Danny Ainge is one of the savviest executives in the NBA, however, there is one area of his tenure that involves plenty of debate among fans: His track record at the NBA Draft. Just how well has Ainge done with his drafting as a whole over the past 17 years in Boston? In order to get a better sense of his body of work, I teamed up with BSJ contributor Ryan Bernardoni to look closely at Ainge’s 47 draft night selections since 2003.
Bernardoni and I teamed up to rank all of Ainge’s selections from top-to-bottom over the past two decades. We considered each player’s stats, pick positioning, and performance, focused primarily on the time played with the Celtics.
While there will be plenty of compelling choices to choose from at the top of the rankings, there was no shortage of duds in the mix for the bottom of these rankings. You can check out Part I and Part II. Without further ado, let’s get to Part 3: a closer look at the current crop of rookies.
30. Brandon Hunter (No. 56 pick in 2003 NBA Draft): The Ohio product actually managed to start 12 games in his rookie year for Boston despite being a late second-round pick. He failed to make much of an impression however as the Celtics left him unprotected in the 2004 expansion draft. The Bobcats selected him and traded him to Orlando for Keith Bogans before the season even began. The Magic cut him loose after one year, leaving him to pursue a lengthy overseas career. Not exactly much to write home about here, but still better than most second-round picks in this range.
29. Orien Greene (No. 53 pick in 2005 NBA Draft): Another late second-round pick that turned into a rotation player in his rookie season! Greene’s role grew under Doc Rivers after the C’s blew up the roster and traded away Marcus Banks at midseason to the Wolves and lost other backup Dan Dickau to a season-ending injury. Greene played 80 games while primarily backing up Delonte West and the results were not promising, shooting 39.5 percent from the field and averaging just 3.2 points per game. The point guard was waived in the offseason after his rookie year and was subsequently claimed by the Pacers. He lasted just 51 more games in the NBA over the next three seasons, before bouncing between the G-League and overseas teams.
28. Lester Hudson (No. 58 in 2009 NBA Draft): The undersized guard lasted four seasons in the NBA, although just half of his rookie year in Boston. The title-contending C’s were deep into the luxury tax during the 2009-10 season and elected to waive Hudson in January 2010 before his contract fully guaranteed for the year. That opened the door for some more veteran help that was acquired in the weeks to come. Hudson went on to play for five more NBA teams but only played a total of 57 games in his NBA career. He’s still playing at age 35, suiting up in the Chinese Basketball Association for the last four years.
27. Luke Harangody (No. 52 in 2011 NBA Draft): The 6-foot-8 power forward was a double-double machine for Notre Dame in college but a lack of height and athleticism kept his offense sputtering on the NBA level. He shot an ugly 37 percent from the field during his two NBA seasons and the 3-point shot (24 percent) never translated either. The Celtics did manage to snag a second-round pick for him midway through his rookie season when he was traded away to the Cavs with Semih Erden in order to up roster spots for buyout veterans. The 32-year-old has played overseas since the 2014 season.
26. Carsen Edwards (No. 33 in 2019 NBA Draft)
25. Romeo Langford (No. 14 in 2019 NBA Draft)
24. Tremont Waters (No. 51 in 2019 NBA Draft)
23. Grant Williams (No. 22 in 2019 NBA Draft)
It’s not really fair to rank draft picks in the midst of their rookie seasons so we will put the C’s current crop