All of that success can be traced back to one man. Reggie Lewis took over at Small Forward, having his breakout season (18 ppg, 5 trb, and 2 apg). Bias, the former University of Maryland star, died from a cocaine overdose less than 48 hours after being drafted second overall by the Celtics in the 1986 NBA Draft. Len was a highly athletic small forward who gained notoriety due to his legendary duels with North Carolina’s explosive young guard, Michael Jordan. Celtics’ General Manager Danny Ainge’s criticism of how the Celtics’ dynasty of the 1980’s came crashing down in the early 90’s does not tell the whole story. Parish 17.5 10.6 2.2 1.8 bpg Most pointed to Detroit’s heralded defense as the reason, but Bird looked slower than usual (even for himself). Would Bias have extended Bird and McHale’s careers? Len Bias had already signed an endorsement deal with Boston area sneaker company Reebok and Larry Bird himself was going to pick him up from Logan Airport & bring him to Hellenic College were the Celtics trained. 2 pick is likely a bad deal for all, Celtics' Marcus Smart pens account of his tumultuous 2019-20 season. The Supersonics won the second overall pick through the Draft Lottery which allowed Maryland star small forward, Len Bias, to fall into the Celtics lap. By: Justin Quinn. In case you didn't follow the NBA much in the 90s, Lewis was one of the most dangerous scorers in the league back then. Two days after Boston drafted the 6’8″ specimen, Bias died from a cocaine overdose. Winning their 3rd NBA title, these Boston Celtics were a model of teamwork. Most of the '90s were absolutely miserable for the Celtics as they became a perennial lottery team once the Big Three left town and went on to acquire a bunch of average talent. While he might have fallen two games shy from his preseason goals of scoring over 20 points per game, making his first NBA All-Star game and taking his Boston Celtics to the 2020 NBA Finals, All-NBA swingman Jayson Tatum made it very clear for the world to see that he'd arrived as a force in the NBA at the Disney restart bubble. Lewis was pronounced dead, and yet another young Celtic had passed away. Following the loss, K.C Jones decided to retire from coaching, so the Celtics hired rookie coach Jimmy Rodgers. He would’ve played and defended multiple positions and with his work ethic, unselfishness, shooting touch, court vision, passing ability, speed and athleticism he would have brought a new dimension to the Celtics’ offensive & defensive game plans. He led the Celtics with back-to-back 20 ppg seasons and averaged 28 per game during the '92 playoffs. Before drafting Bias, the Celtics had won the NBA championship 3 out of the last 6 years. Bias could have prolonged the careers of those Hall-of-Famers and then taken over as "The Man" and carried the C's to additional championships in the 1990s. He wasn’t sweating profusely or overworking himself, but there he collapsed. Credit: The Clutch, Basketball Digital Magazine, Top 10 Greatest Canadian Players In NBA History, Top 5 NBA Stars That Have A Passion For Gambling, The 2020 NBA Finals Are Set: Miami Heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers, The Most Dramatic Playoff Series In NBA History, Top 5 Best NBA Finals Matchups We Want To See This Season, 4 Reasons What Makes The Los Angeles Clippers Such A Standout Team, NBA Players We Should Be Excited To See During The NBA Return, 5 Players With The Most Defensive Player Of The Year Award, The 5 Biggest Favorites For The 2020 NBA Finals, Top 5 Biggest Favorites For The 2020 NBA Championship, Boston Celtics: The Tragic Deaths Of Len Bias And Reggie Lewis. At 210 lbs. Some NBA scouts touted him as the next Michael Jordan. This site is neither endorsed, nor sponsored by, nor affiliated with Boston Celtics or NBA Properties LLC. Have we been thinking of Gordon Hayward's next contract the wrong way? He was only 22 years old. By: Justin Quinn. They had the draft picks, the talent, but not everything works out like it should. For Boston though, Bias’ death was the beginning of the end. Reggie Lewis, who collapsed during an off-season practice in 1993, died from sudden cardiac death at the age of 27. Last Year in College Len Bias even used to outshine a young Michael Jordan back when he played for North Carolina. He was drafted #2 overall by the defending NBA champions, the Boston Celtics. Let that fact marinate. So on June 17th, 1986, the Celtics used the Sonics second overall pick to draft All-American Len Bias out of Maryland. They were a juggernaut on defense and a well-oiled machine on offense. McHale missed the first month the following season (1988) due to surgery on his foot. Len Bias was going to a veteran team with a great coach in K.C. Unfortunately, the Celtics, who had won it all in 1986 over the Los Angeles Lakers, failed to claim another title in the '80s and Bird and McHale were forced into retirement in the early '90s due to injury. But the loss of Bias and the breaking down of Bird and McHale weren't the only reasons for the team's demise. The Celtics already boasted a talent-heavy lineup that was in their prime, including a 30-year old Bird, 29-year old McHale, and 27-year old Danny Ainge. Four years later, basketball prodigy James Bias, 20, was shot and, later, died in the same hospital as his brother Len Bias. Should the Celtics try moving up to take Obi Toppin in the 2020 Draft? It looked like he was going to score 50 points, then suddenly, without a moment’s notice Reggie fell to his knees at half court. Elite basketball players Reggie Lewis, Hank Gathers, Len Bias and Fab Melo all died from heart attacks in their 20s. Who knows if the Celtics would have won stolen any titles from the Bulls, but they just might have beaten Hakeem Olajuwon's Houston Rockets in both '94 and '95 while Jordan was playing baseball. The 1981–82 Dunbar Poets finished the season at 29–0 during Lewis' junior season and finished 31–0 during his senior season, and were ranked first in the nation by USA Today. Bone spurs has developed the season prior, and would require season-ending surgery to remove. Celtics All-Star guard Reggie Lewis died of cardiac arrest in 1993 at the young age of 27. Re: If Reggie Lewis & Len Bias had lived... Post #3 » by JordansBulls » Thu May 12, 2016 3:30 am I think Reggie Lewis is more interesting, but in the first place I am not sure they should have gotten Bias, I mean they got the #2 pick when they were already in the finals 3 years in a … What could have been had Len Bias and Reggie Lewis been able to play together on the Celtics? However, the team faltered against the “Bad Boy” Pistons stout (rough) defense, falling in the Eastern Conference Finals. In 1990, the Celtics fell to the Knicks in the first round, and in 1991, it was a second round exit to the Detroit Pistons. However, the following day Bias was found dead after overdosing on cocaine. Bird, McHale, Lewis, and Parish were playing at All-Star levels. Dennis Johnson was closing in on retirement, Parish was beyond his prime, and despite Bird returning from his surgery, he was just a shell of his former self.
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