Ranking the 5 Worst Draft Picks in Boston Celtics History
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With the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27 quickly approaching, the Boston Celtics desperately need to figure out the best possible prospect at pick No. 16. They will be hoping to add to the list of strong picks in the organization's future, and avoid increasing the number of busts.
Now that head coach Doc Rivers has been “traded” to the Los Angeles Clippers, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has a slew of issues to work through.
Boston has coaching vacancies, injuries to key players (Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger), salary cap pressures and a pair of question marks in veteran captain Paul Pierce and defensive anchor Kevin Garnett.
Their first and only pick of this draft will need to make an impact, and immediately. Ainge can't afford to repeat some of the worst C's drafts ever.
Maybe this list of the five worst Celtics draft picks in the organization's history will serve as a form of negative motivation for Ainge. Here they are: the biggest busts, ranging from the sort-of-awful to the worst of the worst.
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Troy Bell, PG, 2003: The Boston College alum picked at No. 16 luckily got traded to Memphis for what would become Kendrick Perkins. Bell played six games in the NBA and scored only 11 points total.
Norm Cook, SF, 1976: The 16th overall pick, Norm Cook went on to play 27 games total for the Celtics, scoring 65 points on a paltry 37 percent shooting. Alex English, who went on to average 21.5 points and 5.5 rebounds and play for eight All-Star teams, was still on the board.
Clarence Glover, PF, 1978: Similar to Cook, Glover played only 25 games with the Celtics despite being the 10th overall selection. And exactly like Cook, Glover scored 65 total points.
5. Gerald Green, SF, 2005
Gerald Green was a highlight and lowlight all at the same time.
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After the Celtics won the Atlantic division in 2004-05, Ainge had holes at the shooting guard and center positions. Despite holding three draft picks, he stunk up the joint by grabbing Gerald Green at No. 18.
Green may have turned into an exciting dunker, but his overall game expectedly failed to develop. He exhibited limited shooting range, poor fundamentals and constant immaturity (note: the highlight jams are great, but the lowlight clangs on wide-open breakaways are deplorable).
After Green won the dunk contest his sophomore year, Ainge grew tired of his antics and dealt him to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Kevin Garnett trade. All in all, the young leaper hit only 101 three-pointers and recorded 101 assists during his time as a Celtic.
Looking back at the 2005 NBA Draft, Monta Ellis or Jarrett Jack remained on the board at No. 18, as well as David Lee. This particular selection proves that Ainge's strategy to draft the “best player available” over need-based drafting can prove detrimental.
Hindsight may be 20/20, but Danny had blurred vision in this particular draft.
4. J.R. Giddens, SF, 2008
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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.
3. Michael Smith, PF, 1989
Such a bust we can't even find a photograph of him in uniform!
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The Celtics have demonstrated an affinity for drafting terrible big men since the 1980s. Michael Smith (no, not the ESPN sports reporter from Around the Horn) might have started that trend as the 13th pick in 1989.
Smith scored relatively well when he played aggressively, shooting 47.5 percent from the field his first two years. However, his defensive and rebounding contributions left a lot to be desired. In 112 games as a Celtic, Smith only grabbed 156 boards. Even worse, the 6'10”, 225-pounder only registered three blocks.
Three blocks in over 1,000 minutes of playing time? Was he afraid of the ball? Muggsy Bogues had 39 career blocks, and he was 5'3”, 136 pounds.
The Celtics waived Smith in October 1991, and he fell off the face of the earth for a while. He made a brief reappearance with the Los Angeles Clippers three seasons later, playing 29 games and adding 56 more rebounds (and two more blocks) to his career grand totals before retiring for good.
Smith now works as a color commentator for the Clippers. He's undoubtedly more welcome with them than in the TD Garden, where fans probably still resent him for being picked ahead of Tim Hardaway and Shawn Kemp in '89.
2. Jerome Moiso, PF, 2000
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Most Celtics fans prefer to suppress the memories of the late 1990s and early 2000s. If you are one of them, feel free to skip this slide about the terrible bust named Jerome Moiso.
Even back in 2000, most of Celtics Nation had no clue who this UCLA product was or why he was trusted with pick No. 11. After all, top prospects like Hedo Turkoglu, Quentin Richardson, DeShawn Stevenson and Michael Redd remained on the board at that time.
The 6'10” power forward played 24 games for the Celtics in his rookie season, scoring 1.5 points per game on 40 percent shooting. He turned the ball over almost as frequently as he missed free throws.
Luckily, the Celtics were able to trade him to the Philadelphia 76ers for a conditional first-round pick in 2003.
The Frenchman bounced around the league for five more seasons, “playing” for five more teams in the process and never amounting to much. In 2005, he hung it up with career averages of 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
1. Kedrick Brown, SF, 2001
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It's no coincidence that the Rick Pitino era highlights this list. While then-GM Chris Wallace did draft studs like Paul Pierce, he also drafted duds like Kedrick Brown.
Yet another failed 11th pick, Brown never deserved to reach 101 games in a green jersey. He shot a combined 34.3 percent from the field and 13.1 percent from three-point land his first two seasons, averaging 2.5 points.
When he started to show faint hints of value in 2003, the Celtics immediately dumped him to the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the package that netted Ricky Davis and Chris Mihm (yawn).
Brown played 34 games with the Cavs before they dealt him to the Philadelphia 76ers. Eight games and a total of 55 minutes as a Sixer, and that was all she wrote.
Many Boston fans still wonder what could have been if the Celtics selected Tony Parker, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace or Richard Jefferson over Brown.
Adding insult to injury, the Celtics selected Joseph Forte 10 picks later at No. 21, eventually dispelling the myth that two busts cancel each other out.