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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Team’s biggest needs

06.23.14 at 10:28 am ET
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With Celtics fans focused on the fantasy of acquiring players like Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony, it’€™s easy to forget the plentiful attractive options in the 2014 NBA draft. With two first-round selections and the versatility to move or add more picks, fans should still be excited about the chance of building through the draft.

That’€™s one reason I published my 2014 NBA Draft Guide as a means of putting all of my research into one convenient 115-page package for fans and readers to download. This article includes a more in-depth look at what’€™s included for each club in the “€œteam needs”€ section of the book, but watch the video above to find out what else is included in the guide, which can be downloaded by clicking here.

The Celtics roster needs a lot of work this summer, but the three biggest draft needs are a rim protector, a sharpshooter and a go-to scorer. Below are five options for each need that could be addressed with either the No. 6 or 17 pick. Click on each player’s name to discover a more complete draft profile.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Aaron Gordon, Boston Celtics, Dante Exum

Celtics pre-draft chat with Ben Rohrbach

06.23.14 at 8:57 am ET
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With the draft now just three days away and the Summer of (Kevin) Love in full bloom, what’s the latest with the Celtics? Join WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach at noon on Monday to find out.

Live Blog Celtics pre-draft chat with WEEI.com’s Ben Rohrbach
 

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Celtics assistant Ron Adams leaves to join Warriors

06.23.14 at 8:28 am ET
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Celtics assistant coach Ron Adams will return closer to his home in California, accepting a similar position with the Warriors, according to The Boston Globe.

The 20-year NBA veteran served as the lead assistant in Brad Stevens‘ first season on the C’s bench, bringing much needed experience to a fledgling staff.

“I am very happy for Ron for him to have this opportunity to coach in his home state,” Stevens said in a statement to the media. “We all wish Ron nothing but the best, and appreciate all that he did during his year in Boston.”

After spending the 1970s and ’80s on college benches at Fresno Pacific, Fresno State, UC Santa Barbara and UNLV, Adams began his NBA coaching career as a Spurs assistant in 1992. He’s since held the same position for the 76ers, Bucks, Bulls and Thunder. Now, he’ll assist Steve Kerr in his first coaching stint.

Stevens must now fill the vacant position held by Adams. Jay Larranaga is the most likely in-house candidate, but the C’s may want to find another experienced mind to lead assistants Jamie Young, Micah Shrewsbury and Walter McCarty.

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Ron Adams,

Don’t forget: Danny Ainge loves to deal (remember 2006?)

06.22.14 at 7:30 am ET
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Let’€™s not forget Danny Ainge‘€™s history. He loves to trade away his lottery picks.

Everyone remembers 2007, when Ainge famously acquired Ray Allen from Seattle, which in turn brought Kevin Garnett to Boston. The Celtics traded away the No. 5 pick (Jeff Green) along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak in return for Allen as well as the No. 35 pick (Glen Davis). It really goes without saying, but that trade played an enormous role in the 2008 championship banner that now hangs in the TD Garden.

No one remembers 2006, when Ainge inexplicably gave away the No. 7 pick (Randy Foye) for minimal value. The pick was shipped to Portland along with Raef LaFrentz and Dan Dickau in exchange for Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a 2008 second-round pick. Foye was then swapped for Brandon Roy, who made three All-Star teams before a knee injury derailed his career. Who’€™s to say Roy wouldn’t have remained healthy in Boston, though?

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Telfair and Ratliff did happen to be involved in the Garnett deal a year later, but there’€™s no way anyone can argue that was part of Ainge’€™s master plan. Any other average point guard and expiring contract would have filled in just fine in Minnesota’€™s eyes.

At the time, the word was that Ainge favored Telfair over other guards in the 2006 draft. By doing so, he passed on the likes of Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry and Roy (whom the pick could have been traded for). In the end, the move didn’t hurt the Celtics at all, but at the time it was very controversial. 2014 is a much stronger draft class than ’06, but the lesson here is to keep in mind that Ainge has no problem dealing away a lottery pick in a questionable move.

Fortunately, for Celtics fans, there is another lesson. On the whole, Ainge is fantastic in the draft.

Let’€™s stay with the ’06 draft. One of the prospects Ainge was considering with the No. 7 pick, before trading it away, was Rajon Rondo. As we know, Ainge later purchased the No. 21 pick from the Suns and used it to select him anyway.

Today, Rondo is arguably the best player in his draft class. LaMarcus Aldridge (the No. 2 pick) probably believes otherwise, but either way, it’€™s one of the two. Which means Ainge snagged a top-two player in his draft class with the 21st overall pick. Impressive.

The lesson? Well, who knows … maybe the No. 17 pick in the 2014 draft could turn out to be an even better player than the No. 6 pick. Ainge has done it before.

Follow Julian Edlow on Twitter @julianedlow

Read More: Celtics, Danny Ainge, NBA Draft,

Austin Ainge admits his dad would’ve taken Kevin Durant over Greg Oden in 2007

06.21.14 at 2:54 pm ET
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Now we know.

In 2007, when the Celtics finished 24-58, they had a theoretical chance to finish first in the NBA draft lottery and choose between either Kevin Durant or Greg Oden.

On Saturday, as the Celtics continued to work out players for the 2014 NBA draft, Celtics director of player of personnel Austin Ainge announced what his father Danny would’ve done.

“€œI personally was not working here. But I was in college and I was in the draft room, and they would have taken Durant. I did have some inside information there,” Ainge said.

Of course, that became moot when the Celtics wound up with only the fifth pick of the draft class. Everything turned OK when Danny Ainge convinced Minnesota’s GM and good friend Kevin McHale to trade him Kevin Garnett for Al Jefferson before drafting Jeff Green at No. 5 and then swung a deal that netted Ray Allen. Oden was eventually chosen No. 1 overall by Portland while Durant was taken by the then-Seattle SuperSonics. Oden has been plagued by various injuries, including two bad knees and microfracture surgery. Oden played this season for the Heat.

Durant is the reigning NBA MVP, four-time scoring champ and led his team to the NBA finals in 2012.

Why is this relevant now?

The Celtics might get a chance to take another injury-riddled big man at No. 6 this year after it was revealed this week that Joel Embiid, another highly-touted center, has a stress fracture in his right foot. Throw in concerns about his back and those are serious medical red flags.

“€œProbably best not to share all of that, but I think we all want to know exactly what it is,”€ Ainge said. “€œEven when you have a lot of information, sometimes it’€™s still just a best guess. I’€™m not sure what the conclusions will be by the doctors. I’€™m sure, as with Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger when we drafted them, the medical staffs all had different opinions for every team. It’€™s hard to predict.”

The Celtics have had a track record of taking players with an injury background, taking Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger in previous drafts.

“It’€™s case by case. There have been many, many guys we passed on,’€ Ainge said. ‘€œOur medical staff told us to pass on Greg Oden, our medical staff told us to pass on Brandon Roy. Brandon ended up having some very good years, and that may or may not have been the right decision. It ended up costing them a lot of money in the end but he did give them a few great years ‘€“ four or five, I think, maybe six. So there’€™s two we’€™ve taken the chance on. There have been many others that we’€™ve not decided to (take a) chance on.”

Before picking Bradley, the Celtics were able to examine him and determine the extent of his ankle injury.

‘€œWith Jared, we weren’€™t (able to look at him),’€ Ainge said. ‘€œWe were just emailed and sent things. So it’€™s different. You just do the best you can.’€

Ainge acknowledged that taking Embiid would be a risk, given what is known so far.

“€œFoot and back, those are not good body parts to injure,” Ainge said. “We try to focus on the long-term health more than the short-term when you’re dealing with draft picks,” he added. “Free agency, it might be a little different. But when you’re drafting kids that are 19, 20, 21, it’s usually best to think: ‘Two years, five years down the road, will it be a concern?’ Those are the ones we usually try to avoid.”

The four that did work out on Saturday morning in Waltham were Louisville‘s Chane Behanan, UConn’s Niels Giffey, Glenn Robinson III of Michigan and St. John’s JaKarr Sampson.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Greg Oden, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant

Jeff Goodman on MFB: ‘I don’t know if Boston takes [Joel Embiid] if he slips to No. 6′

06.20.14 at 2:20 pm ET
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ESPN basketball reporter Jeff Goodman joined Middays with MFB to talk about the NBA draft. To hear the interview, go to the MFB udio on demand page.

Goodman reported Thursday that Kansas center Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his foot, an injury that could drop him from the top three to anywhere in the top 10 in next Thursday’s draft. Embiid could be available to the Celtics at No. 6, but Goodman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the C’s passed him up.

“I don’t know if Boston takes him if he slips to No. 6,” Goodman said. “He’s got the back issues, which is a concern, and now he’s got the foot issue that could put him on the shelf for the entire season this year. It would be tough for teams to take a shot on him because frankly if you’re a GM and you do that you get crucified if this guy isn’t able to play and be healthy throughout the early part of his NBA career.”

Added Goodman: “This is a big guy who weighed in at 270 pounds last I was told at a workout. A foot injury is significant. Listen, Yao Ming‘s career ended with a foot injury, a similar injury, and big guys are troublesome. In conjunction with the back issues, which is something that’s going to need to be certainly watched throughout his career, I just think it’s too much in a draft that is pretty good at the top.”

Goodman said if he were Celtics general manager Danny Ainge he would not take his chances with Embiid given his injury risk and the strength of the draft.

“If No. 6 were last year I would probably do it,” Goodman said. “No. 6 this year is going to be a good player. Not a franchise player, but if you evaluate correctly, the No. 6 pick could be a good No. 2 guy on your team. I think you take that and run with it if you’re confident in that player.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Jeff Goodman, Joel Embiid, Middays with MFB,

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Australia G Dante Exum

06.20.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

DANTE EXUM

Position: Combo guard
Country: Australia
Age: 18
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 196 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-9.5

Key 2013-14 stats (FIBA U19): 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists

Scouting report: Once a mystery man of the 2014 draft, Exum is now one of the stars and is even being discussed as a potential top-three selection — for good reason. Exum is a mastermind with the ball in his hands, possessing an elite first step with advanced dribble moves.

Even though he must continue to work on incorporating his off-hand, the talent is obviously there as he can penetrate the paint and get to the rim at will. This is where Exum excels, as he is able to finish creatively or dish it out to a teammate for an assist opportunity.

Exum still needs to develop his jumper, but he has already shown the ability to adjust his body while airborne, which is a skill many players his age don’€™t have. If he’€™s able to progress his perimeter skills, he could become a lethal scorer from all areas of the court.

On the defensive end, Exum is raw, as he doesn’t stay in his stance and often gets burned, especially off the ball. But with exceptional lateral quickness and long arms, he projects as someone who will eventually develop into an effective player that can defend multiple positions.

Exum might just be the steal of this year’€™s top 10. He has enough skill to be the best player from this draft class, but the limited amount of scouting opportunities certainly lessens the confidence one can have in that statement.

How he fits: Exum could slide in as a starter at either guard position, but he would more likely work as a backup behind both Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, giving the front office time to assess how to handle their future at the position.

Related articles:

Sporting News: The four games that made Dante Exum

Boston Globe: Dante Exum is an X factor from Australia

Video: NBA Draft video scouting report

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA. His 60-page 2014 NBA Draft Guide is available for download here.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Dante Exum,
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