BOSTON -- Three months ago, Wyc Grousbeck forecasted fireworks for NBA Draft night.
Many took the Boston Celtics' owner at his word.
After a 25-57 season, Boston owned the No. 6 and the No. 17 pick in Thursday's draft, but all signs indicated the front office was more committed to using those as trade chips in a blockbuster deal than using them to actually select players.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge even said he was far from enamored with the talent in this draft, despite the fact it was the deepest class in years.
Forget about fireworks. All fans got was a thick, uncomfortable fog.
The Celtics kept their two first-round picks Thursday, taking Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart at No. 6 and Kentucky freshman guard/forward James Young at No. 17. For what it's worth, both are high-quality players with a big upside.
"We wanted to stay at No. 6 or move up. We wanted to make other trades in recent days -- we've been on the phone quite a bit with other teams about other ideas," said Grousbeck after Smart was selected. "Nothing ever seemed close to fruition no matter how hard we tried. I remember trading for Kevin Garnett in 2007 and we got a phone call about that from Minnesota on July 30 or 31.
"I said fireworks were a possibility. It takes two to tango around here. There just hasn't been much movement. Typically on draft days we make at least two trades, if not three. It's just sort of the way we roll -- Trader Danny. We like to be aggressive with rebuilding this team and become a contender again as quickly as possible."
In the category of you-can't-make-this-stuff-up, here was Smart's reaction on a conference call to getting selected by the Celtics, "It felt like fireworks. It was like the fourth of July. I was excited."
Well, all-star forward Kevin Love is still the property of the Minnesota Timberwolves. And all-star point guard Rajon Rondo is still the property of the Boston Celtics. Had there been fireworks, the speculation was that it would've involved one, or both, of those players.
Smart was an All-Big 12 point guard at Oklahoma State. Like Rondo, he is an aggressive, athletic playmaker who lacks a consistent jumper. His selection only created more questions about Rondo's future with Boston. Rondo will be a free agent next summer.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he envisions playing Rondo and the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Smart together. He also added he leaves the wheeling and dealing to Ainge and management.
"I don't think there is any doubt (that Smart and Rondo) can co-exist. They can play together. I think it will be great for Marcus to have a guy like Rondo to look up to and learn from," said Stevens. "Not many guys get that opportunity, especially early on in the draft. I was thrilled that (Smart) was there at six. He is physically ready to play and he competes every single minute of every single day. That will do nothing but help your team. I expect him to play some off the ball and some with the ball.
"I think Rondo can play with a lot of people."
Smart, 20, is a physically gifted lock-down defender who can play both guard positions. He led Oklahoma State in scoring (18 per game), assists (4.8 per game) and steals (2.9 per game). He also averaged 5.9 rebounds, but shot just 42.2 percent from the field.
"He had some ups and downs this year for a guy that had his level of expectations," Stevens said. "At the same time, he's come in here twice in the last three weeks and we've absolutely fallen in love with his leadership, work ethic, spirit and the way he goes about things. We think he's got a really high upside."
Meanwhile, Young is an 18-year-old Kentucky product groomed by John Calipari. The 6-foot-6 swingman is a flat-out scorer. The freshman had 20 points and seven rebounds in the NCAA championship game against UConn.
Young averaged 14.3 points -- second on the team -- and shot 34.9 percent from 3-point range.
"We felt that he was a very undervalued wing," said Stevens of Young. "Everyone in the room had him ranked a lot higher than 17. We've talked about our struggles to score and he's a guy that can create offense."
Stevens said he was very pleased to get Smart and Young, saying both were ranked in his top 11 players in the draft.
"I look at it more from the big picture. We've all got to move in one direction," he said.
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