Randle Headlines Friday Draft Workouts
The Celtics have amped up their Draft workouts in Waltham, and Friday’s session featured quite a few big names.
Kentucky forward Julius Randle headlined Friday’s action, and while six other players, all guards, were scheduled for the same day, Randle worked out by himself for the Celtics brass.
Asked why he wanted to work out by himself rather than play against other prospects, Randle insisted the stipulation was intended to place him at “less risk for injury,” and shook off any notion that he was unwilling to compete with other players.
“These guys know what you can do. They know the type of player you can be,” Randle said. “I just try to be myself.”
As for injuries, reports have surfaced the Randle may require surgery on his foot later in the summer. Randle, however, shook off that storyline as well, telling reporters that he had no pain before, during or after the workout.
“If I needed surgery I probably wouldn’t be working out,” Randle said, but he did couch his statement by allowing that even if he did have surgery, he might only miss “12 weeks.”
“Everything looked fine from our standpoint, and he was given clearance by our (medical staff) and he went through the workout,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said.
While Randle was talking to reporters and laughing about his mother defending him in the media, the guards were down on the court finishing up their workouts with the notorious “Danny Ainge Run, “ or “Boston Marathon” as some have called it. Jordan Clarkson (Missouri), Gary Harris (Michigan State), Zach LaVine (UCLA), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Nik Strauskas (Michigan) were on hand for the second workout session.
All six players felt that they’d acquitted themselves nicely during the afternoon. But if anyone stood out during the media portion, it was Marcus Smart, who was all smiles when he met reporters. He showed the most personality and confidence of any of Friday’s draft workout prospects.
“I’m comfortable. I’m used to it and there’s more to come so you might as well get comfortable,” Smart said, noting that he has a little “swag” to his game.
Today’s session with the Celtics was Smart’s fifth NBA workout, and the mission is simple. “I just proved that I can play at the next level. Everyone’s coming out here trying to show teams that they’re ready to play.”
Smart, who plays the point guard spot, says he’s ready to play. But he’s not worrying about where he may end up playing. He says he doesn't look at mock drafts, and he’s not concerned that if he were drafted by the Celtics, he’d be playing behind Rajon Rondo.
“Rondo’s one of the greatest point guards ever to play the game,” Smart said. “It would be an honor to play behind him.”
Smart and the rest of the prospects will find out where they play when the NBA Draft arrives. In the meantime, speculation will continue as agents, players and team executives work their way toward sorting out the real draft order. The Celtics are expected to continue with more workouts on Monday, but the process will be winding down as the final countdown to June 26 begins.