An ESPN panel offered validation of Ainge’s success as the Celtics’ president of basketball operations Thursday. In a ranking of the NBA’s top general managers/presidents, ESPN gave Ainge a score of 8.54 out of 10 — third-best in the NBA behind only the San Antonio Spurs’ president/GM combo of Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford and Golden State Warriors GM Bob Myers.
Ainge is best known for landing Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007, which paved the way for Banner No. 17. But the 58-year-old executive has taken a different approach of late. He assembled a treasure trove of draft picks by absolutely swindling the Brooklyn Nets in a 2013 trade, then slowly rebuilt the Celtics into a contender through a series of shrewd deals, most notably adding Jae Crowder in December 2014 and Isaiah Thomas in February 2015.
As a result, the C’s are in a rare position of contending for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference while also owning the best chance at landing the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. That’s a pretty good sign that Ainge is doing something right.
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