|This is apparently what J.R. Giddens looked like|
Today we take a look at the other side, the worst draft picks of Ainge's 11-year run as Celtics' President.
However, we will be changing the way we do it slightly. I am still going to compare the players win shares to the average player picked there, but I will not simply be ranking them by how they stack up. The reason for this is that the guys Ainge has completely whiffed on are all right around 0 career win shares, so they all have basically the same ranking. Does JR Giddens really deserve to be ranked higher than Fab Melo just based on his career 0.1 win share (to Melo's 0.0)? Neither player accomplished anything in the NBA, so we need to use a tiebreaker in that case, and so we'll look at the players Ainge passed on at those spots.
Let's get to it.
Note: Just like yesterday, I'm counting the guys received in draft night trades, and not those technically drafted by the Celtics and shipped out of town. When teams make those deals, they are picking for the other team, so we need to keep that in mind. So if you're expecting Troy Bell or Uncle Jeff, you will be disappointed.
#5 - Gerald Green
Drafted: 18th overall in 2005
- 7 NBA seasons
- 2 seasons spent in Russia
- Only spent two full seasons in an NBA rotation
- Career stats: 9.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1 APG
Career win shares: 10.2
Average WS/season: 1.13
Average of other 18th picks since 2003: 3.46 WS/season
% of average value that Green has supplied (Green's average win share/average #18 pick's win shares): 32.7%
Notable players that the Celtics passed on to select Green: David Lee, Nate Robinson, Jarrett Jack, Monta Ellis
Last year this pick wouldn't have gotten any hate, but after Green flourished in Phoenix (16 PPG, 4th in most improved player voting), there may be some that have issue with it. But keep in mind that Green was worth a total of only 4.1 win shares between 2005-2013 before breaking out in a huge way this season. It also took until his 7th NBA stop (with a two-year detour to Russia as well) for Green to harness his skills.
Making matters worse, Ainge passed on a bunch of very good players, including David Lee and Monta Ellis to make this pick. The silver lining was that Ainge dumped Green after a decent Sophomore campaign, using him as a chip in the KG deal.
#4 - Marcus Banks
Drafted: 13th overall in 2003
- 8 NBA seasons
- Career stats: 5.9 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.5 RPG, 0.8 SPG
- Played more than 50 games in three seasons
Career win shares: 6.6
Average WS/season: 0.6
Average of other 13th picks since 2003: 2.35 WS/season
% of average value that Banks has supplied: 25.5%
Notable players the Celtics passed on to select Banks: David West, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard
In Ainge's first draft he pulled off a two-for-two deal, dealing Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell for Banks and Kendrick Perkins. Overall, it was a good deal for Boston as Perkins became the only legitimate starter in the deal. But Banks was a bust, and the Celtics missed on a host of better players selected right behind him.
The 2003 draft was loaded, yet the Celtics missed on their late lottery pick. Banks last played in the NBA in 2010, and hasn't seen real minutes since 2006.
#3 - Fab Melo
Drafted: 22nd overall in 2012
- 1 NBA season
- 36 career minutes played
- Once got a concussion from walking into a door
Career win shares: 0.0
Average win shares per season: 0.0
Average of other 22nd picks since 2003: 2.01 WS/season
% of value that Melo has supplied: 0%
Notable players that the Celtics passed on to select Melo: Miles Plumlee, Draymond Green, Jae Crowder
We are now officially in the "awful zone". It's amazing that Melo, who was completely out of the league after one season, is only #3 on this list, but he's bailed out a bit by his draft class.
Two years in it's hard to really look around at the players that Ainge passed on and say "wow, the Celtics really screwed themselves". It's a bunch of guys who have yet to make their mark, and a couple of nice bench players.
Now that does not mean that the choice was a good one. Melo could barely run up and down the court, and it was obvious from very early on that he was going to be a failure. But it's hard to rank Fab ahead of the next two guys when you consider they really didn't make any more of an impact, and the Celtics passed on better players to get them.
#2 - JaJuan Johnson
Drafted: 27th overall in 2011
- 1 NBA season
- 298 career minutes played
- Traded three times in the D-League in one season
Career win shares: 0.2
Average win shares per season: 0.07
Average of other 27th picks since 2003: 2.03 WS/season
% of value that Johnson has supplied: 3.4%
Notable players that the Celtics passed on to draft Johson: Norris Cole, Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons, Isaiah Thomas
This is an example of us ignoring Johnson's slight impact advantage over Melo, and instead looking at the guys Ainge passes on to make the pick. While the Melo decision was dumb, I can at least look at the other players available at the time and say "You know, I understand why he took a huge risk". But with Johnson, Ainge passed on several big time NBA players, several of whom could have been starters this year's Celtics team.
Johnson was a fish out of water in the NBA, and never gained the trust of Doc Rivers. Remember, the 2011-12 team made a run to the ECF, yet Doc consistently turned to Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins over his first round pick. After that season, Johnson was salary fodder in the Courtney Lee deal, and he is now out of the league.
This was a major swing-and-a-miss by the organization.
#1 - JR Giddens
Drafted: 30th overall in 2008
- 2 NBA seasons
- 38 career games played
- 247 career minutes
Career win shares: 0.1
Average win shares per season: 0.02
Average of other 30th picks since 2003: 2.27 WS/season
% of value that Giddens has supplied: 0.8%
Notable players that the Celtics passed on to select Giddens: Nikola Pekovic, Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan, Omer Asik, Goran Dragic
Look at those names that the Celtics passed on, and imagine those guys being added to the defending champions back in 2008. Sure, some of them took a few years to develop, but any one of them could have been contributing by 2010, and who knows how that could have impacted the 2010-2012 teams that fell short in the playoffs.
Giddens was just an absolute garbage pick, a 23-year-old with a checkered past and a low ceiling. Ainge could have had his pick of several big men (I wanted Jordan, and was pissed on draft night, so this is not all revisionist history), or a proven guard in Chalmers (all those years looking for a viable back-up for Rondo..), but instead made his biggest mistake that still impacts the franchise six years later.
Honorable mentions: Gabe Pruitt was a pretty awful pick at #32 (the Celtics passed on Marc Gasol for him..ouch), but besides that we're really talking about mid-to-late second rounders like Justin Hunter, Orien Greene and Semih Erden. It's hard to fault Ainge too much for those picks when the failure rate is close to 80%.
Danny Ainge's Top 5 draft picks of all-time
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