Without Garnett or Pierce, the Celtics would have few blocks to build on.
Point guard Rajon Rondo is a top ball-handler with a questionable shot who is coming off surgery for a torn ligament in his right knee. Guard Avery Bradley is a defensive specialist who missed the first half of last season with injuries to both shoulders.
Jeff Green, who returned after missing a year because of heart surgery, could take up the minutes that Pierce had provided. But with the health of Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger in question, the roster is largely lacking big men beyond Garnett.
The centers who could be available with the Celtics’ No. 16 pick of the draft include Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga, Gorgui Dieng of Georgetown and Mason Plumlee of Duke. Other possible mid-first round picks are point guards Shane Larkin of Miami and Dennis Schroeder of Germany and small forward Giannis Adetokunbo, who had been playing in Greece.
The Celtics finished at 41-40 last season, their worst record in six years, after losing 13 of their last 20 games. They were eliminated in six games by the New York Knicks, the first time in six years the Celtics didn’t make it to the second round.
Ainge said it is not a setback to go into the draft without a coach, although he said the drawn-out negotiations with the Clippers have been “a little bit distracting, to be honest with you.”
“The only wrinkle right now is that we need to get a new coaching staff,” he said. “There’s no urgency right now. We don’t need that to happen fast.”