In this week's edition of "What the Hell Happened To" we look back at the career of Eric Montross.  I wasn't as down on the pick at the time and thought Montross (especially if Robert Parish stuck around one more year) could be groomed to be the starting center for years to come.  Well Chief left for Charlotte and Eric was forced to learn things as an NBA center as his own.

See I wouldn't be so grumpy about Montross but he was picked a slot ahead of Eddie Jones, whom the enemy picked at number 10 and who obviously went on to a much more successful career than Mongoose.  The thing is his rookie year, Eric was quite solid- 10 ppg and almost 7.5 rpg in 78 games, 75 of which he started.  That Celtics team made the playoffs in 1995 and gave Orlando the scare of a lifetime before bowing out in 4 games and shutting down the Boston Garden permanently.

That's Kevin Salvadori sitting!

But after his rookie year (which included a 2nd Team All Rookie selection) Montross' career went downhill.  He was traded to Dallas after the following season (along with pick number 9 which turned into pick number 6 which turned into Antoine Walker) so for that, some may say ML Carr actually made a good move.  He then went on to play for the Mavericks, Nets, Pistons and Raptors before ending his career after 2002.

I think he epitomizes how the legit 7'0 centers were just phased out over time.  No reason to bring someone in like him when you can get a guy 6'9 or 6'10 who can actually play (Amare Stoudemire liked this trend).  And to think of it, they paired him with Dino Radja his rookie year.  Both of those guys in today's height-challenged NBA would get 100% of their time at center.  But back then Dino was a 4 and Eric was a 5.

I thought it was cool when he selected #0.  Again I really thought there was a chance Parish would stick around one more year and they'd have "00" and "0" on the same team (not sure that's ever happened in NBA history).  Who knows if Robert could've influenced Eric more.  In hindsight I thought Montross would have the better NBA career than Bryant Reeves, a similar-body type for a center.  But Big Country was definitely the better pro.

Today Eric serves as an announcer for North Carolina.  He also did a great thing in creating an organization called Vaccine Ambassadors which helps provide vaccines for children in developing countries.  Certainly a much better conclusion than that of Travis Knight lol.

For a list of all the "What the Hell Happened To" Series please click here.  

tb727 12/07/2009 08:15:00 PM Edit
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8 Responses so far.

  1. JR says:

    We also got the Mavs unprotected first rounder the following yr in the deal, which increased our chances of landing Duncan significantly, but we ended up with Ron Mercer with that pick (in hindsight we should of taken T-Mac). I remember Montross during his rookie season. He wasn't bad and that playoffs was rather exciting. Sherman was the man. Last playoffs in the original Garden. Thing about coming into the NBA bald? You age better. Montross looks the same.

  2. tb727 says:

    It's incredible how Mercer was so solid his first 2 years, did have a couple of other great years where I want to say he averaged close to 20ppg (without looking) and then fell off the face of the earth.

    Hmmm perhaps a segue into the NEXT WTTHT lol...

  3. Bohemian says:

    I was actually very excited when the C's drafted this guy and he played quite well the first year. He became a stiff quite quickly..what a waste of money! I also remember the hugely long contract he got, something like an 8 year one or so...was it from us?

  4. tb727 says:

    Yeah Bohemian it's like the entire league figured him out. I mean he wasn't spectacular his first year- but very solid. I really thought he could be the center for the next 10 seasons.

    Not sure if the C's gave him that contract...

  5. Anonymous says:

    Eric's career went down hill fast I am not going to argue that fact but ML Carr was a moron. He didnt know how to use Montross, his rookie season 29 mins per game 10 pts 8 rebs 2nd year 23 mins 7pts and 6rebs per. Say he plays 35 to 40 mins per that's probably 15pts per and 10 rebs. Also would have killed the C's to keep Robert Parish around for his rookie season and maybe his second season to teach him. Parish was awesome and I am sure he could have taken Montross under his wing oh well. The what ifs ?

  6. tb727 says:

    Interesting take last Anonymous with Parish around. The thing is Montross was really slow and was prone to foul trouble- not sure he could be a 40 minute a night guy, ever.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Eric Montross= WORST CELTIC OF ALL TIME! Hysterical article tb.

  8. VinsanityNow says:

    Seriously? Worst of all time? You didn't watch many Celtics games in the 80s/90s... I can think a several bench scrubs (guys mentioned profiled in WTHHT) who were worse

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