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New Mexico's J.R. Giddens came as a bit of a surprise in 2008, and for good reason. The Celtics really didn't need a small forward, never mind one with limited range.
What they could have used, then and now, was a backup point guard or help at the center position. They missed out on Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan and Nikola Pekovic.
Chalmers, a point guard out of Kansas known for gritty defense and reliable shooting, ultimately went to the Miami Heat. GM Pat Riley had his eyes on the young stud's competitive toughness, which has long since paid off for both parties.
Ainge completely whiffed on a guard who ended up playing a crucial role for a perennial contender, instead picking a guard who only played 27 games in Boston before getting the boot.
Giddens was traded to the Knicks, where he played another 11 games and then completely fizzled away. He now plays for an Italian league team called Basket Brescia Leonessa.
But Ainge's biggest miss of the 2008 NBA Draft was Jordan, an athletic center out of Texas A&M who fell to the Los Angeles Clippers at pick No. 35. A superb rebounder and shot-blocker, the 6'11”, 250-pound Jordan somehow slipped out of the first round because of minimal offensive averages and speculation about his attitude.
Five years later, Jordan has a 6.5 rebound and 1.5 block per game average over his career, and his offensive production has risen each year. He's currently logging 8.8 points a contest in a shade over 24 minutes a game, and his .608 field goal percentage ranks second-best in the league.
The Celtics tried their hardest to land Jordan for Kevin Garnett as part of the recent Doc Rivers deal with the Clippers. However, NBA commissioner David Stern put the kibosh on any further dealings between the two organizations this offseason.
Chad Ford, ESPN's NBA draft guru, wrote in his 2008 post-draft grades that, “if Jordan develops, he could get some GMs in hot water.” Ainge's blood must be boiling by now, knowing Jordan has more than developed into an NBA talent the Celtics would love to start.