Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas sports his game face as he represents his team during the NBA draft lottery at New York Hilton Midtown. The Philadelphia 76ers received the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)
Isaiah Thomas might not have brought home one of the top two picks in the NBA draft but he did bring a little perspective.
In the wake of missing out on the top two picks in the NBA draft, it was the Celtics good luck charm of a point guard who, after sitting in the conference room of the Midtown Hilton in Manhattan, reminded everyone that a very good player can still be had at No. 3.
“Man, the No. 3 pick. Wasn’t Jordan No. 3? Say no more after that,” Thomas told Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com.
Indeed, Michael Jordan was selected third overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 draft.
What, of course, remains to be seen is how the 2016 class compares with the ’84 class, which featured three hall of famers in the top five picks. Hakeem Olajuwon went first overall to the Houston Rockets. Sam Bowie was selected second by Portland. Jordan went third to the Bulls, followed by Sam Perkins to Dallas and Charles Barkley to Philadelphia. Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley are all enshrined in Springfield.
How deep was that class? Another hall of famer, John Stockton, was taken 16th overall by Utah. There’s also recent results to suggest that you don’t have to land the top two picks to come away with a haul.
In 2009, Steph Curry was taken seventh overall by the Warriors. In 2012, when the Celtics chose Jared Sullinger 21st and Fab Melo 22nd, the Cavaliers selected Jae Crowder 34th followed by Draymond Green, who went 35th to Golden State.
“The stories in my life usually work out on the side nobody thinks they’re going to work out on,” Thomas said. “When we got picked to go over their and be one of the [top] three picks, I could’ve sworn we were going to get the No. 1 pick. But I’m happy with what we got and hopefully we can work around that.”
Coming out of the TV timeout before the final three picks were announced, cameras caught Thomas with an unusually fierce look on his face as the moment of truth arrived.
“Man, I was just trying to get my inner-Brad Stevens on,” Thomas said. “Trying to be even-keeled, show ’em no emotion, whether it was good or bad and go from there. It worked for the most part, other than the last little moment being up there with other two teams. I shed a little smile because I thought we were going to get the No. 1 pick.”