Friday, July 07, 2006

FIRST, MAKE IT THE PRIORITY

I was talking to a couple of guys at work the other day about the Celtics draft and one of the things we ended up discussing was how the decline of the 1980s Celtics was not just Len Bias, but the continual horrible drafting record of the Celtics during the 80s and into the 90s. And none of this claptrap about how they were always picking at the bottom of the first round. If they did their homework, there were good players available. Here is a quick look at some of those (so-called) number ones:

1981: Charles Bradley: Who? What? This guy has a championship ring? Is it available on eBay?
1982: Darren Tillis: I was a huge Tillis fan, as the Celtics sometimes let him off the bench at the end of games to fire up some shots. Delighted the hell out of me for some reason (hey, I was eight. Cut me some slack!). Never turned into much of anything in the league, however.
1983: Greg Kite: Need I even add anything about Kite? He was big, he had elbows, and he was a poor man’s version of Henry Finkel.
1984: Michael Young: I keep racking my brain and cannot picture this guy. I mean, he could be the tall guy three rows in front of me on the train right now.
1985: Sam Vincent: I mean, how do you miss this badly five years in a row? One good player out of any of these drafts would have added a couple years to Bird, Ainge, Parish, McHale, or DJ just by letting them sit for 15 minutes once in a while.
1986: Len Bias: Brad Daugherty never looked so good. Not that he ever lived up to the hype. Yes, Bias was a loss. He could have been huge.
1987: Reggie Lewis: Tragedy follows tragedy.
1988: Brian Shaw: Not quite as good as he thought he was, but a serviceable guard off the bench. Not exactly what you are looking for in a first round pick, however.
1989: Michael Smith: This guy made the pick of Sam Vincent look good.
1990: Dee Brown: all hype, little impact. But he sold those damned Reebok Pumps. And Boston had a slam dunk champion. That had to be worth something, right?
1991: Rick Fox: Hollywood was a good player. Too bad Slick Rick ran him out of town to make room for that idiot, gangly center who was horrible.
1992: Jon Barry: Held-out, given away. No impact #1 yet again!
1993: Acie Earl: OK, if you are worse than Greg Kite, then it is a real bad pick.
1994: Eric Montross: But we had the best pair of eyebrows sitting on the bench!
1995: Eric Williams: OK, a serviceable forward with mucho hustle.

Other than Jerome Moiso (2000) and Slick Rick trading Mercer and Billups (1997) there were solid drafts up until Chris Wallace screwed up the 2001 draft (Joseph Forte and Kedrick Brown. Nuff said!). Danny Ainge, other than taking a flyer on Marcus Banks developing into an NBA player, has drafted extremely well in his tenure. Now, I just hope Rajon Rondo can team with Sebastian Telfair and give the Celtics the point guard play they so desperately need!

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