Grading each Danny Ainge draft class since 2003

Go down

Grading each Danny Ainge draft class since 2003

Post by bobheckler on Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:37 pm

Boston Celtics NBA Draft: Grading each Danny Ainge draft class since 2003

Updated June 22, 2017
Posted June 22, 2017

Danny Ainge

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge does not always follow the general consensus when it comes to draft day. In last year's draft, pundits claimed the Celtics should select Providence point guard Kris Dunn at No. 3 overall, but Ainge went with athletic wing Jaylen Brown instead. This year, he had a chance at Markelle Fultz, the top-ranked point guard in the draft, but traded out of the No. 1 pick to collect other assets and take someone else.

Ainge's decision-making has led to a mixed bag of results for the Celtics. He is the man who took Al Jefferson at No. 15 overall in 2004, but he also took J.R. Giddens at No. 30 in 2008. He took Avery Bradley at No. 19 overall in 2010, but also Fab Melo at No. 22 overall in 2012.

The following is a ranking of each of Ainge's draft classes since he came on as the Executive Director of Basketball Operations in 2003. It shows what the Celtics did with their picks on draft day, and some of the other talented players they missed out on later in the draft.

In retrospect, some of Ainge's drafts look great, considering they led to the team winning a title in 2007-08. However, looking back also showed some of the talent the Celtics missed on — including some superstars the team would love to have now.


Troy Bell – 1st round, 16th overall
Dahntay Jones – 1st round, 20th overall
Brandon Hunter – 2nd round, 56th overall

Note: Traded Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones for Marcus Banks (13th overall) and Kendrick Perkins (27th overall) on draft day.
The Celtics got the best player in their draft-day trade when they acquired Kendrick Perkins at pick No. 27. Of course, the Celtics were hoping Banks would be better than he was — he only started five games over three years with Boston. But Perkins spent eight seasons with Boston, serving a key role on its championship team. Brandon Hunter spent two seasons in the league, but never was a major contributor to the Celtics.
David West

David West - 1st round, 18th overall
Boris Diaw - 1st round, 21st overall
Kyle Korver - 2nd round, 51st overall

While Perkins was a good but not great player in the league, there were not many players much better than him after Boston's first first-round pick. David West has had a strong NBA career, averaging 17.7 points and 7.7 rebounds during his prime. Boris Diaw had a number of good seasons as a role player as well, while Kyle Korver has been among the best shooters in the league for several years. Overall, however, there were no superstars left (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh all were taken in this draft) by the time the Celtics made their first pick.

Overall grade: B
The Celtics didn't miss out on too much talent later on in the draft, and picked up a valuable role player for their championship teams. The miss on Banks' pick hurts, but they won their trade thanks to Perkins.

Al Jefferson – 1st round, 15th overall
Delonte West – 1st round, 24th overall
Tony Allen – 1st round, 25th overall
Justin Reed – 2nd round, 40th overall

Between Jefferson, West and Allen, the Celtics collected three players who have had long careers in the league. Jefferson didn't hit his peak until Ainge dealt him and West away, but those two players helped bring in Kevin Garnett, which gives them great value. Meanwhile, Allen became one of the best defensive guards in the league, and served a valuable role on the 2007-08 championshiop team. Reed spent a little over a season with the Celtics, but never made an impact.


Josh Smith - 1st round, 17th overall
J.R. Smith - 1st round, 18th overall

While both Smiths would've been strong players with the Celtics, it's hard to argue that Boston truly went wrong by taking Jefferson at No. 15 overall. Josh Smith had a good career as a forward for the Hawks, especially on the defensive end, while J.R. Smith has been a ready and willing shooter wherever he has gone.

Overall grade: A

Eventually, this draft played the biggest role in getting Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Boston, so there is a lot to like about it. All of the Celtics' first three picks could be considered hits, especially where they were drafting in the first round, and there was not much talent later in the draft that could be considered "star" caliber. Ainge gets a high grade for this one.



Gerald Green – 1st round, 18th overall
Ryan Gomes – 2nd round, 50th overall
Orien Greene – 2nd round, 53rd overall

Before Green was a veteran role player for the Celtics, he won a dunk contest and averaged 10.4 points per game in a season with Boston. Then, he was thrown into a deal for Kevin Garnett, which was his best value. Gomes also had a few good seasons in Minnesota after going over in the Garnett deal, while Greene spent only one season with the Celtics.


David Lee - 1st round, 30th overall
Monta Ellis - 2nd round, 40th overall
Amir Johnson - 2nd round, 56th overall
Marcin Gortat - 2nd round, 57th overall

Lee ended up on the Celtics eventually, but it was well past his prime when he was averaging double-doubles. Meanwhile, the second round offered an aggressive shooter in Ellis, another future Celtic in Johnson and a solid presence at center with Marcin Gortat.

Overall grade: C+

None of the Celtics draft picks were true impact players, and there was some talent later on the draft. Boston did get Garnett thanks to two of these players, but neither was the centerpiece, making it an odd draft to grade.



Traded Randy Foye (1st round, 7th overall) along with Dan Dickau and Raef Lafrentz for Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and a 2008 2nd round pick (Trent Plaisted)

Traded 2007 Cavaliers first-round pick to Suns for Brian Grant, Rajon Rondo (1st round, 21st overall)
Traded 2007 2nd round pick (Aaron Gray) for 49th overall pick in 2006 draft (Leon Powe)
Who cares about everyone else that moved in this draft? The Celtics got Rondo at No. 21 here, and he turned into a star-caliber point guard that helped lead a championship run in 2007-08. Leon Powe was a decent role player for the Celtics during that time too.



Rudy Gay - 1st round, 8th overall
Paul Millsap - 2nd round, 47th overall

If the Celtics didn't trade Foye, they could have taken Rudy Gay at No. 8, who ended up being a pretty good wing scorer throughout his career. Also, the Celtics would've loved to get a player of Millsap's talent late in the draft like the Jazz did.

Overall grade: A

Rondo, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, was among the best players to come out of the 2006 draft, and the Celtics got him at pick No. 21. It's hard to argue with that success. Plus, Big Baby Davis had four solid seasons with Boston off the bench. This was a good draft.



Jeff Green – 1st round, 5th overall
Gabe Pruitt – 2nd round, 32nd overall

Note: Traded Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, 2008 2nd rounder (Trent Plaisted) for Ray Allen, 2007 2nd round pick (35th overall – Glen Davis)

The Celtics traded Jeff Green in a deal for Ray Allen, which helped lead to the Kevin Garnett trade, which helped lead to a championship. Gabe Pruitt didn't do much for the Celtics, but that didn't matter too much.



Joakim Noah - 1st round, 9th overall
Marc Gasol - 2nd round, 48th overall

The Celtics could've theoretically taken Noah, who averaged a double-double four times in his career, but the Seattle SuperSonics wanted Green. They also could have taken Gasol, who is among the best centers in the league, instead of Big Baby.

Overall grade: A

The return of this draft ended up resulting in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and a championship, so it's hard to give this any other grade besides an A.



J.R. Giddens – 1st round, 30th overall
Semi Erden – 2nd round, 60th overall

Giddens played 27 games for the Celtics, while Semih Erden played 37 games for the Celtics. Neither one was very good.



DeAndre Jordan - 2nd round, 35th overall
Goran Dragic - 2nd round, 45th overall

DeAndre Jordan is among the best centers in the league now, as he has averaged a double-double in each of the last four seasons, been named an All-Star once and named first-team All-NBA defense twice. Meanwile, Dragic is a highly productive guard who is considerably better than either player the Celtics took.

Overall grade: C-

On one hand, the Celtics were picking at No. 30 and No. 60 overall in this draft, which means most of the good players should have been gone by then. On the other, they did miss out on Jordan, as well as a few other decent players that had longer careers than Giddens or Erden. It was a bad draft, but it would've taken some great picks to find legitimate talent where they were drafting.


Lester Hudson – 2nd round, 58th overall

Hudson played 70 minutes for the Celtics in his career, during which he scored 22 total points. He was not very good, and never had a real role with the team.



Wesley Matthews - undrafted

Considering the Celtics picked first at No. 58 overall, they didn't really get a chance to miss out on much talent. The top undrafted player that year was Wesley Matthews, however, who has averaged more than 12 points per game in each of his last seven seasons.

Overall grade: C

It's hard to complain about what the Celtics did in a draft when their first pick didn't come until No. 58 overall. It wasn't a successful pick, but the odds of having success at that pick were slim to none. For that, Ainge gets a C.



Avery Bradley – 1st round, 19th overall
Luke Harangody – 2nd round, 52nd overall

It took Bradley a few years to develop, but he is among the Celtics' best players at this point. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2012, Bradley has averaged 14.1 points per game to go with All-NBA-caliber defense. At that point in the draft, Bradley was definitely a good pick, while Harangody was nothing more than a late-round flier.



Hassan Whiteside - 2nd round, 33rd overall
Jeremy Lin - undrafted

Lin has been an impressive offensive contributor ever since his breakout with the Knicks, and could've provided some bench scoring for the Celtics if they had taken him over Harangody. Whiteside took a while to pan out, but he has averaged a double-double in each of his last three seasons with Miami.

Overall grade: A-

Bradley was the best player available at that point of the draft, and he continues to be a valuable starter for Boston through this past season. While Harangody didn't offer much, the Celtics hit on their one pick of value, and get a good grade because of it.



MarShon Brooks – 1st round, 25th overall
E’Twaun Moore – 2nd round, 55th overall

Note: Traded MarShon Brooks for JaJuan Johnson (27th overall) and 2014 2nd round pick

E'Twaun Moore was never a contributor with the Celtics, but he has shown flashes as a bench scorer for the Magic, Bulls and Pelicans in recent years. Johnson spent one season with Boston, during which he averaged 3.2 points per game.



Jimmy Butler - 1st round, 30th overall
Chandler Parsons - 2nd round, 38th overall
Isaiah Thomas - 2nd round, 60th overall

Well hey, there were some superstars left late in this draft. Butler has become the subject of many trade rumors, as he has averaged 20-plus points per game in each of the last three seasons along with excellent defense. Chandler Parsons earned himself a max contract, while Thomas led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals and took a spot on the All-NBA second team this year.

Overall grade: F

Sure, drafting is hard. But the Celtics had multiple chances to take Butler, Parsons or Thomas in this draft, and passed on all of them. Now, it could take the Celtics multiple valuable assets to acquire a player like Butler this offseason as they continue to try and get back to the top of the league. A lot of teams messed up in this draft, and the Celtics were one of them.



Jared Sullinger – 1st round, 21st overall
Fab Melo – 1st round, 22nd overall
Kris Joseph - 2nd round, 51st overall

Sullinger, a highly productive college player, was a good pick in theory despite long-term injury concerns. He averaged 10-plus points and 7-plus rebounds in three of his four seasons with the Celtics, spending some time as a starter. Melo played 36 total minutes with the Celtics in six games, which is the same number of games Kris Joseph played with the Celtics.



Jae Crowder - 2nd round, 34th overall
Draymond Green - 2nd round, 35th overall
Khris Middleton - 2nd round, 39th overall

Like 2011, the Celtics missed out on a legitimate star, a good starter and a player they currently have on their roster in 2012. Draymond Green is among the best defensive players in the league, and is a major part of what makes the Warriors so dominant. Middleton is an excellent 3-point shooter, and one of the more complete wing players in the league. Meanwhile, Crowder has provided energy and defense in the starting lineup for Boston.

Overall grade: D

Sullinger had his moments, but it is hard to argue the Celtics picked well when they took Fab Melo over Draymond Green. Sullinger never reached his full potential, and there were other talented players to be had later in the draft. Things could be a lot different right now if the Celtics took Butler, Thomas and Green in consecutive drafts. But then again, a lot of teams missed on those players.



Lucas Nogueira – 1st round, 16th overall

Notes: Traded Lucas Nogueira along with two 2014 2nd round picks to Mavericks for Kelly Olynyk (13th overall)
Traded cash to Indiana Pacers for Colton Iverson (2nd round – 53rd overall)

Iverson never played a game for the Celtics, but Olynyk has carved out a nice role for himself for Boston. As a bench player, Olynyk has offered shooting ability as a stretch-big man, and even had the game of his life in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals this year.



Giannis Antetokounmpo - 1st round, 15th overall
Rudy Gobert - 1st round, 27th overall

The Celtics could've had a lot better players than Olynyk, however. Antetokounmpo was very difficult to scout based on the level of competition he played in before the NBA, but he is legitimately a budding superstar in the league right now. Meanwhile, Gobert has a case as the league's top defensive player after averaging 2.6 blocks per game this year.

Overall grade: C

Aside from Antetokounmpo and Gobert, there were a lot of misses in the first round of the 2013 draft. At this point, Olynyk is not exactly a miss, but he isn't a major hit either (unless he can replicate Game 7 Kelly over and over next season). It's another case of Ainge not missing too badly, but not exactly hitting either.



Marcus Smart – 1st round, 6th overall
James Young – 1st round, 17th overall

Despite his poor shooting, Smart has the best career VORP (value over replacement player) of any first-round pick in the 2014 draft — a list that includes Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid. That might not be the case as their careers continue, but for now, Smart has been a valuable bench contributor and defender in Boston. The same cannot be said about James Young, who has been at the bottom of the roster since he was drafted.



Dario Saric - 1st round, 12th overall
Zach Lavine - 1st round, 13th overall
Nikola Jokic - 2nd round, 41st overall
Jordan Clarkson - 2nd round, 46th overall

The player with the best VORP in that draft, however, was Nikola Jokic by a landslide. Jokic has developed into one of the league's best centers at this point, and is only getting better. Saric and Lavine are both good players, and one might argue that they would be better picks than Smart at this point of their careers. Meanwhile, Clarkson certainly would've been a better pick than Young.

Overall grade: B

Based on the players at the top of the draft and where the Celtics were picking, Smart appears to have been the smart choice for the Celtics at No. 6. Young, however, was not the right pick. This draft may be viewed differently as players continue to grow in the league.



Terry Rozier – 1st round, 16th overall
R.J. Hunter – 1st round, 28th overall
Jordan Mickey – 2nd round, 33rd overall
Marcus Thornton – 2nd round, 45th overall

The Celtics nearly traded a boatload of picks to move up for Justise Winslow in this draft. Instead, they got four players who have not had much chance to make an impact in Boston yet. Hunter is gone already — cut after one season, while never made it with Boston. Meanwhile, Rozier and Mickey have shown flashes of ability, with Rozier carving out a decent role for himself on a team with plenty of talent to go around.



...No one yet?

Larry Nance Jr. and Willy Hernangomez could prove to be good NBA players in the long run, but for now it's hard to tell. We'll check back in the future.

Overall grade: B-

The grade would've likely gone down if Ainge had actually traded a ton of picks for Winslow, but the jury is still out on a number of the picks from this year's draft. Rozier could end up being something, while Mickey could turn into a role player off the bench. We don't know yet, so for now, he gets a B-.



Jaylen Brown – 1st round, 3rd overall
Guerschon Yabusele – 1st round, 16th overall
Ante Zizic – 1st round, 23rd overall
Deyonta Davis – 2nd round, 31st overall
Rade Zagorac – 2nd round, 35th overall
Demetrius Jackson – 2nd round, 45th overall
Ben Bentil – 2nd round, 51st overall
Abdel Nader – 2nd round, 58th overall

Note: Traded Deyonta Davis and Rade Zagorac to Memphis for 2019 protected first-round pick from Los Angeles Clippers
That's a lot of players. Through one season, Jaylen Brown is dripping with potential, and he already has plenty of dunk and defense highlights to get everyone excited. Yabusele and Zizic are each highly regarded, despite not playing in the NBA yet, while the team is high on players like Jackson and Nader.



Malcolm Brogdon, 2nd round - 36th overall

The Celtics reportedly had interest in Brogdon before the draft, but didn't end up taking him. He went on to average 10.2 points per game, and even kill the Celtics in the final moments of one game. It's early, yes, but Brogdon appears to be a legitimately decent player that the Celtics passed on.

Overall grade: B+

Even as everyone called for the Celtics to take Kris Dunn, the Celtics went against the grain and drafted Brown, which appears to be the right choice. The jury is still out on most of these players, but based on Brown alone, this appears to be a good draft for the Celtics.



It has been a mixed bag for Ainge in drafts, as he works better with trading his picks than he does with taking them. His best years have resulted in him trading picks for established veterans — and that's fine because it resulted in a Celtics championship. But even with some non-lottery picks, Ainge has come up with talented players like Al Jefferson, Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo.

Ainge's real judgement will come within the next few years, when he has to turn his vast collection of assets into real, talented NBA players. The Celtics could have seven first-rounders over the next three years, including multiple picks in the top-five of the draft after picking there in 2016 and likely again in 2017. He has set himself up for success. Now he just has to achieve it again.



Posts : 37805
Join date : 2009-10-28

Back to top Go down

Re: Grading each Danny Ainge draft class since 2003

Post by mrkleen09 on Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:42 pm

Monday Morning Quarterback is the easiest position in sports.

Posts : 3121
Join date : 2009-10-16
Age : 49

Back to top Go down

Re: Grading each Danny Ainge draft class since 2003

Post by jrleftfoot on Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:56 pm

Those ratings seem pulled out of the guys derrierre

Posts : 704
Join date : 2016-07-07

Back to top Go down

Re: Grading each Danny Ainge draft class since 2003

Post by Sponsored content

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum