Lesson #1: There Are No Franchise-Changing Players In This Year’s Draft
Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge already hinted as much a few weeks ago in an interview with Baxter Holmes, but at the time people didn’t know whether Trader Danny was being legit or simply trying to mask his intentions. Now that the Big Dance has ended, it’s pretty safe to say Ainge was being honest: there are no game-changing players entering this year’s draft. As of right now, it would appear that the hype that preceded the start of the 2013-2014 NCAA men’s basketball season was greater than the reality . . . which, if we’re being honest, is usually the case.
Does that mean there’s no reason to be excited about this year’s draft? Come on – don’t bring that weak stuff to my house. There are future All-Stars waiting to have their name called on draft day in this bunch, and the Celtics are virtually guaranteed to land one, unless someone in the front office loses his mind (or has the brilliant idea of trading a first-round pick and a few players for, I don’t know, Kevin Love). Still, there are no players who are going to lead a lottery team to the playoffs next season – no Bill Russells, Magic Johnsons, Larry Birds, Tim Duncans, or Kevin Durants in this mix. Heck, there is not even a player on the level of Anthony Davis, who was clearly the best player in the country as a freshman and was all but destined to win a national championship that year.
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Marcus Smart? Sent home the first weekend. My boy Julius Randle? Good tournament, but he wasn’t transcendent, especially in the championship game against a UCONN team that I felt he could overpower. Frank Kaminsky? An intriguing surprise who was completely neutralized by Kentucky and seems a bit soft for someone his size. I could go on, but the bottom line is this: if the Boston Celtics are looking to land a player who can almost single-handedly make the difference between being a lottery team and being a playoff team, they are guilty of over-valuing this crop of prospects.