BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics already have gotten plenty from their first-round pick in this year’s draft – Kevin Garnett and the 2008 NBA championship.

So general manager Danny Ainge, who sent that choice to Minnesota in a 7-for-1 trade for Garnett, wasn’t complaining about having only the 58th of 60 picks on Thursday night – the lowest ever for a Celtics’ first selection.

Instead, he complained about his first pick in 2006. Apparently, Rajon Rondo’s speed, savvy, passing and rebounding weren’t enough.

On Wednesday, Ainge said on WEEI radio that Rondo’s shooting problems contributed to the Celtics elimination by Orlando in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He also told the station that the 23-year-old Rondo was late in “a couple of situations” last season and was fined. “It’s just not acceptable.”

Ainge said he wouldn’t trade Rondo because of that, but “we need him to be more of a leader.”

On Tuesday, he said that no one is untradeable but also said talk that Rondo, the 21st pick in 2006, has been shopped around “is so false.” Ainge said the Celtics do not want to trade a core player.


With Garnett sidelined by a knee injury throughout the playoffs, the skinny, 6-foot-1 Rondo raised his production. In the regular season, he had 11.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.86 steals per game. Those averages increased in the team’s 14 postseason games to 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.8 assists and 2.5 steals.

With Ray Allen entering the last year of his contract, 2009-2010 could be the final season for the Big Three, unless Allen is traded before it begins. Garnett underwent knee surgery and will be completely healthy by training camp, Ainge said.

So the starting five of the title team – Garnett, Allen, Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins – could make another run at a championship. Ainge will seek help through free agency and said he doesn’t expect the player drafted Thursday to make the team. The pick he sent to the Timberwolves was the 28th overall.

Ainge didn’t have much luck with last year’s picks.

Guard J.R. Giddens, taken with the 30th and last choice of the first round, scored 4 points in 8 minutes. Forward Bill Walker, obtained for cash after being drafted by Washington with the 47th pick, scored 88 points in 216 minutes.

The Celtics took Semih Erden of Turkey with the 60th and last pick. He was last seen around Boston four days after the draft when he posed with Giddens and Walker holding Celtics jerseys in front of them.

The team has had some success with second-rounders, Ryan Gomes with the 50th pick in 2005 and Leon Powe with the 49th in 2006.

Gomes was a decent backup before going to Minnesota in the Garnett trade. Powe developed into a valuable, physical substitute but suffered a serious left knee injury in Game 2 of the first round against Chicago. He had surgery May 5 and no timetable was set for his return.

The Celtics held workouts for several college players on Tuesday. They included Jeff Adrien of Connecticut, Robert Dozier of Memphis, Slava Kravstov from Ukraine, Aaron Jackson of Duquesne, Bryan Mullins of Southern Illinois and Geoff McDermott of Providence.

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