Celtics

Austin Ainge opens up on Vincent Poirier, Robert Williams’ development and filling the center spot (Part 1)

(John Tulmacki/Getty Images)

The Celtics roster went through an extensive makeover this summer, with far more turnover than anyone could have anticipated just one year ago.

One executive at the forefront of locating and luring talent to replenish several open spots on the roster from the collegiate and overseas ranks is Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge. As one of Boston’s top scouts, Ainge has spent a large chunk of the past several seasons not only evaluating college prospects, but also building the C's reach within Europe (Daniel TheisShane Larkin, Brad Wanamaker). The team brought aboard four rookies on draft night and will have four other players with international experience (Vincent Poirier, Javonte Green, Theis, Wanamaker) competing when training camp opens up later this month.

BostonSportsJournal.com spoke with Ainge recently for an exclusive interview to get a better sense about how the team views new free agent additions such as Poirier, the development of Robert Williams at 2019 Summer League, how the team plans on mixing and matching at the center spot and much more on a busy Celtics' offseason. This is Part 1 of the two-part interview.

Q: You guys officially brought aboard Vincent Poirier last week? How long have you guys been tracking the French big man and what parts of his game do you expect to translate at the NBA level?

Austin Ainge: We've been scouting him for a few years. In my opinion, when he had the move to Baskonia two years ago, he really improved very rapidly. They did a great job with him in development. He really improved and has become a very good player. This year, we obviously started talking with him and his agent throughout the season and we're excited that he chose to sign with us. As far as his game, he's really big. He's 7-foot-1 in shoes. He's athletic, he rolls really well and he's a presence at the rim. He's a good rebounder so he's a big physical active player.

Q: Did you guys get a chance to scout him live there a bunch of the past year?