Wings Aimed To Shine During Tuesday's Workout
WALTHAM, Mass. – Tuesday morning’s Draft workout at the Celtics practice facility was all about the wings. Kyle Anderson (UCLA), DeAndre Daniels (Connecticut), Cleanthony Early (Wichita State), P.J. Hairston (Texas Legends), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson) and T.J. Warren (NC State) all participated in the workout.
All of these players are projected to play small forward at the next level. All of these players are considered to be possible first-round picks in this month’s Draft. In other words, all of these guys are competing for the exact same result.
“We all want the same thing,” Hairston said. “We all want our name to be called. We all want to be lottery (picks), of course. That’s everyone’s dream.”
The nature of these circumstances breeds a high level of competition. It’s a game of ‘me’ against ‘you,’ all played out with the intention of proving one thing.
“That I’m better than these guys,” Early said bluntly.
Hammering that fact home to Danny Ainge and his talent evaluators is goal No. 1 for these players. Doing so would ensure that the Celtics would draft them ahead of their competition. While that is goal No. 1, that isn’t the only goal. All six players came into Tuesday’s workout looking to prove some other things as well.
For Hairston, who averaged 21.8 points per game this season with the Texas Legends, his plan was to show that he brings much more to the court than just scoring.
“My goal for myself is just to go in and play hard, and if I’m having an off day, try to be a vocal leader and just show that I can be a leader on the court,” Hairston said.
With that in mind, he doesn’t want anyone to forget about his offensive prowess, either.
“Also, making shots, of course,” he gladly continued. “That’s one thing I want to do is be able to put the ball through the hole and show the coaches that I can score and that I can be a team player as well.”
Warren is similar to Hairston in many ways. He is known as an offensive weapon after averaging an impressive 24.9 PPG this past season at NC State. He, too, wanted to show the Celtics that he can fill it up, but his secondary goals were much more broad.
As Warren put it, “I’m just trying to show that I can play at a high level and play at this level, and show that I belong.”
According to Austin Ainge, who is Boston’s director of player personnel, there is one surefire way for these guys to accomplish all of their lofty goals. If the players want to make the Celtics believe in them in the same fashion that they believe in themselves, all they have to do is one thing.
“Just beat the matchup in front of you,” Ainge quipped. “There’s a lot of 1-on-1 and 2-on-2, and if you guard the guy a lot better than he guards you, that’s a good start.”
Each of these players seemed confident that they did get off to a good start on Tuesday. We’ll find out in 23 days whether their performances in Waltham were enough to help them accomplish their Draft Day goals.