I, like most Celtics fans, was very disappointed that we didn't get a top two pick in the lottery. But, a case can be made that every draft is more than 2 players deep. I know that Oden and Durant are special players and will more than likely become stars. But, it isn't always the top picks that become the biggest stars. Who knows which player is going to take that step up to the next level.
A look at the players who have been taken in the draft with the 5th pick shows us that there have been both hits and misses at that spot. Last year, the Hawks took Sheldon Williams and the jury is still out on what kind of player he will become. Before that it was Raymond Felton in '05 and Devin Harris in '04.
In 2003, Dwayne Wade was the 5th pick and is evidence that players taken there can be even better than players taken before. Before that was Nikoloz Tskitishvili in '02, Jason Richardson in '01, Mike Miller in '00, and Jonathan Bender in '99.
In 1998, Vince Carter was chosen with the 5th pick. In 1997, Tony Battie was the 5th pick. In 1996, Ray Allen was taken 5th. In 1995, Kevin Garnett was taken with the 5th pick. Juwan Howard was chosen 5th in 1994 and before that it was Isaiah Rider in '93, LaPhonso Ellis in '92, Steve Smith in '91, and Kendall Gill in 1990. Charles Barkley was a 5th pick in the draft. Over all, there were a lot more good players chosen at 5 than bad and even a few stars.
Looking beyond the 5th pick, there have been several stars who were chosen out of the lottery and some even in the second round. While the jury is still out on how good the players from the past 2 drafts can be, we see some very good player chosen past the 5th pick: Charlie Villanueva (7), Channing Frye (8), Danny Granger (17), David Lee (30), Monta Ellis (40) and Ryan Gomes (50).
Andre Iguodala was picked 9th, Al Jefferson 15th, Anderson Varejao 31st in '04. In 2003, Kirk Hinrich lasted until the 7th pick, Boris Diaw was 21st, Leandrho Barbosa 28th, Jason Kapono 31st, and Kyle Korver 51st. All have become valuable members of their teams.
In previous years, we can point to Amare Stoudamire (9), Caron Butler (10), Tayshun Prince (23) Carlos Boozer (35), Matt Barnes (46), Shane Battier (6), Joe Johnson (10), Zach Randolph (19), Tony Parker (28), Gilbert Arenas (31), Morris Peterson (21), Michael Redd (43), Wally Szczerbiak (6), Richard Hamilton (7), Shawn Marion (9), Ron Artest (16), Andrei Kirilenko (24), Dirk Nowitski (9), Paul Pierce (10), Tracy McGrady (9), Kobe Bryant (13), Steve Nash (15), and Jermaine O'Neal (17) to show that impact players have been taken all over the draft from 5 and on down. Farther back in history we have Sam Cassell at 24, Robert Horry at 11, Rick Fox at 24, Horace Grant at 10, Reggie Miller at 11, Clyde Drexler at 14 and John Stockton at 16.
Looking at the Celtics history, Larry Bird was a 6th pick. Reggie Lewis was taken at 22. Cedric Maxwell was the 12th pick. Robert Parish was taken at 8. Quinn Buckner was a 7th pick. Dennis Johnson wasn't taken until 29. Tommy Heinsohn was the 6th pick. Antoine Walker was the 6th pick. And John Havlicek was the 9th pick.
Everyone is trying to figure out how to get Kevin Garnett in Boston. Garnett was a 5th pick in the draft. There are lots of trade scenarios being posted to get Jermaine O'Neal here. O'neal was a 17th pick. A lot of people would love to get Shawn Marion in Boston. Marion was a 9th pick. Will there be another Kevin Garnett at 5 in this draft? Is there another O'neal or Marion? Only time will tell. Danny has proved that he can draft well. Let's take a chance at finding the next big thing with the 5th pick or even with the 32nd pick. Let's not forget that Gilbert Arenas was picked 31st. Who knows what kind of a gem we can in this deep draft. [Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!]