I don't watch enough college ball as I probably should, but I do read a lot of draft profiles every June. And from my experience drafting successfully in the NBA is much easier than GM's make it out to be. Basically the easiest way to success is to draft the guys who fall in the draft. When a star like Pierce falls to #10 you snag him. When first round talents like DaJuan Blair, Big Baby, and Monta Ellis fall to the 2nd round it's a no brainer to draft them.
Last year the no brainer pick for the Celtics was Marshon Brooks as he fell to the end of the 1st round. For some bizarre reason Ainge preferred reaching on an undersized big man in JaJuan Johnson. As I predicted last year, Brooks would flourish as a rookie and Johnson would eventually be used in a trade just to make salaries match. I knew this would happen, because I had seen it before. Back in 2008, a huge teenage big man named DeAndre Jordan fell to Danny Ainge at the end of the 1st round. Ainge instead took a huge reach on a 24 year old named J.R. Giddens. A similar thing happened in 2007 when Marc Gasol fell to the Celtics, but Ainge took a reach on Gabe Pruitt.
Now there's no guarantee that a guy that falls in the draft will become a steal. Gerald Green fell to the Celtics and never became the Tracy McGrady he was predicted to become. But your odds are so much better drafting a falling player than reaching on another. During this June's draft, Danny Ainge had an amazing opportunity. Two lottery pics fell to the Celtics: Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones III. You draft both of them and everyone would say you were the big winners of the draft. Or you can try and be smarter than everyone else and take someone else.
Ainge took Sullinger at #20 and I was stoked. While I felt that Jones had the higher upside, I knew that Sullinger was a safe choice who would be a rotation player for 12 years at a minimum. And more likely he would become a starter, very possibly even in his rookie season. Then the Celtics had another 1st rounder. They took Fab Melo over Perry Jones III. Mike Saver has noted that Bill Simmons has mentioned that the Celtics weren't big Melo fans, but a couple of the guys they wanted were off the board.
We're all Celtic fans on here, so we all love Fab Melo now that he's a Celtic. We all want him to do well. He has the "potential" to one day turn his raw ability into an NBA caliber player. I will root for him to succeed, just like I rooted for Pruitt, Giddens, and Johnson. I want Ainge to prove me and draft pundits wrong. Sullinger has been beasting as I predicted the lottery talent that fell to us would. Melo though is looking very raw, while Perry Jones III it appears has already won a spot in the rotation on the Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder.
Perry Jones III is a 7 footer that can play all three front court positions. If the Celtics had drafted him, fans would be comparing him to a young KG (Shit, Celtics fans compared JaJuan Johnson to a young KG). The fact that Sam Presti drafted Jones just confirmed to me that he was legit. Presti is one of the very elite drafters in the NBA. Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka. The guy just hits home runs.
Look, drafting Sullinger means the Celtics will come out of this draft looking good. Even if Melo never develops or fails to match Jones III, people will still give Danny props on Sullinger. But the Celtics had a chance to hit a home run in this draft by taking both players who fell to them. Ainge went for the double. So far the guys who fell to the Celtics that Danny passed on (Gasol, Jordan, and Brooks) have had MUCH better careers than the three he reached on (Pruitt, Giddens, and JJJ). I really hope that streak ends this year and Melo becomes the better pro than Jones III. But right now I'm left a bit depressed that Ainge didn't go for the home run that fell into his lap.
JR 10/09/2012 01:19:00 PM Tweet Edit