Green Street
NEED TO KNOW
Don't forget to follow Ben on Twitter.
A WEEI.com Celtics Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

NBA draft prospect profile: Arkansas SG/SF Michael Qualls

06.23.15 at 5:53 pm ET
By   |   Comments

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

MICHAEL QUALLS

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

School: Arkansas

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 201 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2014-15 stats: 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists

Scouting report: Qualls is an explosive leaper and athlete, one of the more prolific dunkers in the draft. His athletic ability makes him a force in the transition offense and got him to the free throw line frequently. He shot a very solid 77.5 percent from the stripe this season. Qualls is a good rebounder for his position, especially on the offensive end. With his athletic prowess and massive length, Qualls has the makings of a very good defensive presence. He played well defensively in college and projects to have a lot of potential on that end at the next level.

“To see him come back this year and finish strong this season, that’s what it’s all about finishing strong. I thought that was the mark of a guy who has made tremendous improvement,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said of his three-year swingman. “Second-team all-conference and we know he hasn’t even reached where he has chance to go in terms of his ability. There’s still work to be done with him and he knows that. When you get on the big stage that’s when you want to shine. I thought Mike did a good job of shining.”

Outside of his natural ability, Qualls needs refinement on the offensive end of the floor. He has difficulty creating his own shots and often forces bad ones. He shot only 33.3 percent on 3-point tries this season. His ball-handling also should improve.

Notes: Qualls looked likely to be a second-round pick in the draft, but on June 11 he tore his ACL during a pre-draft workout. The usual recovery time for the injury is 6-12 months. This has cast some doubt about his status as draft night rapidly approaches.

Qualls played some of his best games this year in the postseason. In a losing effort in the SEC championship game against then-undefeated Kentucky, Qualls made eight of his 12 shots en route to 18 points. In the first game of the NCAA Tournament, Qualls scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting. The last game of his college career was a loss to North Carolina in the third round of the tournament. In that contest, Qualls had an impressive performance, scoring 27 points while collecting 10 rebounds.

Related articles:

CBSSports: Michael Qualls is a prospect worth rooting for in this NBA draft

CBSSports: Ex-Arkansas wing Michael Qualls tears ACL in workout with Suns

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Michael Qualls,

Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10′ of NBA draft

06.23.15 at 2:06 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics draft plan and the rumors surrounding DeMarcus Cousins. To hear the full interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

With reports emerging that the Celtics offered Marcus Smart and two first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the third overall selection, Mannix speculated that Smart could be moved at any point leading up to the draft.

“I heard that last night and I … couldn’t nail down all the details of the Philadelphia conversation, but I heard the Celtics were talking Marcus Smart and Nerlens Noel with the Sixers,” Mannix said. “… That’s why I wrote that anyone on the roster was available. But I believe it to be true now that it’s been put out there. I don’t think Boston is actively trying to dump Marcus Smart by any stretch, but I think Danny Ainge and the Celtics are looking to do anything they possibly can to get into that top-five, specifically the top-three because that’s where I think the true impact players are in this draft. You’re talking about either bigs or a point guard like D’Angelo Russell. Marcus Smart is available in the right deal any time in the next couple of days.”

Mannix continued to discuss Ainge’s trade plans, predicting the Celtics will trade up for a lottery pick.

“I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10,” Mannix said. “Three might be a leap. … I don’t think [the Celtics] are going to get that high, but pick number six with Sacramento is available. We’ve all heard the DeMarcus Cousins talk that’s out there, and that pick could be packaged with Cousins in a blockbuster deal with the Kings that probably wouldn’t involve Boston. But if the Cousins talk falls through, I think the Kings are more than willing to move back into the teens, in exchange for some kind of serviceable role player.

“I don’t know who that could mean on Boston’s roster, it could be [Jared] Sullinger, it could be [Kelly] Olynyk, it could be any number of guys. No. 9 I think is available too with Charlotte. The Hornets just made that Lance Stephenson trade with the Clippers, they got back Spencer Hawes, but they still have a gaping hole at the two-guard spot. And if Devin Booker, who is the 18-year-old two-guard from Kentucky, is off the board by No. 9, and I think he will be … I think the Hornets would be inclined to move back into a position where they can take R.J. Hunter later on in the draft. … I think Danny’s in a great position to move into the top-10 which is why I say at this point I’d be surprised if he didn’t get into the top 10.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, Chris Mannix, D'Angelo Russell, Danny Ainge

NBA draft prospect profile: Texas PF Jonathan Holmes

06.23.15 at 1:33 pm ET
By   |   Comments

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

JONATHAN HOLMES

Position: Power forward

School: Texas

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 242 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2014-15 stats: 10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 38.9 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Holmes is a desirable prospect because of his versatility. He has the size and quickness to defend nearly every position on the court. Throughout his college career Holmes added tools to his offensive arsenal, including an above-average jump shot and a capable low-post game. While Holmes is a decent ball handler, teams reportedly do not expect him to make the transition to the three in the NBA.

Though Holmes has grown offensively, he still shows some glaring weaknesses. According to scouts, Holmes was dominated by bigger, stronger post players last season on offense and defense. The potential second-rounder also has a tendency to rush shots and make bad decisions with the ball, leading to his 38.9 field goal percentage and 1.5 turnovers per game.

Holmes believes he’s ready to make an impact for any NBA team with a stretch four need.

“I did very good at the shooting drills [at the NBA combine],” he said. “I had one of the best results, so I showed I can be that stretch four player for a team. When we played five-on-five, I showed I can guard multiple positions, rebound, do the little things that help win.”

Notes: Holmes took home tournament MVP honors for his performance at the 2K Classic, averaging 20 points and nine rebounds over two games. He suffered a concussion in February, which caused him to miss games down the stretch. Despite his injury, Holmes still earned All-Big 12 honorable mention.

Related articles:

USA Today: Could Jonathan Holmes Be the Draymond Green of the 2015 NBA draft?

SB Nation: Jonathan Holmes is Texas’ lone survivor

Detroit Free Press: Texas’ Holmes likes Pistons; will he last in NBA draft?

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Jonathan Holmes,

Danny Ainge is ‘hopeful’ he can move way up in NBA draft Thursday

06.23.15 at 12:59 pm ET
By   |   Comments

WALTHAM — Apparently, where there’s smoke, there’s fire with Danny Ainge and the rumors of his interest in moving way up in the draft Thursday night.

“Yeah, we’re having discussions with both of our picks in the first round, trying to move up with at least one of them. I think there’ll be some movement,” Ainge said at a pre-draft media availability at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday.

Ainge’s comments come as the Los Angeles Times reported that the Celtics offered Marcus Smart and a package of picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Nerlens Noel and their No. 3 overall pick on Thursday.

The Celtics have picks No. 16 and 28 and could package a deal to move up.

Is Ainge optimistic that he can pull the trigger?

“Yeah. Hopeful,” Ainge said, before adding an important qualifier. “Nobody wants to. You have to be enticed to. Nobody wants to move down. A lot of that just depends on who’s drafted ahead of us and what our position is. If we move up the chances are very good that we did not have them in for a workout. We saw a lot of workouts, mostly out in LA. I went out to LA for a week and watched, and maybe saw 70 or 80 guys workout.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge,

Celtics reportedly offered Marcus Smart, picks for Nerlens Noel, No. 3 overall

06.23.15 at 12:40 pm ET
By   |   Comments
Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

The Celtics offered Marcus Smart and both of their first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 overall pick, an unnamed NBA executive told the Los Angeles Times.

Naturally, Philadelphia declined, since a Second Team All-Rookie point guard (Smart) and two non-lottery picks don’t equal a First Team All-Rookie center (Noel) and a high lottery pick.

Still, recent reports indicate the Celtics are aggressively shopping for a high lottery pick, and team president Danny Ainge admitted as much in Tuesday’s pre-draft meeting with the media. Ainge also confirmed nobody on his middling roster is untouchable in trade discussions — all of which could be a smokescreen for ulterior motives in Boston’s front office.

The asking price for picks as high as No. 3 has historically been either an All-Star caliber player or another high lottery pick and additional assets — neither of which the C’s currently possess.

There are countless reasons the Celtics would be interested in trading for both a rim-protecting center of Noel’s caliber and a No. 3 pick that would net the best non-center in the draft (Justise Winslow, D’Angelo Russell, et al.). Among those reasons could be a desire to package those assets for DeMarcus Cousins.

Of course, there are also reasons rival executives would want this non-deal leaked, including an attempt to smoke out the actual value of the packages discussed on both sides. Don’t forget: Every executive has an agenda over the next 48 hours.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, NBA,

NBA draft prospect profile: France C Mouhammadou Jaiteh

06.23.15 at 10:39 am ET
By   |   Comments

As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

MOUHAMMADOU JAITEH

Position: Center

Country: France (plays for Nantere in France’s LNB Pro A league)

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 247 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2014-15 stats: 22.5 minutes, 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds (in French league)

Scouting report: Jaiteh’s greatest attributes are associated with his physical ability. He’s got great size for a center and his length hints at his potential as a rim protector at the next level. On offense, the projected second-rounder still is developing his mid-range jumper, but he is active on the offensive glass and shows a willingness to body up defenders on the block.

While Jaiteh’s build is desirable, many scouts have noted his lack of leaping ability and lateral quickness, both defects on defense. When playing for his French team, Nantere, Jaiteh proved prone to bigger, more athletic big men on defense in the low block. Additionally, NBA execs wonder if Jaiteh’s post moves will evolve at the next level or simply stall in their developmental stage.

“At 6-11 and 250 pounds Jaiteh has the size to be a pure center,” Carl Berman of NetScouts said. “Right now he can rebound and really goes after it on the offensive boards. He doesn’t appear to be the most athletic player and has a lot of work to do on his entire offensive game. He does have a decent touch on hooks around the basket. However, his physicality and rebounding prowess combined with his size make him a second-round possibility in this year’€™s NBA draft.”

Notes: Jaiteh has said he does not intend to be a “draft-and-stash” player, instead expecting to contribute immediately to whichever team drafts him. Playing against Frapport in the Eurochallenge semifinal, Jaiteh had one of the finest performances of his career, tallying 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 30 minutes. His nickname around the European leagues is “Mam.”

Related articles:

SB Nation: Exploring the endless possibilities For NBA draft prospect Mouhammadou Jaiteh

Eurohopes: Can Mam Jaiteh be a first-rounder next June?

Metro: R.J. Hunter, Chris McCullough, Mouhammadou Jaiteh targets for Celtics in 2015 NBA draft

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Mouhammadou Jaiteh,

Report: Celtics ‘thinking big,’ potentially trying to move up in NBA draft

06.23.15 at 10:31 am ET
By   |   Comments
Danny Ainge

Danny Ainge

With two first-round picks, reports have surfaced around the possibility of Celtics‘ President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge trying to move up in Thursday’s NBA draft. The Celtics currently hold the 16th and 28th picks in the first round, both making for huge bargaining chips around the league.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, a rival executive described the Celtics being “aggressive” and “thinking big” in potentially moving up in the draft. Reports circulated late last week about the Celtics possibly moving up to acquire Texas forward Myles Turner, who is expected to be picked in the lottery range before the Celtics first pick.

(It is worth mentioning, moving up in the draft can be a hard thing to do, which Ben Rohrbach wrote about here.)

Additionally, rumors have continued about a foot issue with potential top-five pick Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein, causing him to slide in the first round. Cauley-Stein, a rim protector, is exactly what the Celtics have scoured the market for over the past two years since the departure of Kevin Garnett. Another potential target is Kristaps Porzingis, out of Latvia, who is graded by some as the top talent in the draft and would give the Celtics a true scoring option off the pick-and-roll with point guard Isaiah Thomas.

With an excess of cap space, the C’s could also be looking to move picks for an established NBA player. As speculation continues regarding the fate of DeMarcus Cousins, the Celtics remain a dark horse to acquire him if Kings’ ownership cuts the cord.

Read More: Danny Ainge, DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner
2015 NBA Draft Board
2015 NBA Draft
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines