9. Red Auerbach exploited every angle in the system to construct many of the Celtics’ great teams.
Bill Belichick was still a snot-nosed kid in Annapolis, Md., when Auerbach basically invented the practice of stockpiling draft picks and making roster maneuvers nobody understood at the time. There were the straightforward deals, like the highway robbery he pulled on the Warriors in 1980 by swapping two first-round picks for Robert Parish and Golden State’s first-rounder, which Auerbach used on Kevin McHale. There were also shadier dealings, like the time Walter Brown promised to send the Ice Capades to Rochester if that city’s team, the Royals, did not take college megastar Bill Russell with the first overall pick in the 1956 draft. Auerbach also nabbed some of the franchise’s greatest players through the now-defunct dispersal (Bob Cousy) and territorial (Tom Heinsohn) drafts.