Green Street
Don't forget to follow Trags on Twitter.
A Celtics Blog Blog Network

NBA draft prospect profile: Syracuse PF/C Rakeem Christmas

06.16.15 at 8:36 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Power forward/center

School: Syracuse

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 243 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-5

Key 2014-15 stats: 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 55.2 field goal percentage

Scouting report: A projected early second-rounder who helped his stock with a solid performance at the NBA combine, Christmas possesses a rare combination of size, strength and athleticism. He’s long, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, and can run the floor in transition, both offensively and defensively. His length helps him at both ends of the floor, especially on the glass. His size helps him work the low post, and he has great touch around the basket. He uses his size to his advantage when defending the low post, affecting shots and protecting the rim.

“I think he’s really helped himself,” Steven Pina, Christmas’ representative with ASM Sports, told after Christmas shined during the combine scrimmages. “I think that’s apparent in the number of teams that want him to come in and where they’re picking in the draft.”

The biggest knock on Christmas is his size. While he uses it to his advantage in the post, it will not translate to the NBA if he intends to keep his traditional position as center, according to many pundits. Another facet of his game which needs improvement is his passing. Experts believe he tends to panic when passing out of the post, leading to bad turnovers.

Notes: Christmas earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2014-15, along with All-ACC Defensive Team merits as well. He also was named a third-team All-American. After raising his scoring average from 5.8 to 17.5 from his junior year to his senior year, he was chosen as the conference’s Most Improved Player. Christmas grew up in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, but attended high school in Philadelphia. He got his degree at Syracuse (a B.S. in communications and rhetorical studies) in three years, playing last season as a grad student.

Related articles:

Bleacher Report: Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas shows why college development is crucial

SB Nation: Rakeem Christmas may have what the Celtics are looking for

Inquisitr: Rakeem Christmas sees draft stock rising after impressive performance at NBA combine

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Rakeem Christmas,

NBA draft prospect profile: D’Angelo Russell

06.15.15 at 6:32 pm ET
By   |   Comments

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

School: Ohio State

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 195 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9.75

Key 2014-2015 stats: 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 44.9 field goal percentage, 41.1 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Russell is advertised as a smart, cerebral point guard who can read the floor and make the tough passes to give teammates open looks. He most often gets compared to Brandon Roy, another savvy combo guard who could get to rim and make plays for teammates. Though he doesn’t showcase elite athleticism, Russell has the size and developing strength to potentially dominate the point guard position on offense and defense. His length is especially valuable on defense, as it allows him to blow up passing lanes and contest shots. His 3-point shooting has been a surprise, and with a field goal percentage of just under 45, he has proven himself a more than capable shooter. His ball-handling ability helps him navigate the pick and roll and either drive and dish or take the mid-range jumper. Russell’s decision-making is much more developed than one would expect out of a freshman, a trait that has helped him develop into a top-five projected pick.

According to former coach Thad Matta, Russell is everything a team can hope for in terms of character. “From the first time I began recruiting him, meeting him, then getting him to campus, he’s a very mature young man,” Matta said. “I think from the standpoint of how he views things, you know, the success that he’s had this year, he didn’t see it coming. We thought for sure kind of a two-year type guy. But I think that’s why he’s been so successful, because he doesn’t let that get in his head. He’s been a very committed teammate. He’s been very committed to Ohio State. He’€™s a pleasure to coach.”

Notes: Russell was a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection, and he also took home Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. Russell set an Ohio State freshman record by scoring 675 points, and his 19.3 ppg led all Division 1 freshmen.

Related articles: Regardless of position, Ohio State’s Russell could go No. 1 Guard Russell is a realistic option for Lakers at No. 2

Grantland: Who’s that guy? Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell!

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, D'Angelo Russell,

NBA draft prospect profile: Utah PG Delon Wright

06.15.15 at 2:11 pm ET
By   |   Comments

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

School: Utah

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 180 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2014-15 stats: 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.1 steals, 50.9 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Wright is a technically gifted point guard with the ability to affect the game significantly on both ends of the floor. He has the size and length to dominate smaller point guards on defense and attack them on offense. He has a well-developed instinct for the tempo and feel of the game, making smart decisions on the fast break and creating open shots for himself and teammates when the game slows down. He is efficient in all facets of the game, especially passing and rebounding, generating a 29.7 PER during his senior season.

A potential first-rounder, Wright will have to bulk up and work on his lateral agility according to some scouts. His 3-point shot also needs attention, as he nailed just .356 percent of his treys last season.

Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak lauds Wright’s all-around approach to the game that led the Utes to the Sweet 16 in 2015. “I said when he was coming to us that he was an absolute stat sheet stuffer,” Krystkowiak told, “but I think that’€™s pretty impressive when you look at Andrew Bogut and Andre Miller that played here more than two years, to put up those kind of numbers [1,000 points, 350 rebounds, 350 assists, 150 steals, 70 blocks].”

Notes: Wright became the Pac-12’s first player to win the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard. He was voted a consensus first-team All-American. Wright is the second player in Utah history to record more than 1,000 points, 350 rebounds, 350 assists, 150 steals and 70 blocks, and he did it in just two years. He is the younger brother of Trail Blazers small forward Dorell Wright.

Related articles: Utah’s Wright decision to stay for senior year pays off

Bleacher Report: Better point guard prospect, Delon Wright or Jerian Grant?

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Delon Wright,

NBA draft prospect profile: UNLV PF Christian Wood

06.15.15 at 11:08 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Power forward

School: UNLV

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Sept. 27)

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 220 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2014-15 stats: 15.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.6 blocks

Scouting report: Wood enters the draft with first-round ambitions as a versatile forward who has the potential to dominate on offense. He already has an above-average face-up game for his level and he can put the ball on the floor and drive it to the cup. Though his post game is not fully developed, his athleticism should allow him to grow quickly in the NBA. With a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Wood is a long, rangy defender with disruptive tendencies in the paint. His numbers showcase good shot-blocking ability and rebounding skills, both of which should only get better at the pro level.

Wood’s former coach Dave Rice highlights the sophomore’s rise from unheard of prospect to potential lottery pick. “He came to us two years ago as a guy who was not on anyone’s draft board, and now he’s on most draft boards,” Rice told “The feedback we received from the NBA indicated he will be drafted. I think it speaks volumes to how he developed as a player in our program. We wish him the best.”

Despite his length, many NBA pundits believe Wood will have to build strength in order to compete defensively on the block at the next level. Even in college, scouts observed him getting bullied in the post by larger, stronger forwards. While his face-up game is above average and still developing, his post game definitely will need work as he has limited experience in that arena.

Notes: Wood earned All-Mountain West second-team honors after averaging a double-double during the regular season. He finished fifth in the conference in scoring, second in rebounding and second in blocked shots. He totaled 18 double-doubles, the eighth most in the NCAA, and scored 20 points nine times.

Related articles:

Basketball Insiders: Christian Wood’s upside makes him intriguing prospect

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UNLV’s Christian Wood modeling game on Giannis, Anthony Davis

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Christian Wood,

NBA draft prospect profile: Syracuse PF Chris McCullough

06.15.15 at 8:30 am ET
By   |   Comments

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: Syracuse

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 220 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2014-15 stats: 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.7 steals, 2.1 blocks, 47.8 field goal percentage, 56.3 free throw percentage

Scouting report: Scouts and analysts like to say that McCullough is a fluid player with great size and length. He can be a threat in transition and has the ability to lengthen the floor with his shot beyond the arc. McCullough is a good rebounder, especially offensively, and can keep plays and possessions going for his team because of that. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express wrote that the 20-year-old “shows the framework of a versatile skill set for a NBA power forward, with flashes of promise in a few different areas that can hopefully be developed into a complete package of skills down the road.” McCullough also is talented at shot blocking and in his face-up game, and in contributing as an unselfish passer.

“I know Chris has a tremendous amount of talent,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “I think it can work out for him. I hope it works out for him. You have to make these decisions when you’re young. Somehow they find a way to work out.”

Like most college players making the jump to the NBA, McCullough can stand to add some more bulk onto his body in order to adjust to the professional level. His season-ending knee injury also could affect when he is drafted, as some teams might not be all that eager to spend a pick on him. Still, most mocks have him as a late-first round/early-second round option, which puts him right in the Celtics‘ range. What needs the most work for McCullough’s game is his free throw shooting, as he sunk just 56.3 percent of his attempts at Syracuse, his post game, his awareness and focus on both ends of the court and his shot selection.

Notes: McCullough started 16 games for Syracuse before tearing his ACL on Jan. 11 against Florida State and having season-ending surgery. Initially, the power forward said he would return to school for his sophomore season, but he opted to enter the draft instead. Prior to his injury McCullough posted three double-doubles, and the Orange were 12-4 with him in the lineup.

Related articles:

Yahoo! Sports: Syracuse’s Chris McCullough confident of move to NBA despite ACL injury How Chris McCullough could make Syracuse history in the NBA draft

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Chris McCullough,

NBA draft prospect profile: Virginia SG/SF Justin Anderson

06.14.15 at 4:32 pm ET
By   |   Comments

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: Shooting guard/small forward

School: Virginia

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 230 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2014-15 stats: 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 46.6 field goal percentage, 45.2 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Anderson is both a smart basketball player and a physical beast. At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, he is ready to play with the big boys of the NBA. The anticipated first-round pick is an explosive athlete, vertically leaping 43 inches at the NBA combine, and he is an extremely hard worker with a high motor on the court. He has shown himself to be a competent long-ranger shooter, nailing 45.2 percent of his shots from distance last year. Meanwhile, he is also capable of putting the ball on the floor and attacking the rim. In addition to his offensive game, Anderson set himself apart on a stingy Virginia defense. He has the versatility to guard multiple positions and he is a fantastic on-ball defender with instincts and lateral quickness.

The biggest knock on Anderson is his subpar ball-handling ability. Though he can create his own opportunities, he will struggle to produce the same volume in the NBA as he did in college, according to some scouts. One other red flag is his rebounding stats. At 6-foot-6, Anderson’s 4.0 boards a game could have been higher based on the competition.

Before a pinkie injury and an emergency appendectomy sidelined him midseason, Anderson was in contention to be an All-American, something NCAA Tournament foe and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo noted.

“Anderson, if you watch him before he got hurt, I think was playing at a whole other level,” Izzo told

Notes: Despite missing so many games due to injury, Anderson still finished as a finalist for the Julius Erving Award. He also earned All-ACC second-team honors, leading Virginia to its second consecutive ACC regular-season title. Anderson improved his 3-point shooting from 29.2 percent in his sophomore season to 45.2 in 2014-15. He was the 2013-14 ACC Sixth Man of the Year.

Related articles: Now with jumper, Virginia’s Anderson ready for the NBA

USA Today: Much-improved Justin Anderson an NBA draft sleeper pick

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Justin Anderson,

NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky PF/C Karl-Anthony Towns

06.14.15 at 1:36 pm ET
By   |   Comments

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: Center/power forward

School: Kentucky

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 250 pounds

Age: 19

Wingspan: 7-foot-3.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks

Scouting Report: Towns is a prototypical NBA big man. He is an excellent shot blocker and rebounder and is a good spot-up and free throw shooter. Towns has a strong inside-outside game. He is very strong and willing to endure physical play in the post. He possesses great court vision and passing ability, and is adept at finding the open man when doubled on the block.

“For a safe bet, if I was one or two, he’s safe,” a veteran personnel man told NBA analyst David Aldridge. “So you probably have to go with him because of that.”

A potential weakness is his relatively unrefined post offense, and his footwork and confidence on the block need work. Scouts note that Towns is not an explosive leaper, but he uses his length and excellent timing to be a good rim protector, averaging 4.3 blocks per 40 minutes of action. While talented as a defender, Towns frequently got himself in foul trouble while at Kentucky. He averaged almost six fouls per 40 minutes, and he needs to improve his ability to defend without putting his opponent at the charity stripe.

Notes: In many mock drafts, Towns is projected to be the top overall pick. If the Timberwolves don’t take him, he’ll likely be at least be a top-two pick; Towns and Duke big man Jahlil Okafor are projected to go first and second overall in some order. Towns was the SEC Freshman of the Year, All-SEC first team and a consensus All-American. Towns played with a team full of NBA prospects at Kentucky and is one of what could be as many as four Wildcats (along with Willie Cauley-Stein, Trevor Booker and Trey Lyles) taken in the top end of the first round.

Related Articles:

Business Insider: Karl-Anthony Towns Blowing People Away in Workouts

HoopsHype: Karl-Anthony Towns is a Renaissance Man

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Karl-Anthony Towns,
Celtics Box Score
Celtics Schedule
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines