No. 3: Red Auerbach secures Robert Parish and drafts Kevin McHale at No. 3 with a deal with the Warriors
The incredible basketball mind of Auerbach struck again. This deal was a process over a year in the making. With Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo’s lack of excitement to be in a Boston Celtics uniform, Auerbach sent him to Detroit in exchange for two first-round picks which later became the No. 1 selection in the 1980 NBA Draft. The deal was merely put together as compensation for Boston signing M.L. Carr, a former Piston off waivers to rebuild the ball club’s defense.
With Larry Bird now in the driver’s seat of this franchise, and Bill Fitch leading the team on the sideline, Auerbach was well on his way to bringing the Cs back to the NBA Finals. What he did with that No. 1 overall pick would kickstart Boston’s Eastern Conference dominance in the 1980s. The Celtics sent that pick to Golden State, and another first-round selection in exchange for Robert Parish, and the No. 3 selection in the draft. Without Dave Cowens in the middle of the paint anymore, Boston needed a punisher inside.
Parish became that man. The center completely turned his career around on the east coast, moving from a disinterested big man out west to a vital piece of the C’s championship puzzle. Boston played the mind games, and the Warriors fell right into their trap.
The story goes that the Cs actually liked University of Minnesota forward Kevin McHale more than the consensus No. 1 pick Joe Barry Carroll. Golden State took the Purdue big man and ignited the fire of another Boston dynasty. McHale and Parish would combine for 16 All-Star Game appearances with Carroll only getting the nod once.
Carroll’s career often gets slandered due to his obvious disinterest in playing for the California side, but he ended up piecing together a solid 11-year professional career. The only problem was he will consistently be compared to two guys that are in the Hall of Fame.