Looking at recent NBA draft picks at No. 16

Looking at recent NBA draft picks at No. 16
June 26, 2013, 1:00 pm
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BOSTON — When the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen via separate trades in 2007, the team was transformed from a league laughingstock into a perennial NBA power.

But often what gets overlooked in the C's resurgence was the ability of the team's scouting department to take players whose NBA talent eventually trumped their NBA draft position.

Rajon Rondo was the No. 21 pick in the 2006 draft (acquired from Phoenix by Boston on a draft-night trade) and has been selected to more All-Star Games (four) than any player in his draft class. Avery Bradley landed in the Celtics' lap at No. 19 in 2010, and has already been named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team.

If you go back a few more years, you can throw former Celtic Kendrick Perkins (No. 27, 2003) into the mix of players selected by the C's who out-performed a number of players drafted ahead of him (anyone remember Ndudi Ebi? Zoran Planinic?). There was also a trio of overachieving Celtics draft picks in 2004: Al Jefferson (No. 15, 2004), Delonte West (No. 24, 2004) and Tony Allen (No. 25, 2004).

That's why the C's having the No. 16 pick in Thursday's draft -- their highest selection since flipping some of the aforementioned players in 2007 in separate deals for Garnett and Allen -- is why the Celtics feel pretty good about landing a player that could help them now, or one who will potentially become an impact player down the road.

But over the years the No. 16 pick has been, as you might expect, a mixed bag of success and struggles.

Look no further than the last two players selected at that spot.

Last year's No. 16 pick was Royce White who did not play in a single game all season for Houston due to an assortment of anxiety-related issues. The Rockets assigned him to their Development League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, but he left the team prior to the post-season.

In 2011, Nikola Vucevic was scooped up by Philadelphia with the No. 16 pick and this past season was one of the league's most improved players.

As a rookie with Philadelphia, he averaged 5.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Good, but not good enough to keep him in the city of Brotherly Love. Vucevic was shipped to Orlando as part of the blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers and Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia.

In his first season with the Magic, Vucevic averaged 13.1 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.

Here's a list of some other sweet and not-so-sweet selections in recent years with the No. 16 pick.

2012: Royce White, Houston
There's a chance he may never play for Houston, or in the NBA for that matter.

2011: Nikola Vucevic, Philadelphia
One of seven players to average double digit points and rebounds last season.

2010: Luke Babbitt, Minnesota (trade to Portland)
NBA future very murky right now; did little in three seasons with Blazers.

2009: James Johnson, Chicago
Red flags are raised when a first-round pick is traded twice in three seasons.

2008: Marreese Speights, Philadelphia
Solid pro who seems to have found his niche as a reliable role player.

2007: Nick Young, Washington
Became the latest Wizards player to thrive in new surroundings (Philadelphia).

2006: Rodney Carney, Chicago (traded to Philadelphia)
Keeping the pro dream alive most recently in the Turkish Basketball League.

2005: Joey Graham, Toronto
Hope that aviation management degree came in handy as he quickly flew in and out of the NBA.

2004: Kirk Snyder, Utah
Summary: Example of why too much stock put into NCAA tourney play is never a good idea.

2003: Troy Bell, Boston (traded to Memphis)
Former Boston College star has played for nearly a dozen teams overseas since 2004.

2002: Jiri Welsch, Philadelphia (traded to Golden State)
Best season as a pro came with the Celtics in 2004 when he averaged 9.2 points per game.

2001: Kirk Haston, Charlotte
Never developed into the zone-breaking big man Charlotte envisioned.

2000: Hedo Turkoglu, Sacramento
Reminded some of Tony Kukoc because of his ball-handling skills as a 6-foot-10 forward.