the celts, the draft and danny ainge (long and rambling!)
posted at 3/28/2012 1:51 PM EDT
With some of the piling on that goes on around here regarding danny ainge, I thought I’d take a short look at some of the draft choices made by danny and some of our past GMs. Just for the fun of it.
Ainge took over in 2003, ushered Antoine walker out of town, and started the rebuilding process. Since then, we’ve passed on players in the draft that many have been vocal about on this board, but we’ve also drafted players that, when put in place around the big 3, brought us a title and returned us to the top of the NBA. Have there been some draft-night misses? Sure, but it happens to other teams as well, and it happened to us before danny ainge returned to boston in ’03.
Before ainge, chris Wallace and jan volk called the shots, while being closely scrutinized by red, of course. There was also the pitino factor to consider. His influence also left a mark on the Celtics. Nonetheless, and purely for the fun of it…
We all know what happened in ’86.
In ’87, we nabbed reggie lewis, which also ended badly.
In ’89, we drafted Michael smith ahead of players like tim hardaway, shawn kemp and vlade divac.
In ’92, we took jon berry ahead of latrell spreewell.
In ’95, we took eric Williams ahead of Michael finley.
In ’96, we took walker (not a horrible pick) ahead of kobe bryant and steve nash.
In ’97, we drafted ron mercer ahead of tracy mcgrady. We also drafted Chauncey billups, but traded him before the end of his first season in boston.
In ’98, paul pierce fell into our laps. Nice.
In ’99, we had no 1st round pick, having apparently traded it to cleveland. I can’t remember who we traded that pick for.
In 2000, another pretty weak draft, we took Jerome moiso and passed on Michael redd, along with every other team in the league.
In ‘01, we drafted joe Johnson (another good player who was shipped out of town too soon) and kedrick brown, leaving zach randolph, Gerald Wallace, tony parker, gilbert arenas and mehmet okur for other teams to take.
No pick in ’02. Don’t remember why.
In ’03, there was some dealing and we ended up with perk and marcus banks. Not horrible obviously. But we could have had josh howard, among others.
’04 was a solid draft. al jefferson, delonte west and tony allen all became important building blocks, one way or another, that led to our recent success.
’05 was a swing and a miss, taking Gerald green ahead of guys like david lee, ersan ilyasova and monta ellis. We even screwed up the second round.
Rondo was arguably the best player to come out of the ’06 draft. a solid pick.
’07 gave us the big 3.
’08 was the much-discussed giddens over Jordan draft, as we had the last pick in the 1st round.
No pick in ’09 b/c of KG trade.
Avery Bradley in 2010 is starting to look like a pretty decent pick and the verdict is still out on 2011 at this point.
I guess my point in doing this was just to look back and take a look at how ainge compares to what we were doing here in the 15-20 years or so before he arrived. I think it’s arguable that ainge has done better than anyone who’s been calling the shots since the mid-80s or early 90s. Just food for thought.
It should be noted that I was not really looking at what our needs were when we drafted, just that we passed on players who would eventually become better than the players that we took. There were also some pretty lean years in there. In the 80s and early 90s, we usually drafted pretty late in the first round. Other years, ’93 for example, were so bad that even taking eric montross was not a horrible pick. That draft totally sucked.
Basically, I was just looking to see if ainge has been the only one to occasionally screw the pooch in the draft. Obviously, he has not been the only one, and even red made some horrible decisions on draft night.