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NBA draft prospect profile: Notre Dame SG Pat Connaughton

06.22.15 at 1:37 pm ET
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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 first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

PAT CONNAUGHTON

Position: Shooting guard

School: Notre Dame

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 206 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2014-15 stats: 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.0 turnovers, 46.6 field goal percentage, 42.3 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: After an impressive senior season with the Irish, Connaughton continued to impress at the NBA scouting combine, proving his athleticism to teams that might be interested. His 44-inch max vertical at the combine was highest among all participants and tied for second highest of all time. More than just a strong shooter, the 22-year-old, who sunk about 40 percent of his last 400 3-pointers over the past two seasons, also is a tough and physical presence on the floor. Many of Connaughton’s possessions came on spot-ups, and per Draft Express, he scored 1.253 points per possession, which led the nation in total spot-up points. He has great rebounding ability, averaging 8.5 boards per 40 minutes, which is a tad less than some of the best wings in the draft class.

“We’ve had a lot of great athletes — student-athletes that were ambassadors and powerful personalities at Notre Dame — across football, basketball,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey told Bleacher Report. “There’s no one more powerful than Pat Connaughton as far as how he’s represented, the role model he is, the ambassador he is.”

Expected to go in the latter part of the second round, Connaughton doesn’t have the ideal height for a shooting guard in the NBA, and he had trouble defending some larger players in the post this past season. He also doesn’t demonstrate exemplary lateral quickness.

Notes: Connaughton grew up in Arlington as a Celtics fan and worked out for the team on June 10. He went to high school at St. John’s Prep in Danvers and was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball), though he cut down to just basketball and baseball once he reached Notre Dame. Given his success as a pitcher, Connaughton was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB amateur draft, but he informed MLB teams that basketball came first and that he’d return to Notre Dame for his senior season to chase his basketball ambitions.

In his final year with the Irish, Connaughton was named to the All-ACC third team and led Notre Dame in rebounding while coming in third in scoring.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Notre Dame two-sport star Connaughton is one of draft’s fiercest competitors

Celtics.com: Pat Connaughton puts baseball on hold to pursue NBA career

ESPN: Connaughton makes himself at home in Boston

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Pat Connaughton,

NBA draft prospect profile: Wisconsin PF/C Frank Kaminsky

06.22.15 at 10:38 am ET
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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).

FRANK KAMINSKY

Position: Power forward/center

School: Wisconsin

Age: 22

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 230 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2014-15 stats: 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 54.7 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Kaminsky is a fundamentally sound big man with some of the most refined offensive skills in the draft. The Wisconsin product can post up on either block, score with both hands and hit the mid-range jumper. Kaminsky also can knock down the trey, as he converted on 41.6 percent of his attempts last season. Though he lacks quickness and athleticism, he is compensated with an extremely high basketball IQ. One of Kaminsky’s biggest strengths is his court vision, a skill that sets him apart from other big men in the draft.

Kaminsky’s greatest weaknesses stem from his lack of athleticism, quickness and length, all of which will present him with severe defensive limitations, according to scouts. The projected first-round pick also has drawn concerns about his offensive viability. He was a product of a particular offensive scheme in Wisconsin, and many NBA executives have anointed him a one-trick pony incapable of thriving in a faster-paced NBA.

Although Kaminsky traditionally has played center, he expects to transition into a niche role as a stretch four once he gets drafted.

“I’€™d rather have the offensive game translate and then be able to figure out the defense,” he said. “I feel like that’€™s easier for me than being the defensive specialist and figuring my way offensively.”

Notes: Kaminsky was the national player of the year for a number of outlets in 2015, including the Associated Press and Sporting News. Additionally, the Illinois native took home the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy and the Oscar Robertson Award. He was a first-team All-American and led the Badgers to the NCAA title game against Duke, where his team eventually fell short. Kaminsky was the only player in Division 1 to average 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and 1.5 blocks for the entire season.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Sleep on Frank Kaminsky’s NBA potential at your own peril

The New York Times: Wisconsin’€™s Frank Kaminsky Takes Pride in Growing Up

The Washington Post: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin basketball’€™s Napoleon Dynamite, and the triumph of the goofy

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NBA draft prospect profile: Florida SG Michael Frazier II

06.22.15 at 7:17 am ET
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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 first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

MICHAEL FRAZIER II

Position: Shooting guard

School: Florida

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 195 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2014-15 stats: 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.8 turnovers, 1.2 steals, 41.7 field goal percentage, 38.0 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: Frazier’s most desirable asset is his shooting, though his 3-point percentage fell from his sophomore total of 44.7 percent to his most recent 38.0 percent. Part of that was due to the fact that, with All-SEC-caliber teammates having left Florida at the end of last season, defenses were able to focus more on Frazier and keep him from getting the same volume of quality looks, according to DraftExpress.com. Frazier, expected to go in the second round, has a quick release, is a hard worker, shoots well from the charity stripe and can move with ease when he doesn’t have the ball.

“The best way to defend him, the way I did it, is to stay connected and make him try to make plays putting the ball on the floor,” UConn guard Ryan Boatright told the Hartford Courant. “We’ll take our chances having him try to score off the dribble, rather than let him catch and shoot, because he’ll knock those shots down nine times out of 10. He’s a tremendous shooter, you can’t give him any daylight.”

Frazier is a little shorter than the ideal shooting guard, but his wingspan helps make up for that some, allowing him to play bigger than he is. However, it still hurts his ability to defend as well as he might be able to were he a bit taller. Other than his shooting, which certainly is important, Frazier doesn’t really do anything else at an elite level, according to CBS Sports.

Notes: Frazier missed almost a month of the 2014-15 season with a high ankle sprain, playing in 26 of the Gators’ 33 games this year. Florida ended with a 16-17 record and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.

Related articles:

Orlando Sentinel: Former Gator Michael Frazier II’s NBA stock rising

Gainesville Sun: UF’s Michael Frazier II working on game

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NBA draft prospect profile: UTEP SF Vince Hunter

06.21.15 at 5:51 pm ET
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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 first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

VINCE HUNTER

Position: Small forward

School: UTEP

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Aug. 8)

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 205 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2014-15 stats: 14.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.0 turnovers, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks, 52.6 field goal percentage, 40.0 3-point field goal percentage, 59.9 free throw percentage

Scouting report: With one of the best motors in the draft, Hunter doesn’t give up by the boards or on defense, according to CBS Sports. He’s a great athlete with good reactions and great “positional versatility.” Hunter, who likely will go in the second round, brings quickness and explosiveness to the floor and can finish plays above the rim with ease. Draft Express calls him a “power forward in a small forward’s body offensively,” and writes he has “fantastic lateral quickness and multi-positional defensive potential.” Hunter has shown signs of being a suffocating defender and could become very capable there down the line.

“He is an elite-level athlete with a developing skill level and a big-time competitor,” UTEP coach Tom Floyd said. “He goes over, around and through guys to score and gets rebounds. He’s a power wing.”

In time, Hunter will need to get stronger, become a more consistent perimeter shooter and work on his free throws. His jump shot, while getting better, still isn’t the best, and he could stand to spend time on his ball handling. Hunter lacks some perimeter skills, and for someone of his height, those are almost necessary to be successful at his position.

Notes: Hunter helped guide the Miners to the NIT by leading the team in almost every major statistical category, though UTEP lost in the first round of the tournament to Murray State. He was first in Conference USA in rebounding and was an All-Conference USA first-team selection. Over the course of his sophomore season Hunter won four C-USA Player of the Week awards, becoming the first UTEP player to do so. He was named C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2013-14 and was the first player to lead UTEP in points (492), rebounds (305), blocked shots (34) and steals (41) since David Van Dyke in 1991-92.

Related articles:

Detroit News: Hunter would love to return home as a Piston

Miner Rush: Catching up with UTEP forward, NBA prospect Vince Hunter

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NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky C Willie Cauley-Stein

06.21.15 at 2:21 pm ET
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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).

WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN

Position: Center

School: Kentucky

Age: 21 (turns 22 on Aug. 18)

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 242 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2014-15 stats: 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks

Scouting report: Cauley-Stein’s size combined with his unparalleled athleticism make him arguably the most feared defender in the draft and a projected lottery pick. His length (7-foot-3 wingspan) and jumping ability (37-inch vertical leap at Kentucky’s pro day) mark him as a potentially dominant rim protector, as evidenced by his 2.9 blocks per game during his sophomore season. Additionally, the Kansas native boasts elite quickness and lateral agility, helping him guard multiple positions and dominate on the high pick and roll.

On the offensive side of the ball, it is no secret to NBA execs that Cauley-Stein needs to work on developing his post moves. However, his explosiveness helps him work the offensive glass and generate highlight-reel slams. A good comparison for Cauley-Stein according to many scouts is DeAndre Jordan. When provided the right situation, he will have the opportunity to shine as a defensive playmaker and a garbageman on the offensive glass.

Many coaches and scouts have lauded Cauley-Stein’s decision to remain in school to refine his skills after his dynamite sophomore season. He himself believes that the extra year helped him evolve into a potentially great player.

“To show that maturity level I didn’t have last year if I was to enter the draft, now I’m one of the older dudes in the draft and I get it,” Cauley-Stein said. “I understand everything. I understand the game, I understand the process, I understand what it takes to be an elite player.”

Notes: Cauley-Stein is second in Kentucky’s decorated history in blocked shots with 233. He is the only player in Kentucky history to tally 500 rebounds, 200 blocks and 100 steals. At the conclusion of 2015, Cauley-Stein was named to the AP All-America team. He was named All-SEC first team, won SEC Defensive Player of the Year, made the All-SEC Defensive team and earned SEC Tournament MVP honors.

Related articles:

Grantland: Jahlil Okafor vs. Willie Cauley-Stein: Who Is the Shiny New Toy?

SB Nation: NBA Draft rumor: Celtics may target Willie Cauley-Stein if they trade up

New York Post: Willie Cauley-Stein pitch for Knicks: Like a 7-foot John Wall

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NBA draft prospect profile: Kansas SG Kelly Oubre

06.21.15 at 10:34 am ET
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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 first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

KELLY OUBRE

Position: Shooting guard

School: Kansas

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Dec. 9)

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 200 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2014-15 stats: 9.3 points, 5 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 1.1 steals, 44.4 field goal percentage, 35.8 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: Oubre’s height and length are absolutely perfect for an NBA wing and so is his athleticism, contributing to his impressive two-way play. His 7-foot-2 wingspan and quick reflexes make him hard for opponents to get past, and his offensive strengths include his outside shot and ability to break out for transition scoring, according to NBAdraft.net. He hits roughly 35.8 percent of his shots from deep and sinks 44.4 percent of field goal attempts overall, highlighting great potential for his mid-range game.

Oubre doesn’t need to bulk up significantly, but if he continues to mature physically and adds some strength to his frame he should be fine. He could work some on his consistency and, more specifically, his floaters so they don’t get blocked as much.

“You get him in space and let him go, and you can’t guard him,” a Western Conference scout said of Oubre. “But when the game slows down, he can get in trouble. Now, can he get better? Yeah. Can he improve his shot? Yeah.”

Oubre is projected to be drafted in the middle of the first round, with some mocks having him go to the Celtics at No. 16.

Notes: Oubre was an All-Big 12 honorable mention as well as a Big 12 All-Newcomer selection as a freshman last season. He recorded three 20-plus-point games and a trio of double-doubles as well, ending the year as the Jayhawks’ fourth-leading scorer, third-leading rebounder and second in steals.

When he was 9 years old, Oubre and his father left his hometown of New Orleans for Houston just before Hurricane Katrina hit. While his mother and siblings still reside in the city, Oubre would not go back to live there and spent much time playing basketball. The shooting guard has an arm tattoo commemorating his love of New Orleans on his right shoulder and upper arm.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Kelly Oubre slowly learns how to maximize his incredible potential

The Kansas City Star: How KU’s Kelly Oubre rode out a storm and wound up in the Phog

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NBA draft prospect profile: UCLA PF Kevon Looney

06.21.15 at 7:19 am ET
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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).

KEVON LOONEY

Position: Power forward

School: UCLA

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 222 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds

Scouting report: Looney projects to the NBA as a very talented forward. He is not an elite athlete but was able to make an impact on the offensive end in college with a hearty dose of aggressiveness and hustle. He has a great nose for the offensive boards, tallying 4.2 rebounds per 40 minutes on that end. He has good basketball instincts. Looney is a pretty solid jump shooter, making 22 of his 53 attempts (41.5 percent) last season. He is a solid, versatile defender who utilizes his lengthy reach and averaged more than one steal and block per game. If he improves his ball-handling slightly, Looney could play either forward position at the NBA level.

“He rebounds the basketball, he runs in transition and he’s always in the right spot at the right time. He’s just a guy that we all really enjoy watching as he continues to develop,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said of his combo forward.

Looney will need to increase his upper-body strength in order to maintain his rebounding success rate. He needs to work on refining his off-hand dribbling. He has a slow release on his shot, making it somewhat easy for players to close out on him. A lot of his offensive output this year came on the offensive glass, so he’ll need to refine other manners of scoring to be a force at the next level. He projects to be drafted just outside the lottery, in the high teens or low 20s of the first round.

Notes: Looney was named second-team All-Pac-12 and made the Pac-12 All-Freshman team while helping to lead the Bruins to the Sweet 16. He led all Division 1 freshmen with 15 double-doubles. He worked out for the Celtics on June 17.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Kevon Looney brings versatility, endless potential

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ex-Hamilton star Kevon Looney impresses in workout with Bucks

Fox 6: After one year of college, Kevin Looney gears up for NBA draft: ‘€œI think I’m as ready as I can be for a 19-year-old’€

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Kevon Looney,
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