The 2018-19 season certainly didn't end well for the Celtics, but an important thing to remember is that it could always be worse. The notorious Twitter account Old Takes Exposed reminded us all how true that sentiment can be Sunday.
Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery, where the Celtics owned the second-best odds to land the top pick, and generational prospect Tim Duncan. As we know, the Spurs ended up winning while the Celtics fell to the third overall pick.
Duncan was the ultimate prize in 1997, so losing the lottery was a tough blow to a Celtics franchise that needed a reason for hope after the end of the Larry Bird era and the tragic passing of Reggie Lewis.
Boston ultimately made out well by selecting future Hall of Fame point guard Chauncey Billups, but Duncan was on another level as a prospect.
At the time, a Buffalo News column claimed that the Celtics had something better than Tim Duncan; newly hired head coach Rick Pitino.
Happy 22nd Anniversary. Celtics lost the Tim Duncan lottery to the Spurs, but they had something better... pic.twitter.com/yU9znJGFjb— Freezing Cold Takes (@OldTakesExposed) May 19, 2019
Pitino was hired after winning a National Championship with the University of Kentucky, but his six-year run in Boston was not nearly as successful. He posted a 192-220 record as head coach, traded Billups during his rookie season along with Dee Brown for Kenny Anderson, Popeye Jones and Zan Tabak. Not great.
And of course, there was the famous, "Not walking through that door," rant.
Pitino at least drafted Celtics legend Paul Pierce, but his tenure as the team's head coach is one of the darker spots in the franchise's history.
Duncan went on to win five championships with the Spurs and leaves a legacy as arguably the best power forward of all time.
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