Heading down memory lane, we explore and break down nine players that the Boston Celtics seemed to have given up on too soon.
Admittedly, it’s hard to critique the Boston Celtics on many things throughout the history of its franchise. The historic Celtics franchise has won 17 NBA championships, tied for most in NBA history with, as you would expect, the Los Angeles Lakers. Boston also has the most recorded wins of any NBA team in history.
While the Celtics have been one of the model franchises in NBA history, it’s not like they’ve gotten everything right either. Over the course of their history, there have been times when they’ve either missed on star talent or given up on some of it entirely too quickly.
Here are 9 players the Boston Celtics gave up on way too soon
1. Chauncey Billups – Traded in 1998
I’m willing to bet that there are many NBA fans out there that didn’t even know the Boston Celtics drafted Chauncey Billups with the third overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. However, after getting off to a rough start during his rookie season, the Celtics elected to trade the rookie to the Toronto Raptors for Kenny Anderson, Popeye Jones, and Zan Tabak.
It’s a trade that will go down as one of the worst swaps in Celtics history as Billups, as we know it now, would go on to win an NBA Championship in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons in which he won Finals MVP. He was also a five-time all-star throughout the course of his career.
“Big Shot Billups” would also go on to emerge as one of the best big-time players during the 2000s. You can only help but wonder how different the decade goes for the Celtics if they don’t give up on Billups too early and are able to pair him up with Paul Pierce who they drafted in 1998 (less than six months after Billups was traded).