NEW YORK – Of all the teams that might select Aaron Gordon in Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics might be a particularly good fit for the former Arizona Wildcat forward.
A pick by the Celtics at No. 6 would mean Gordon’s sister Elise, who has committed to accompanying her brother next season, would return to Boston after she just graduated from Harvard.
The Celtics were the team that Gordon gave him the "most exerting" workout, making him run after basketball drills were completed, a fitting end for a guy known for his work ethic and drive.
And they are coached by the well-regarded Brad Stevens, the former Butler coach who jumped to the NBA before last season.
“I like Brad Stevens a lot,” Gordon said. “He reminds me of coach (Sean Miller) ... I think they're very player oriented. As much as they want wins, I think they have their players’ best interests at heart. Very wise basketball minds and just kind of a good, fiery spirit they both have."
Gordon said he also hit it off with Utah coach Quin Snyder, and that all of the five teams he worked out for have had “good people.”
Gordon has worked out for all teams holding picks in the 4-8 range -- Orlando, Utah, Boston, the Lakers and Sacramento -- and said he expects to be picked in that range. He also said he has also been approached somewhat by Philadelphia, which is looking at options with the No. 3 pick now that Joel Embiid is sliding because of a broken foot.
“A little bit,” Gordon said of conversations with the Sixers. “We’ll see how that goes.”
After a day of photo sessions, media interviews, visiting the 9/11 Memorial and meeting friends and family dinners, Gordon had one other plan tonight.
“I think I’m gonna get in the gym,” he said.
Of course. Maybe that will help ease some excitement that Gordon says has been building as the draft approaches.
“It’s kind of overhappiness and anticipation that is keeping me in the middle,” Gordon said. “I’m letting my family deal with all the other emotions.”
Not only does Gordon have a dinner planned with extended family and friends tonight, but he also has received support from none other than Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, who was the No. 9 pick in the 2004 draft after spending two years with Arizona.
“He told me to keep it simple and just enjoy the process,” Gordon said. “He came around to a few of the (UA) games. I know him decently and he’s one of my favorite players. For him to text me and say, `Hey, what’s up?' that means a lot."
ESPN’s Chad Ford doesn’t have Nick Johnson among the 60 players in his Mock Draft, but Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony says he’s heard from teams that said they would take Johnson if he’s around in the 50s.
“He’s going to get drafted for sure,” Givony said. “They might ask him to go to Europe (and keep his rights)… but it might be a team that will put him on the roster. He could go in the 30s too. Once you get outside of the 20s anything can happen."
As a competitor, Andrew Wiggins says he doesn’t want anyone drafted ahead of him Thursday.
But if his former Kansas teammate Joel Embiid winds up getting pushed down behind him because of his foot injury, that won’t feel great, either.
“I was disappointed,” Wiggins said when he heard of Embiid’s injury. “He’s one of my best friends. But I know that won’t affect him in the future. He’s still gonna be the player that he is – dominant and blocking shots. That’s who he is. No one can take that away from him.”