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NBA draft prospect profile: Kansas PF/C Cheick Diallo

06.14.16 at 12:41 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

CHEICK DIALLO

Position: Power forward/center

School: Kansas

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Sept. 13)

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 219 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-4

Key 2015-16 stats: 3.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.9 blocks

Scouting report: There is a lot of mystery surrounding Diallo, who was ranked as the No. 7 recruit in ESPN’s top 100 but only played one season of college ball. The native of Mali was cleared to play for Kansas on Dec. 1 after being suspended for the first five games following a six-month NCAA investigation that concluded Diallo had received limited benefits but was academically eligible. Then he averaged only 7 1/2 minutes per game.

Due to the lack of tape on Diallo, he had to give a good showing at last month’s NBA combine. Scouts who saw Diallo at the combine were impressed with his raw athleticism and high motor. In the five-on-five portion of the combine Diallo made an impression by recording 18 points, four rebounds and four blocked shots in 22 minutes in his first scrimmage, then recording nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in his second game. At times, however, it looked like Diallo was still trying to figure out his role on the court. Diallo’s combine performance was good enough to have him projected to go in the middle to late first round. The downside to Diallo is that he will most likely need time to develop given the fact that he just started playing basketball six years ago and has limited college basketball experience. 

Notes: Diallo first started playing basketball in 2010 and arrived in the United States in 2012 to play basketball at Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York. … He was MVP of the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game.

Related articles:

Denver Post: After playing sparingly at KU, Cheick Diallo reintroducing himself in NBA workouts

SB Nation: Back on track: Look at Cheick Diallo’s Kansas struggles and resurgence as an NBA prospect

CBS Sports: Cheick Diallo didn’t play much at Kansas, but is off to the NBA draft

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Cheick Diallo,

Kevin Love wasn’t looking for a high-five from LeBron James, and here’s video proof

06.14.16 at 11:45 am ET
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I don’t know why I care about this, since I eviscerated Kevin Love this morning as a bad fit for the Celtics after another no-show performance in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday night, but there’s a widely shared Vine making the rounds that isn’t accurate.

You’ve probably seen it, but if not, here it is:

Looks pretty damning, right? Poor Kevin Love just wants LeBron to love him, and King James yells at him instead.

But what really happened was more pedestrian. One play earlier, Love looked slow on his defensive rotations, allowing an Andre Iguodala follow-up dunk, and LeBron let him know it, as you can see with the quick gesture.

So now watch the “denied five” in its entirety. Love isn’t looking for love. He’s pleading his case, like, “I had my hands up. What do you want from me?”


Of course, if you want to note that LeBron was being totally dismissive of Love and treating him like a JV teammate called up to the varsity for a day because someone was sick, that’s fair game.

But to say he refused a high five and that made Love sad is simply not true.

Read More: Cavaliers, Kevin Love, Kevin Love high five, LeBron James

Report: Timberwolves have interest in Jimmy Butler, Celtics may have more to offer

06.14.16 at 11:10 am ET
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Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

The Celtics might not be the only team that has strong interest in Jimmy Butler.

ESPN reported Monday night that the Timberwolves made it clear to the Bulls that they’re willing to give up the No. 5 overall pick in next week’s draft in a package deal for Butler, a player the Celtics are rumored to be interested in. Although the Bulls aren’t believed to be actively shopping the All-Star, sources say they have been listening to offers from other teams.

Butler, who turns 27 in September, would make sense for the Timberwolves, who recently got a new coach in Tom Thibodeau. Butler began his career under Thibodeau, who helped him become a big name in the league.

Although it seems the Timberwolves now have interest in the 2015 Most Improved Player, the Celtics may be able to offer more. The Celtics likely would have to give up the No. 3 pick and at least one front-line player. Sources also told ESPN that the Bulls have serious interest in Providence point guard Kris Dunn, and they likely would be able to secure him with the third overall selection in the draft.

Both the Celtics and the Timberwolves have plenty of young, promising players to intrigue the Bulls, but Boston might have the advantage by having the higher draft pick.

Butler told ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell last month that he wishes to remain a Bull and expects to be in Chicago once training camp gets underway.

“Yeah, I think so,” Butler said. “I do think that with the year that we did have last season — it’s unacceptable. … You can use whatever excuse you want to use, but we didn’t make the playoffs. That’s all anybody sees and that’s rightfully so. So do I think I’m going to be here? Yeah, I think so.”

Butler is coming off a season in which he averaged 20.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in 67 games. He’s a two-time All-Star and made the All-Defensive Team the last three years. However, the Bulls missed the playoffs with a 42-40 record, suggesting that Chicago isn’t the place where Butler can make a deep playoff run.

Read More: Celtics trade rumors, Jimmy Butler,

NBA draft prospect profile: Texas PG Isaiah Taylor

06.14.16 at 9:17 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

ISAIAH TAYLOR

Position: Point guard

School: Texas

Age: 21 (turns 22 on July 11)

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 170 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-3

Key 2015-16 statistics: 15.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 31.0 3-point percentage

Scouting report: On offense, Taylor is at his best in transition because of his lightning-quick speed and strong ball-handling. Taylor’s speed also helps him finish at the rim, which is helpful given his lack of a mid-range jumper. Taylor often will force difficult shots close to the rim, which shows his lack of confidence in his jump shot. In order to guard NBA players effectively on defense, Taylor will have to work on getting stronger.

Taylor’s statistics improved greatly under first-year Texas coach Shaka Smart — he led the team in scoring and assists — and many thought he would return to Austin for one more season to improve his game, but Taylor elected to go to the draft as a junior. Taylor is projected to go late in the second round or undrafted, but he is confident in his decision. 

“At the end of the year, I knew right away what I was doing,” Taylor told the Houston Chronicle. “There was no doubt.” 

Notes: Taylor was named to the All Big-12 first team this year after finishing the season with a 2.57 assist-to-turnover rate, which was third best all-time in Texas history. … Taylor was plagued with plantar fasciitis at the end of this past season. In 2014-15, he missed 10 games early in the season with a fractured wrist. … Taylor’s uncle, Terrell Lowery, played college basketball at Loyola Marymount and eventually went on to play professional baseball with the Cubs, Rays and Giants.

Related articles:

Houston Chronicle: As draft nears, Isaiah Taylor has no regrets about leaving UT early

The Daily Texan: Isaiah Taylor is not ready for NBA play

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Isaiah Taylor,

Report: Buddy Hield puts on a shooting clinic for Celtics in California, makes 85 of 100 3-pointers

06.13.16 at 4:21 pm ET
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Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield

Last week, Kentucky freshman and NBA draft hopeful Jamal Murray hit 79 out of 100 3-pointers during a shooting drill with Celtics coaches that was called an unofficial record for a potential draftee.

Turns out Buddy Hield’s competitiveness extends to workouts, because he reportedly one-upped Murray on Monday. According to ESPN draft insider Jeff Goodman, Hield shot 85-for-100 on 3’s in front of the Celtics brass during a workout in California.

Hield, an Oklahoma senior, is considered one of the best pure shooters in the draft, and he apparently showed it on Monday.

The Celtics hold the No. 3 pick in the draft and could consider either gunner in that spot. Murray is already on record that he considers himself the best player in the draft. For more on the decision between Murray and Hield, check out this recent edition of Celtics Choice.

And for more on draft rumors, be sure to follow our Green Street Celtics blog.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray

Report: Sixers prefer to trade Jahlil Okafor over Nerlens Noel

06.13.16 at 4:02 pm ET
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Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor

With the NBA draft 10 days away, the rumor mill continues to churn, with the latest report suggesting the Philadelphia 76ers have decided which big man they’d like to deal away — Jahlil Okafor.

According to Philly.com, the Sixers would rather deal Okafor than fellow youngster Nerlens Noel, because they feel they can get a better return for Okafor, who last year became their first rookie since Allen Iverson to lead the team in scoring.

Okafor is recovering from knee surgery and told a Duke podcast that he hopes to return to the court shortly.

The Sixers are expected to take LSU’s Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, adding another big man to a crowded young frontcourt. The Sixers chose Okafor No. 3 overall last year, and they acquired the rights to Noel after the Pelicans selected the Malden native with the sixth overall pick in 2013.

The Celtics were linked to Okafor at the trade deadline, but there are concerns over his fit in Boston, since he’s not a great rim protector and generally plays with his back to the basket. He averaged 17.5 points a game last year.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Celtics, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel

NBA draft prospect profile: Iowa SF/PF Jarrod Uthoff

06.13.16 at 3:55 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

JARROD UTHOFF

Position: Small forward/power forward

School: Iowa

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 214 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists

Scouting report: Uthoff’s name started getting mentioned in NBA draft talk after a strong senior season, in which he helped guide Iowa to its highest national ranking in almost 30 years (No. 3) and a third consecutive NCAA tournament berth. Some scouts attribute Uthoff’s success to Iowa’s system, but many believe his shooting ability will transfer to the NBA. Playing primarily small forward opposed to power forward allowed Uthoff to shoot more. This past season Uthoff shot 44.8 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from the 3-point line. Uthoff isn’t known for his defense, but he is still able to make an impact on that side of the court.

“He is a bit of a savant when it comes to contesting shots, showing impressive anticipation and a knack for getting his hand on the ball cleanly just as the opposing shooter is releasing it at and away from the rim,” noted DraftExpress.com.

Uthoff is predicted to go late in the second round or undrafted. Whichever team does pick him up most likely will use him as a rotation shooter.

Notes: Uthoff was named second-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten and earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive team. … Uthoff originally committed to play for Wisconsin but transferred after redshirting his freshman year. Uthoff’s transfer was complicated situation because Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan wouldn’t OK a transfer in the Big Ten. Uthoff ended up at Iowa because he elected to pay his own way at Iowa for a season.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Iowa’s Uthoff showed total package — once he got selfish

Scout.com: Is Jarrod Uthoff an NBA talent?

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jarrod Uthoff,
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