Eighteen teams over 27 picks passed on Tony Parker in the 2001 NBA draft before the Spurs selected him with the final pick of the first round.
Parker – all due respect to Pau Gasol – became the best player in that draft. A four-time NBA champion, four-time All-NBA player and six-time All-Star, Parker has had an incredible career.
There are a lot of teams kicking themselves today.
Nobody passed on him more than the Celtics, who held the Nos. 10, 11 and 21 picks. They used those first two picks on Joe Johnson and Kedrick Brown, and then-Boston general manager Chris Wallace – who now runs the Grizzlies – knew what to do next.
Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com:
Boston, as Auerbach desired, drafted Joe Forte.
That devilish Red Auerbach – always costing the Celtics championships. Will Boston fans ever forgive him?
By the way, why do we never hear about that time a GM really wanted a prospect who didn’t pan out but was ultimately talked out of it?