Picture
Fresh off of a season that saw the Boston Celtics finish with a record of 24-58, Danny Ainge once again found himself in the lottery. After receiving the 7th overall pick the previous year, the ping pong balls bounced better for Boston in the 2007 lottery. Ainge and Co. were awarded the 5th overall pick of the draft and it was that pick that would change the Celtics' fate for years to come. Let's take a look at how it all unfolded. 

Picture
Draft: 2007
Picks: (1)5, (2)32

(1)5. Jeff Green, SF/PF Georgetown

With the 5th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics selected Jeff Green, a 6'9 forward out of Georgetown University.

In college, Green was one of the best players in the Big East simply because he could do a little bit of everything, sort of a jack of all trades but a master of none. For his career he averaged 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game. 

As soon as Jeff stepped on the Georgetown campus he was ready to make a large impact on the basketball court. By the end of his freshman year he had achieved marks of 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.0 steals in 33.8 minutes per game. Those numbers were good enough to net him a share of the Big East Rookie of the Year, an honor that he shared with UCONN star, Rudy Gay. But Green wasn't done there. 

After a solid sophomore season, Green really turned it on in his third year. He dominated in the Big East Tournament, scoring 30 points against Notre Dame and another 21 against Pittsburgh in the title game, giving the Hoyas their first Big East championship since 1989. Because of his efforts, Green was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. But as far as Green was concerned, his Hoyas were only getting started. The junior wingman continued his dominance in the NCAA Tournament and ultimately lead Georgetown to their first Final Four since 1985. Despite getting bounced by Greg Oden's Buckeyes, Green received the 2007 Big East Player of the year award to help ease the pain. 

Green's illustrious college career and high ceiling were more than enough to make him a top-5 pick. Danny Ainge would have been crazy not to take Green here and whether he kept him or flipped him, Green would only impact the Celtics in a positive way. Unfortunately for Green, he helped bring the city of Boston great success, except he wasn't a part of it. On draft night, Ainge traded Jeff Green's draft rights, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and a 2008 second-round pick to Seattle for Ray Allen and the draft rights to Glen "Big Baby" Davis. 

Picture
(2)32. Gabe Pruitt, PG USC

Much like Green, Gabe Pruitt stayed in school for just three-years. At USC, Pruitt averaged 13.8 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per game for his career but it was in his sophomore year that he started to make a name for himself.

In 2005-06, his second year in school, Pruitt averaged 16.9 points per game all while converting on 38.5% of his three point attempts, hitting 131 threes total. He also posted career highs in rebounds per game (4.0) and steals per game (2.2). Because of his outstanding performance, Pruitt was named to the All-PAC 10 First team, the only time he would ever earn the honor. 

Despite Pruitt's exceptional play, he never really had the talent around him to make a deep tournament run. In fact, he only made one trip to the NCAA tournament (2006-07) where his Trojans were bounced in the Sweet Sixteen. Although he never won a tournament or NCAA title, Pruitt made sure his name was etched in the school's record books before he left. He is currently ranked 10th all-time in three pointers made and he holds the record for most threes made through his first two seasons. Because of his great ability to shoot the ball, Gabe Pruitt also became the 32nd player to score 1,000 points at USC and he is 27th all-time in points scored as he finished his career with 1,102 points. 

Because of his ability to score the ball and his small experience as a leader, Ainge thought he would make for a solid back-up to Rajon Rondo, which is why Pruitt was selected in the first place.

Summary

Believe it or not, this was one of the most instrumental drafts in Celtics history. The selection of Jeff Green was imperative because without him the Cs wouldn't have had the necessary means to acquire Ray Allen. Once the Celtics netted Allen, the duo of Paul Pierce and Allen was enough to lure Kevin Garnett to Boston. As a result, the Big Three Era began and in their very first season together, the trio earned the franchise's 17th NBA title. 

Gabe Pruitt wasn't much of a help when he was in green and white but he had his moments. Other possibilities at the 32 spot could have been Marc Gasol or even Ramon Sessions. Ainge went with Pruitt though and he never had any reason to regret the pick. After they won a championship the USC product averaged a little over 8 minutes per game the following season but in 2009 the Celtics decided to waive Pruitt. Since the Celtics let him go, Pruitt has yet to return to the NBA. 

Like I said, this draft is essentially what allowed the Celtics to return to their winning ways. Danny Ainge ended up winning then and he also comes out a winner now since he was able to get Jeff Green back in a trade with Oklahoma City. Green will serve as the heir apparent to Paul Pierce and will also become the team's go to option on the offensive end of the floor. Kevin Garnett has even said that he thinks Green has the ability to become one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Pretty high praise from the future Hall of Famer. 

Grade: A

 


Comments


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.


Leave a Reply