While waiting for the lottery, my thoughts keep going back to the 1986 draft. I was so excited waiting for the draft that year. There were 2 dominant players coming out of college that season, just as there are this season. Brad Daugherty, a 7' center from the University of North Carolina and Len Bias, a 6'8" forward out of Maryland. It was assumed that they would go first and second in the draft to the lucky lottery winners. The Celtics had a chance at a top 2 pick that season, just as they do this season. The Celtics got the second pick that year by way of the trade of Gerald Henderson to the Sonics. After the Cavaliers took Daugherty, Celtics fans all over cheered as the Celtics took Len Bias with the second pick.
Bias was one of the most explosive offensive machines in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Bias was expected to be the link between the Bird era and the future championships that were sure to come. There was a lot of celebrating among the Celtics faithful. I couldn't wait for training camp to see Bias play with the Celtics' recently crowned Champion team. But then 2 days later, it all came crashing down. I was in the car and the news of Bias's death came on the radio. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach and I had to pull over to let the news sink in. I still feel that pain today thinking back on that horrible turn of events.
It is hard to say what kind of NBA player Bias would have been but those who played against him in college and those who would have played with him as a Celtic say he might have evolved into one of the most dynamic NBA stars of his era, maybe in league history. Some even say that Bias could have been the rival that Michael Jordan never really found during his legendary career. Scouting reports compared Bias to Jordan and said that Bias was a better outside shooter and might not handle the ball as well, but he was bigger and tougher.
When Bias died, Jan Volk, the Celtics GM, made the statement that his death would impact the franchise for a long time, 10 years or longer. He was right on because the team still hasn't recovered 21 years later. Of course there was the death of Reggie Lewis and the Pitino years that set us back as well, but it was the death of Bias that set this terrible string of tragedy and bad luck in motion.
Now, 21 years later, there are 2 dominant players coming into the draft and expected to go 1 and 2: Oden, a 7' center who dominates in the paint, and Durant, a 6'9 forward who can do a bit of everything on the court. Both are expected to be franchise players. Will history come full circle and with this draft give the Celtics an era of good fortune again? It would truly be eery if the Celtics get the second pick and draft Durant, and if he would choose the #30, which will soon be available. History would truly come full circle. I know it would give me goose bumps. We are due some good luck after all these years. Only 26 more days until the lottery to find out if we can start a new era or continue in this cycle of futility that started those 21 years ago when the Celtics chose Len Bias with the second pick in the draft.