The Boston Celtics had two first-round picks in the 2012 NBA draft, and neither of them were used to select Draymond Green, a transcendent two-way force who’s single-handedly proving how influential a defender can be.
This was a mistake, but isn’t one anyone can fault the Celtics for making when 28 other teams did the exact same thing. The Golden State Warriors eventually snatched Green up in the second round (as their third pick of the draft), and the rest is history.
But at this year’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, former Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine revealed that the team’s assistant general manager, Mike Zarren, once had Green ranked third on his draft board. Instead, Boston selected Jared Sullinger at 21 and Fab Melo at 22.
Brian Scalabrine just told the Sloan audience Celtics assistant GM Mike Zarren had Draymond Green ranked 3rd on his big board in 2012.
When he isn’t hurt/out of shape, Sullinger is one of the better rebounders in the entire league. He can shoot, pass, defend and has tremendous touch around the basket. Melo, on the other hand, has already washed out of the league.
The draft is a total crap shoot, and the Celtics would’ve been just as wise to select Khris Middleton, Will Barton, Festus Ezeli or Jae Crowder before Melo. But at the time, one of their top areas of need was rim protection, and adding an athletic seven-footer made sense.
Green isn’t seven feet tall, but his wingspan, intuition and versatility have shifted how NBA talent evaluators weigh the prospects they’re measuring.
Zarren was ahead of the curve, but, unfortunately, he didn’t have final say.