I have been doing some research into past drafts and the caliber of players who were drafted with the 5th pick, and some stars who were picked after #5. The last 20 picks at #5 include 2006 Shelden Williams PF/C by Atlanta 2005 Raymond Felton PG by Charlotte 2004 Devin Harris PG by Dallas 2003 Dwayne Wade SG by Miami 2002 Nicoloz Tskitishvili SF/PF Denver 2001 Jason Richardson SG Golden State 2000 Mike Miller SF Orlando 1999 Jonathan Bender SG Toronto 1998 Vince Carter SG Golden State 1997 Tony Battie PF/C Denver 1996 Ray Allen SG Minnesota 1995 Kevin Garnett PF/C Minnesota 1994 Juwan Howard F Washington 1993 Isaiah Rider F Minnesota 1992 Laphonso Ellis F Denver 1991 Steve Smith G Miami 1990 Kendall Gill G Charlotte 1989 JR Reid PF/C Charlotte 1988 Mitch Richmond G Golden State 1987 Scottie Pippen G/F Seattle 1986 Kenny Walker F New York
Now, looking at this list, the first thing I notice is that more of these players became stars than the ones who were duds in the league. Some, like Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wade, Vince Carter, Ray Allen, and Scottie Pippen became super stars. There were a few duds chosen with the 5th pick over the years, but Danny Ainge is a good talent scout and if he could find talented players with the 15th pick and below, he should be able to find a superstar in this draft with the 5th pick.
Not only have there been stars selected with the fifth pick, but many have been picked 6th and beyond. It is early to judge the last 2 draft classes, but Daniel Gibson, who made a name in the finals, was picked 42nd. Charlie Villanueva was picked 7th, David Lee was picked 30th.
Here is a list of other players who are either stars or on their way to being stars. Luol Deng 7 Iguodala 9 Duhon 39 Hinrich 7 Ridnour 14 Perk 27 Korver 51 Amare Stoudamire 9 Caron Butler 10 Tayshun Prince 23 Carlos Boozer 35 Shane Battier 6 Richard Jefferson 13 Zach Randolph 19 Gerald Wallace 25 Tony Parker 28 Gilbert Arenas 31 Michael Redd 43 Wally Szczerbiak 6 Shawn Marion 9 Jason Terry 10 Corey Maggette 13 Ron Artest 16 Kirilenko 24 Manu Ginobili 57 Dirk Nowitski 9 Paul Pierce 10 Rashard Lewis 32 Tracy McGrady 9 Erick Dampier 10 Kobe Bryant 13 Steve Nash 15 Jermaine O'Neal 17 Ilgauskas 20 Derek Fisher 24 Theo Ratliff 18 Rick Fox 24 Robert Horry 11 Tim Hardaway 14 Dan Majerle 14 Rick Barry 18 Steve Kerr 25 Reggie Miller 11 Reggie Lewis 22 Ron Harper 8 Chris Mullen 7 Karl Malone 13 Joe Dumars 18 AC Green 23 Charles Barkley 5 John Stockton 16 Antoine Carr 8 Clyde Drexler 14 Doc Rivers 31 Danny Ainge 31 Kiki Vandeweghe 11 Vinnie Johnson 11 Larry Bird 6 Reggie Theus 9 Bernard King 7 Cedric Maxwell 12
There are more, but from this list, we can see that history proves that stars can be had with the 5th pick and beyond with a little luck and a GM who can judge talent.
Now, looking at Danny's draft history, he has made 12 picks since he became the GM of the Celtics. Of those 12 picks, 11 are still playing in the NBA. His first draft consisted of Marcus Banks, Kendrick Perkins and Brandon Hunter. Banks didn't work out in Boston, but they liked him in Minny and Phoenix liked him enough to give him a contract worth 21 million over 5 years. Perk is poised to become a top center in the league. He has had injury problems that held him back, but he will break out this season. Brandon Hunter is the one player who didn't stick in the league. He is still playing in Europe and may catch on with a team in the NBA yet.
In Danny's second draft, he picked up 4 players. Al Jefferson with the 15th pick could very well be the steal of the draft. Delonte West has proven to be a tough player who can play both guard positions and seems to be requested in many of the trade rumors. Tony Allen was on the verge of becoming a star before he went down with the torn ACL. I expect him to pick up where he left off this season. Justin Reed is tough player who just landed in Houston. He will be a role player in the league for a long time because he plays solid defense and will play whatever role is required of him.
Danny's third draft resulted in Gerald Green with the 18th pick, Ryan Gomes with the 50th pick and Orien Greene with the 52nd pick. Green has improved a great deal over his first 2 seasons and has just scratched the surface of where he can go with his talent. He is a coveted player in many of the trade scenarios. Gomes may just be the steal of this draft with the 50th pick. He is a steady and solid player who doesn't make many mistakes on the floor. He is gong to be around for a long time in the league. Greene didn't work out in Boston but is a back up PG for the Pacers.
In Danny's 4th draft, he traded away our pick for Telfair, but he still managed to come up with two very talented players. Rajon Rondo with the 21st pick may be the steal of this draft when all is said and done. He is going to be a top PG in the league with a little more experience. Leon Powe didn't get much playing time last season, but he is a great kid, a hard worker and he can play in this league. I expect him to be around a long time.
We may have missed out on the top 2 picks who are expected to be sure things, but if we can find another Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wade, or Vince Carter with the 5th pick, it won't be so bad missing out on them. The reason that missing out on Duncan hurt so badly was that we were left with nothing from that draft. Billups was traded after only half a season and Mercer didn't work out. This is a deep draft by all accounts and if history is any guide, we should be able to come away with a star-quality player from this draft.