBA. Boston’s head of
basketball operations Danny Ainge is trying to find the right formula to
get the Celtics back into the elite of the NBA.

Boston, which finished 33-49 in the 2005-06 campaign, owns the seventh overall
pick in this year’s draft. The Celtics will try and find a player who can help
take some of the scoring load off of Pierce’s shoulders.

The 28-year-old Pierce led the Celtics in scoring (26.8 ppg), rebounding (6.7
rpg) and assists (4.7 apg). He shot a career-best 47.1 percent from the field
and logged 39 minutes per contest.

Wally Szczerbiak, who was acquired from Minnesota in a blockbuster trade
during the season, averaged 17.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 32
games with the Celtics. Boston is hopeful that Szczerbiak can develop a
chemistry with Pierce that leads to a lot of points on the scoreboard.

Youngsters Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson and Delonte West
could all be decent players. West is the furthest along, as the point guard
averaged 11.8 points and 4.6 assists in 71 contests and looks like he has a
bright future ahead of him.

The 6-10 Jefferson contributed 7.9 points and 5.1 boards in 59 games this past
season. Boston feels Jefferson is their power forward of the future. Like the
other younger players on the roster, Jefferson is still trying to round out
his overall game.

Pierce is still the cornerstone of this franchise. He can’t win by himself and
Ainge has to find him some serious help. The Celtics have a lot of younger
players on the roster who they are very high on. It would not be a surprise if
Boston moves the pick to get a veteran that can make an immediate impact and
help Pierce get the Celtics back into contention for the postseason.

Key Player(s): Tony Allen (Guard), Ryan Gomes (Forward), Gerald Green
(Guard), Al Jefferson (Forward), Raef LaFrentz (Center/Forward), Paul Pierce
(Forward/Guard), Wally Szczerbiak (Forward), Delonte West (Guard).

Team Needs: Help for Pierce.

Draft picks: 1st round (7th overall).