By Sterling Pingree
The NBA Draft is about potential and possibility. It is common for fans and pundits to remind their audience about all of the guys that they were right about.
“I knew Durant was going to be better than Oden.”
“I would’ve taken Jordan ahead of Sam Bowie and Hakeem Olajuwon. I just knew.”
“I couldn’t believe Dirk and Pierce went 9 & 10th in 1998, I would’ve taken both of them ahead of Olowokandi.”
You know what you never hear? People bring up the guys that they were wrong about; the guys that they thought were can’t miss that well, missed or the sleeper outside of the lottery that you see something in that nobody else does. I need to cleanse my basketball soul and confess to guys that I thought were going to be great Celtics and enrich the proud tradition of the Green that wound up being answers to trivia questions.
2001- Kedrick Brown- 11th overall
A draft that gets remembered for high schoolers Kwame Brown, Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler going in the first 4 picks, the Celtics had the 10th and 11th picks. My dream for the Celtics was that somehow, Duke captain Shane Battier would fall down to the Celtics at 10. Battier didn’t, going 6th to Memphis but Arkansas guard Joe Johnson did make to the Celtics at 10. However, I was more excited about the next pick, Kedrick Brown. Brown was 6’8” and had dominated at Northwest Florida State College (a junior college now known as Okaloosa-Walton Community College). Brown looked impressive in summer league, had a couple of big time dunks and I was all in on him filling out our big three: Pierce, Walker and Brown. It was not to be, Kedrick Brown averaged 3.1 points per game in 3 seasons in Boston before making stops in Philadelphia and Cleveland prior to leaving the NBA for good. Brown would go on to play most of his professional career in Turkey. It’s okay though, it’s not like Zach Randolph went 8 spots later or anything.
2010- Luke Harangody- 52nd overall
Harangody looked like a big country (not Bryant Reeves) boy who played at Notre Dame. “Gody” was a big guy who had a pretty solid jump shot for mid-west college basketball and when the Celtics took him near the end of the 2010 NBA Draft, I like most Celtic fans, thought (more so probably hoped) that Luke Harangody could contribute somehow. This was on the heels of the Kevin Pittsnogle experiment (undrafted free agent that never had an impact in Boston either) where fans were excited to see former college stars with funny names try to make it in the NBA. This was after the one and done rule was put into place, so draft prospects who played more than a year in college became fodder for the bottom of the second round.
2012- Fab Melo- 22nd overall
Fab Melo had been a defensive force at Syracuse and after the Celtics drafted him, he would continue to be…….for the Maine Red Claws. I think the argument could be made that Melo’s 2012-13 season in Portland was arguably the best in Red Claws history. Melo had a couple of triple doubles, with points, rebounds and blocks, also setting the NBA Developmental League record with 14 blocks in a single game. Melo was up and down between Boston and Portland all season, but only found his way into 6 games with the Celtics. Boston traded Fab Melo to Memphis after the season for Donte Green, because anytime you can get a player the caliber of Donte Green, you have to do it. Memphis waived Melo, Dallas picked him up and waived him before the 2013 season. Melo would never play in the NBA again, instead going back to his home country of Brazil where he would play until 2017 when he shockingly passed away at the age of 26.
2014- James Young- 17th overall
The Kentucky product fell to the Celtics at 17 and I think all Celtics fans were optimistic about Young because he was projected to be a solid lottery pick. This was the pick where Bill Simmons famously pumped his fist in live television after the selection was announced. In his three years with the organization, Young averaged just .8 points per game in 89 appearances with the Celtics while seeing most of his action at the Portland Expo.
Sterling Pingree (@SterlingPingree on Twitter) is a co-host of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.