Thursday, June 26, 2003
It's unrealistic to expect Ainge to unearth a point guard at 16 or 20 that will turn around his team's fortunes next season. Don't expect him to tag the next Dirk Nowitzki, because players of that caliber simply don't fall through the cracks anymore.
The last time Boston had a draft pick of any lasting importance was in 1998, when Paul Pierce slipped all the way into the laps of the Celtics at 10. He has been making the teams that passed on him pay ever since (MacMullan, Boston Globe).
This was a great night! I was living in Cambridge at the time with two buddies: Chico and Meaney. We did not have cable. We thought it was too expensive and living in Boston we got the major channels anyway (we were all only a year out of college with no money). I was pumped up for this draft. The Celtics were on their way back, so I thought, with Pitino and Walker coming into his own. Meaney and I went out searching for a bar that was carrying the draft. After checking every establishment on and around Mass Ave. from Central to Harvard Square, we finally found the draft on at Whitney's Café.
For those of you that have never been to Whitney’s, it is a smoky, locals, dive bar in the heart of Harvard Square. (It amazes me that with all of the commercial development in Harvard Square that Whitney’s is still around. My beloved, Bow & Arrow Pub, fell victim when it should have been Whitney’s!) Meaney and I, of course, get “the look” when we enter. (“The look” is when regulars at a local establishment stare at you and their eyes say “what the hell are you boys doing? This is my bar.”) We order, get the last two seats and then get focused on the draft. We missed the first pick but it was no real surprise the Clippers picked the Candi Man. Vancouver went with Bibby, which was kind of a surprise, but not huge. Then I got more occupied with the chain smoker to my right. My coughing every other second took my attention away from picks three through six. Usually, I might leave or find another seat when this occurs. Neither was an option tonight until after the C’s picked.
I asked Meaney for an update as he finished, White Chocolate was taken by the Kings. I said to Meaney, “Is Pierce still out there? Most had him in the top three.” Then it occurred to me that since Milwaukee already had Ray Allen, if Philly does not take Pierce with the next pick then Paul would fall to the Celtics. I started to feel like I did years ago on Christmas Eve. Knowing you were going to get something nice, but almost bursting with anticipation of the possibility of receiving the perfect gift. I keep annoying Meaney by saying “Pierce is going to fall” over and over again until…
Philly picked Larry Hughes, Guard from St. Louis. Immediately after that announcement, I yelled “yes!” in the bar and grabbed/pushed Meaney’s shoulder a few hundred or less times. I was sure that the C’s were going to get the biggest steal in the draft! Perhaps, the biggest steal since some guy named Red drafted a skinny white kid from Minnesota to play basketball instead of hockey. When the C’s made their selection, I got the perfect Christmas gift that year. I am hoping that Danny, the former Blue Jay, pulls off a similar feat tonight.