The 2006 draft started Danny Ainge on a rise to front office glory. This of course culminated in being the 2007 – 2008 NBA Executive of the Year. That award was largely based upon the 2007 draft in which, after dropping to the 5th pick, the Celtics parlayed a Ray Allen deal into the acquisition of Kevin Garnett.
It can be argued that the upward swing of the entire franchise started back in June of 2006. This is when Ainge acquired University of Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo (and Brian Grant from the Phoenix Suns). The Rondo pick was the 21st of the 2006 draft. That means there were 20 players which teams deemed for valuable. The only pick that might have been equally impressive was the Trailblazer’s selection of Brandon Roy in the number 6 spot.
Not everybody saw Rondo’s game advancing this far, this fast.
Take for example Matt Watson from FanHouse. In August of 2007, Watson wrote:
I don’t want to completely disparage Rajon Rondo — the kid definitely has some upside…
Yeah, I’d say he has cashed in on that bit of “upside”. But it is true that tor a time it seemed that no move Ainge made would work out. That was especially the case at point guard.
Now all of the early struggles seem so far behind him. If an Ainge team can win another championship it puts him in rarefied air in this day and age.