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NBA draft prospect profile: Guangdong Southern Tigers PG Emmanuel Mudiay

06.10.15 at 9:40 pm ET
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As part of’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).


Position: Point guard

Team: Guangdong Southern Tigers (China)

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 200 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 12 games, 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists, .342 3-point percentage

Scouting report: What Mudiay lacks in polish, he makes up for in raw athleticism. The 6-foot-5 point guard has one of the best first steps in the draft, and his speed and jumping ability make him nearly impossible to stop in the open court, similarly to John Wall. He’s very unselfish with the ball, but scouts note that he has a tendency to over-dribble and make poor decisions in the lane. He’s a high-motor player who dives for loose balls and gives his best effort at the defensive end of the floor. He certainly leaves much to be desired with his outside shooting as he struggles from beyond the arc and often settles for mid-range jumpers.

The top-five projected pick has stated his desire to partake in a team’s winning culture. On the possibility of going to the Lakers at No. 2, Mudiay said, “I would love to be a part of something like this. I just want to win and get as many championships as I can. That’€™s the main thing.” While his efficiency will always be his biggest question mark, Mudiay appears to have the raw skill and athleticism needed to become a franchise-caliber player in the NBA.

Notes: While he was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (called Zaire at the time), Mudiay moved to the United States at the age of 5 and became a prep star in Texas, earning a spot in the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2014. He committed to play for Larry Brown and SMU for the 2014-15 season, but instead chose to play in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers (reports emerged that he had some eligibility issues). Though he missed much of the season due to an ankle injury, Mudiay returned in the playoffs and scored 24 points, snagged eight rebounds and dished out five assists off the bench in his first game back for a 110-99 Guangdong win.

Related articles:

Business Insider: 19-year-old prospect who skipped college to play in China is the biggest mystery of the NBA draft

Sporting News: Emmanuel Mudiay: The NBA draft’s mystery man is a top-6 pick Emmanuel Mudiay: Why the potential No. 1 pick is riding the bench in China

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Emmanuel Mudiay,

An absolute mockery of a 2015 NBA mock draft v2.0

06.10.15 at 3:59 pm ET
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I’€™m not sure whether mock drafts got their name from the false premise that anyone could accurately mock what the front offices of all 30 NBA franchises will do come June 25 or the reality that everyone who projects to know such matters ultimately makes a mockery of themselves. It’€™s probably a hybrid of the two, but they sure are fun, so without further ado Green Street presents the second of four mock drafts leading up to the real thing in Chicago later this month.

For the first edition, check out: An absolute mockery of the 2015 NBA draft v1.0.

Keep in mind Celtics president Danny Ainge owns two first-round picks in this year’€™s draft — his own No. 16 selection and the Clippers’€™ No. 28 pick he received in exchange for letting Doc Rivers out of his contract — and predicting whether The Wolf of Causeway Street will stand pat, trade up or swap out of the draft is like guessing which ridiculous name Ron Artest will use next. Impossible.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Towns (Last week: Karl Towns)

  • Position: Center/power forward
  • School: Kentucky
  • Birthday: Nov. 15, 1995 (19 years old)
  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 248 pounds
  • Wingspan: 7-foot-3.5
  • 2014-15 stats (39 games): 10.3 points (62.7 true shooting percentage), 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.1 assists in 21.1 minutes per game (31.4 player efficiency rating)
  • Fascinating fact: Towns studied kinesiology and wants to be a doctor after his hoop career.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor (Last week: Jahlil Okafor)

  • Position: Center
  • School: Duke
  • Birthday: Dec. 15, 1995 (19 years old)
  • Height: 6-foot-11
  • Weight: 270 pounds
  • Wingspan: 7-foot-5
  • 2014-15 stats (38 games): 17.3 points (64.1 true shooting percentage), 8.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.1 per game (30.7 player efficiency rating)
  • Fascinating fact: Okafor plays the tuba.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Emmanuel Mudiay (Last week: Justise Winslow)

  • Position: Point guard
  • Country: Congo
  • Team: Guangdong (China) Southern Tigers
  • Birthday: March 5, 1996 (19 years old)
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Wingspan: 6-foot-8.5
  • 2014-15 stats (12 games): 18.0 points (52.8 true shooting percentage), 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals in 31.5 minutes per game (18.9 player efficiency rating)
  • Fascinating fact: Mudiay fled his home country as a child during the Second Congo War.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Christian Wood, Sam Dekker

Pat Connaughton ready to prove himself ready for NBA: ‘I think I look pretty good in green’

06.10.15 at 3:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Pat Connaughton didn’t lack confidence when he was setting school records at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, and he didn’t lose that swagger while leading the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame to within a breath of the Final Four this spring.

The Arlington resident always has had a swagger about him, and a wicked good sense of sarcasm and wit for a 22-year-old.

Maybe it’s the fact that he is a legit two-sport pro prospect. As a sharpshooter, he was a key part of Notre Dame‘s ACC basketball title this spring. He also can throw a baseball consistently in the mid-90s, which made him an MLB prospect, drafted by the Orioles last year in the fourth round while making his professional baseball debut with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League. His fastball was clocked at 96 mph.

“The way the baseball draft works is if you don’t sign someone you draft in the first 10 rounds, you lose that slot money. I was very clear before the baseball draft that I wanted to go back to school to play basketball,” Connaughton said. “So, whoever drafted me had to know I was going to do that. I think both the Orioles and myself weren’t sure how far basketball would go. I think they were hoping it would end after college. I was just playing it every single day like I normally do and taking it day-by-day because that’s the only thing you can do with two sports. I found myself here and excited to pursue the opportunity.

“I had a great time in Aberdeen. I thought that down the road, whether it’s after a 10-year NBA career or a two-year NBA career, when I put my mind to baseball I can succeed at it. But I wasn’t ready to give up one of the sports. I’ve been harping my whole life that you can do two sports at the highest level, to kind of be a role model for those kids that are pressured into choosing one. It would be kind of hypocritical of me to just be like, ‘By the way, there’s some money in baseball. I think I’ll go do that.’ ”

At the end of July 2014, he informed the Orioles that he was indeed going to leave the IronBirds to return to the Fighting Irish basketball team.

On Wednesday, after working out for the Celtics, he explained why his priority now is focused on the NBA, not MLB.

“For me, I try to take it like I may not get drafted,” Connaughton said after his workout. “I try to work as hard as I can every single day. It’s been such a whirlwind over the last few months. I hope to be drafted. I’m working as hard as I can. I have some confidence in myself that I have a chance to, but we’ll see what happens on June 25. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Celtics, MLB, NBA

NBA draft prospect profile: Louisville F Montrezl Harrell

06.10.15 at 2:09 pm ET
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As part of’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).


Position: Forward

School: Louisville

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-7.5

Weight: 253 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-4.25

Key 2014-15 stats: 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 56.6 field goal percentage, 59.7 free throw percentage

Scouting report: Harrell is a powerful force at and around the rim. He is a prolific dunker and a tenacious and impressive rebounder. Of his 9.2 rebounds per game last season, 3.2 came on the offensive glass. His length and strength at least partly make up for the fact that he is relatively short for an NBA power forward. While he is not a knock-down shooter, Harrell’€™s jumper has improved. In 2012-13, he shot 24.4 percent on two-point jumpers. The following two seasons, he shot at a 36.8 percent clip on the same opportunities. His free throw shooting has improved as well, going from 46 percent as a sophomore to a more respectably 59.7 percent as a junior last season. He has a high motor and could be a defensive force at the NBA level.

“His family wanted him to go pro as a sophomore. He just felt that he needed another year of offensive development. He’s improved his passing dramatically, his ballhandling dramatically. He’s always been a warrior with the way he’s played. He plays every possession as if it’s his last on earth,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said of Harrell, who projects to be picked in the mid-to-late first round.

Harrell is not a great defensive rebounder, averaging 6.4 per 40 minutes for his career. His height means that opposing bigs will be able to shoot over him. Despite his shooting improvements, he still isn’t going to be feared on the offensive end.

Notes: Harrell surprised some by returning to Louisville for the 2014-15 season instead of entering the draft. During his freshman year in 2013, Harrell was a backup for the championship-winning Cardinals. He was named first-team All-AAC in 2014 and then second-team All-ACC last season after Louisville switched conferences.

Related articles:

Charlotte Observer: NBA draft: Louisville’€™s Montrezl Harrell developing jumper to go with defense

CBS Sports: Montrezl Harrell could become an elite NBA role player in time

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Montrezl Harrell,

Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: ‘I don’t see how [Cavaliers] can win’ NBA Finals despite series lead

06.10.15 at 10:30 am ET
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Jeff Van Gundy

Jeff Van Gundy

With the Cavaliers knocking off the Warriors in another exciting NBA Finals game Tuesday night, ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss the series. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Warriors were heavy favorites heading into the series, but the Cavaliers have a 2-1 lead as LeBron James has outperformed MVP Steph Curry. With fellow stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving out, James is attempting to pull off what many thought was impossible.

“There won’t be a bigger upset, I know that,” Van Gundy said. “Listen, I’m going to say this: [James] getting his 2007 Cavaliers to the Finals, beating a great Detroit team, scoring 29 of the last 30 points in Game 5, that to me was his greatest accomplishment until now. Even surpassing winning championships in Miami.

“Getting to the Finals with this team and now winning two games in the Finals, already to me it’s his greatest accomplishment. If he can pull this off, it’ll be one of the greatest accomplishments for any individual player in my recollection.”

That said, Van Gundy isn’t convinced James will be able to deliver Cleveland’s first-ever NBA championship this year.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a guy in the Finals have to shoulder a burden like this,” Van Gundy said. “Now, I don’t think they’re going to be able to pull it off. I don’t see how they can win two more games. But if they do? To me there’s never been a greater feat or accomplishment in the NBA.”

Added Van Gundy: “In the end, the better team wins. There are very few upsets, Talent prevails. And Golden State certainly has the most talent. Listen, if you did a draft you would take James No. 1, and then the next probably four picks would be the Warriors. And then maybe [Timofey] Mozgov gets in there.

“I just really believe that Golden State has been the best team all year. They’ve been dominant in the playoffs up until now. They got in the same predicament against Memphis and were able to win the next three. So I think they’ve going to find their way out of it. But that does not detract at all from what Cleveland has been able to do. I’m just so impressed with James and their grit.

“And you know what? David Blatt, for whatever reason, the media is so reluctant to give him credit. They give credit to a lot of coaches. Blatt is not on their list for getting credit. But what he’s been able to do with his team and the body blows that they’ve undertaken throughout the playoffs and that they’re still playing so well, it’s a credit to him as well.”

Read More: David Blatt, Jeff Van Gundy, LeBron James, Steph Curry

NBA draft prospect profile: Kansas PF Cliff Alexander

06.10.15 at 9:45 am ET
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As part of’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).


Position: Power forward

School: Kansas

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 250 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2014-15 stats: 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 56.6 field goal percentage

Scouting report: With his wide wingspan, Alexander excels at rebounding, averaging a little over five per game this past season with the Jayhawks. He also brings a lot of energy to the court and is able to affect the game whether or not he’s handling the ball. Though his height is not ideal for a physical NBA power forward, Alexander makes up for it with his bulk and overall length, helping him protect the rim well. As his career progresses, he has the frame and power to become a mature, strong player at the professional level.

Alexander’s offense needs more work, though, as he has trouble shooting from more than 10 feet out and could stand to work on his footwork by the post. He got a late start to his basketball career, as he did not begin playing until high school. This can cause Alexander to be a little bit predictable in one-on-one situations and highlight some in-game instincts that might not be there. Scouts have tabbed Alexander as someone who is strong and good from one end of the court to the other but certainly has areas that need improvement, and he knows it.

“When I was playing [at Kansas], I wasn’t very dominant,” Alexander told “I didn’t live up to my expectations, the way I was supposed to, and then when the suspension came, it just made me go downward.”

Notes: Alexander ran into some trouble toward the end of the 2014-15 season as he encountered an NCAA eligibility issue that caused him to miss Kansas’ last three regular-season games, the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA Tournament, which totaled eight games. Alexander’s mother, Latilla, had ties to a financial company that specialized in loans to professional athletes, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. Regardless, he still finished tied for the team lead in blocked shots, was second in rebounding and led Kansas in field goal percentage with .566. Alexander, projected to go late in the first round or early on in the second, worked out for the Celtics in a predraft session on May 28.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Introducing Cliff Alexander, college basketball’s most entertaining player

ESPN: Kansas freshman has big shoes to fill

Yahoo! Sports: Public filing ties Cliff Alexander parent to financial firm

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Cliff Alexander,

NBA draft prospect profile: Duke F Justise Winslow

06.10.15 at 6:40 am ET
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As part of’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).


Position: Forward

School: Duke

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 222 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2014-15 stats: 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 41.8 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Winslow, predicted to be a top-five pick, shows a lot of promise on both sides of the ball. He showcases good speed, athleticism, versatility in scoring and use of his good body, but could afford to do so more aggressively, according to CBS Sports cites his athleticism as what really makes his game stand out, as the combination of strength and explosiveness impacts both his offensive and defensive capabilities.

“He does everything,” teammate Jahlil Okafor told the Los Angeles Times. “Steals, blocks, obviously he can score. He can defend pretty much one through four. Five if necessary.”

The only real area of his game that could require significant attention is his free throw shooting since he drained just 64.1 percent of his attempts last season.

Notes: Selected to the All-Final Four team, All-ACC Freshman team and the USBWA All-District 3 Team, Winslow was the third-highest scoring freshman in the ACC last season and recorded 31 double-digit point games, second in the conference only to Okafor, who had 35. The forward’s 6.5 rebounds per contest also ranked second among ACC freshmen, and he was just coach Mike Krzyzewski‘s second player 6-foot-6 or shorter to average at least six rebounds a game. Winslow managed seven double-doubles on the and year and even recorded three in a row from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4. During the NCAA Tournament, Winslow averaged 14.3 points and 9.3 boards and shot 50.9 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from deep, helping the Blue Devils win the championship.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Duke’s Justise Winslow is the do-it-all wing for a new generation

Los Angeles Times: Justise Winslow has become more than just Duke’s other freshman

Sports Illustrated: Emerging star Justise Winslow guides Duke past Gonzaga, into Final Four 

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Justise Winslow,
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