Danny Ainge on Terry Rozier: ‘He’s been our best player’ at summer league

11:04 PM ET

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge joined ESPN’s broadcast of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 98-94 triumph over the Celtics at the Las Vegas summer league. Some highlights from his six-minute stint alongside commentators Jon Barry and Alvaro Martin:

Rozier and the rotation: Asked about summer leaguers that might find a spot in the Celtics’ rotation next season, Ainge honed in on the team’s top choice in the 2015 draft. “I think that Terry Rozier has made a great case for himself for next year,” Ainge said of last year’s No. 16 pick. “He’s been our best player from the first day of training camp this summer. He’s been terrific for us. He was a good player last year in training camp, just didn’t get a lot of opportunities because of our depth at guard. I think he’s winning a spot.”

Not worried about Brown’s shooting: No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown struggled with his shot over his first four summer games (though he made 8 of 16 attempts as part of a 25-point effort on Wednesday) but Ainge believes he’ll improve. “I like the integrity with which Jaylen has been playing with,” said Ainge. “I like that he defends, he rebounds, he passes. He’s a complete player. He’s gotta become a better shooter and he will because he’ll put in the work. And he’ll be better finisher around the rim and all those kind of things. But, at age 19, with his body and athleticism and willingness to play defense, I think he’s going to be a terrific player.”

In the market for a center?: Asked if Al Horford, Boston’s big free-agent splash, will play the power forward or center spot with the Celtics, Ainge seemed to hint again that the team is in the market for a pure center. “I think he’ll play both. A lot of it is going to depend on the rest of the guys that we fill out the roster with,” said Ainge. “He’s capable of playing both. We like a lot of centers that he can play with and he can play with any of our current 4s and he can play with our small lineups as well.”

Looking for home runs with swings of the bat: The Celtics have made 12 picks in the last three drafts, including seven first-round selections. All but two (Brown, Marcus Smart) of those first-round picks came outside the lottery and Ainge was asked about building with players selected later in the first round. “You just never know. I think that the odds of the guys in the 20s making it and having a lasting career as a rotation player are slim,” said Ainge. “But if you look around the league, on every team, there’s guys that are drafted late in the draft, on every single team there are significant players. Having swings of the bat — you’re going to get some right, you’re going to get some wrong; guys are going to improve, guys are going to get to the NBA and thrive in the NBA game, where they might not have had as much success in college. You just never know about the draft.”

Loose Balls: Asked about a positional projection for rookie Guerschon Yabusele, the 16th pick in this year’s draft, Ainge seemed to hint that the French big man is likely to be stashed overseas for a year. “He’ll play some 4 and 5, eventually, when he gets to the NBA,” said Ainge. … Asked about getting a commitment from Horford after meeting with Kevin Durant, Ainge said, “I think Al was on the phone with KD trying to get him to come also to Boston.” … Ainge on Isaiah Thomas‘s recruiting efforts: “I guess Isaiah feels like he has something at stake, too. The players talk a lot around the league and I know that Isaiah has been a big fan of Brad Stevens and the organization.”

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