Well, the Celtics brass is at it again. We've seen this play out for the last three years. First it was Kedrick Brown who got "the promise." Nobody heard of him till the Celtics promised him a first round selection and asked him to not work out for other clubs. It worked; the C's got their man and promptly stashed him on the bench for 3 years. They took the next year off, but last year doubled up on the promises by letting Marcus Banks know well in advance that he'd be their pick and assured Kendrick Perkins that he wouldn't slide past them. They even needed to trade up to get Marcus, but still got their man child Perkins as he slid down the board with the later pick received in the trade.
Now Chad Ford of ESPN Insider is reporting that the Celtics are looking set to take high schooler Al Jefferson with one of their picks, perhaps using the number 15 pick to do it. He sites the C's need for a post player and Leo Papile's connections with the H.S. circuit.
So what is the problem? Even if Kedrick didn't pan out and the book is still out on the others, how can you argue with results? Both times they got the guys they wanted.
The first issue I have with it is the lack of secrecy. In any competition, there are severe drawbacks to letting the opposition know your game plan. In this case, Chad Ford seems to know what the Celtics are doing well in advance of the draft. The problem therein is that its Chad's job to announce that information to the world (or at least those suckers like me willing to pay for Insider). Do you think the Patriots would have as much success in the NFL draft if Mel Kiper announced to the world who they had locked into weeks and months before the draft? No, other teams would use that information to position themselves benefit from that information.
The other issue I have is lack of flexibility. If you have promised a kid (and his agent) that you will select him, you are giving your word. True, that isn't worth much these days, but in dealing with agents, it could be worth millions. Reneging on a promise would most assuredly come back to bite you later. The agent would make sure that future prospects knew what you did. Not good. So you are locked in. Last year, we had two picks in the first round, but when Maciej Lampe started to slip from top 5 to second round, there wasn't a thing we could do about it. Who knows how good that kid could be? What if the Celtics had promised some player like Michael Doleac or Keon Clark that they would be their selection in 1998? We would never have the privilege of watching Paul Pierce lead our team.
So will Al Jefferson get "the promise?" He may already have gotten it. We can be sure that Chad will tell us all about it when it happens. I'd like to know who the mole is in the Celtics organization that keeps telling him what is happening.
I guess it could all work out for the best. A lineup of Banks, Pierce, Davis, Jefferson, and LaFrentz/Perkins sounds like it could develop nicely. The question would be how long before they gel? Certainly not next year, maybe not even the year after that. I guess we're in for a long wait. Except of course when talking about who the C's will draft. As usual, there's no need to wait on that.