7 Stars the Celtics missed drafting by a single pick

The Celtics narrowly missed on drafting these All-Stars.
Boston Celtics, Tim Hardaway Sr.
Boston Celtics, Tim Hardaway Sr. / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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2. Willis Reed

Boston was searching for a center in the 1964 NBA Draft. Bill Russell was their starter, but he had just turned 30 and been an All-Star seven times in eight years.

The Celtics used the ninth pick to take Mel Counts out of Oregon State. He backed up Russell for two years where Boston won two championships before being traded for Bailey Howell in 1966. Counts played 12 years in the league but earned over 20 minutes per game just four times. He was a strong role player, but there was a star waiting.

Reed was instantly one of the best big men in the league and had some epic battles against Russell in the playoffs. The Knicks center was an All-Star in each of his first seven NBA seasons. He took over as the best big man in the league when Russell retired in 1969. Reed won MVP in 1970 and two championships in four years.

The Celtics could have had both big men on their roster if they chose Willis Reed over Mel Counts in 1964. Reed’s career was cut short by injuries, but the Hall of Famer was named one of the 75 best players in league history for their 75th anniversary. Boston certainly missed on this one.