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NBA draft prospect profile: UNLV PF Christian Wood

06.15.15 at 11:08 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).

CHRISTIAN WOOD

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 NBA.com. “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
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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).

CHRIS McCULLOUGH

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

Syracuse.com: 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
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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).

JUSTIN ANDERSON

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 NBA.com.

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:

NBA.com: 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
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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).

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

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

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NBA draft prospect profile: Duke PG Tyus Jones

06.14.15 at 10:32 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).

TYUS JONES

Position: Point guard

School: Duke

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 184 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-5

Key 2014-15 stats: 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 41.7 field goal percentage, 37.9 3-point field goal percentage, 88.9 free throw percentage, 2.86 assist-to-turnover ratio

Scouting report: Jones is slated to go in the late teens or early 20s of the first round when draft day arrives. His guard skills are regarded as excellent and he has a high basketball IQ, lauded for his playmaking ability. NBAdraft.net calls him a “point guard in the truest sense of the word with excellent court sense and feel for the game.” His success from deep is also encouraging, as is his proclivity to sink free throws. Jones is mature for being just 19 and does not make poor decisions on the court regularly by any means. Comfortable in leadership roles and able to tailor his play based on those around him, Jones looks to pass first and is capable of changing speeds to open up offensive opportunities. He played some of his best basketball in the biggest games of the season and is a very confident player.

“He’s going to get a lot better, but people have already seen him and know how he handles himself, especially in pressure situations and in the biggest games,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Jones announced his entry into the draft. “He comes through like a champion. I loved coaching him, and I believe he’ll be an outstanding professional.”

As an athlete, Jones does not leave zero doubts, as CBS Sports notes that his athleticism is “questionable on the highest level, but it hasn’t stopped him yet.” His size also hinders him a bit and he struggles back on defense some, being one of the smaller point guards at the NBA level. Adding some strength to his body will help him with that, but his height and wingspan don’t do him any favors.

Notes: Named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Jones also has All-ACC third team, All-ACC Freshman Team and USBWA All-District 3 accolades on the resume of his brief college career. He was named ACC Rookie of the Week four times over the course of the season and ranked second in the conference in free throw percentage (88.9) and assists (217) while coming in fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.86). That ratio itself was also a Duke rookie record, and his total assists are third on the freshman list. Jones is the second freshman in program history to tally 400 points and 200 assists in a rookie season, and his free throw percentage rates third against other past and present Duke freshmen. During the Blue Devils‘ tournament run to the national title, Jones averaged 13 points per game, 4.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 3.2 rebounds and a 91.7 percent success rate at the line through six games.

Jones met teammate and fellow prospect Jahlil Okafor when the two were 8 years old and they reunited six years later when both were trying out for the USA Basketball junior team. They became closer while playing for the U.S. team in Europe and, in ninth grade, made a pact to both attend the same college to play basketball. They and their families went through the recruiting process together and both chose Duke, looking for a school that would give them the best chance of winning.

Related articles:

CBS Sports: Tyus Jones becomes Duke’s biggest player in its ultimate comeback win

New York Times: A Duke Title, Just as Tyus Jones and Fellow Freshmen Planned It Long Ago

ESPN: Tyus Jones learns from his brother

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Tyus Jones,

NBA draft prospect profile: Bowling Green PF Richaun Holmes

06.13.15 at 11:18 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).

RICHAUN HOLMES

Position: Power forward

School: Bowling Green

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 243 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2014-15 stats: 14.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 56.3 field goal percentage, 41.9 3-point

Scouting report: Holmes is an athletic power forward with the build and the tools to become a prominent two-way threat. He has great length with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and near-elite jumping ability with a 36-inch vertical leap. His measurables helped him block 2.7 shots a game last season, good enough to earn him Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Mid-American Conference. He is also a fantastic rebounder, grabbing defensive boards at a 20 percent rate.

While his shooting percentages likely won’t hold up in the NBA, Holmes is working on his face-up game and has drastically improved his outside shooting. Though the potential second-rounder has the athleticism necessary to blossom into an efficient scorer, he has not demonstrated good passing abilities.

Former Bowling Green coach Chris Jans sings Holmes’ praises as a high-energy athlete with a huge impact on the game. “Richaun is a great all-around player,” Jans told NBA.com. “That’s what I love the most about him. When a lot of guys make first-team All-MAC, it’s because of their scoring, but Richaun has developed into an all-around player. He scores inside, he knocks 3’s down, he puts it on the floor, he rebounds the ball at a high level and he’s the main reason we have been fairly successful on the defensive end.”

Notes: Holmes played his freshman season at a junior college and still set the Bowling Green record for career blocks in three years with 244. Holmes was the only player in Bowling Green history to accumulate 1,000 points, 600 boards and 200 blocks for his career. Holmes averaged 14.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks at the highly-competitive Portsmouth Invitational, earning him a trip to Chicago for the draft combine.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Overlooked at every level, Bowling Green’s Richaun Holmes can do it all

Sports Illustrated: Richaun Holmes’ journey from an unknown entity to NBA draft sleeper

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

NBA draft prospect profile: Duke C Jahlil Okafor

06.13.15 at 7:34 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).

JAHLIL OKAFOR

Position: Center

School: Duke

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 270 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-5

Key 2014-15 stats: 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Scouting report: Predicted to go first or second overall, Okafor has drawn comparisons to Tim Duncan in terms of his post play and footwork. NBAdraft.net says he is “one of the most advanced low-post scorers the college game has seen quite some time” and compliments his enormous, soft hands. As he is double-teamed fairly regularly, Okafor is able to break the coverage and avoid being trapped. While making the jump from high school to college, he worked on and continues to work on his conditioning, which has helped his role in the transition game. Okafor is hard to defend one-on-one and draws a lot of fouls. What the center has trouble with is more the defensive side of the game than anything. He sometimes misses box-outs and is out of position. Okafor also could stand to improve at the free throw line, as he shot just 51 percent from the charity stripe this past season.

“I know I’m going to get better,” Okafor told Basketball Insiders. “I can get better at everything I do, and I always improve. I don’t think my defense was as bad as people made it out to be. We did win a national championship and all of my coaches were extremely happy with the way that I played on both ends of the floor. Also, I couldn’t get in to foul trouble and with the way our defense was set up, I wasn’t really in rim-protecting situations.

“Honestly, that is one of my flaws that I can improve on, but I can also improve on the offense end. Luckily, I’m 19 years old and I think I have a lot of time to improve my game.”

Notes: Okafor was a consensus first team All-America selection and was named National Freshman of the Year, ACC Player of the Year and ACC Freshman of the Year. He is the first freshman in league history to be named ACC Player of the Year. He broke Duke’s freshman records for double-digit scoring games (35), total rebounds (322), offensive rebounds (134) and dunks (64). He was the third freshman in ACC history to score at least 20 points and grab at least 20 boards in the same game when he did so on Dec. 15, 2014. He won a state title in high school in Illinois before capturing an NCAA championship at Duke, a winning legacy that impressed Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

Related articles:

Sporting News: Jahlil Okafor is out to change the NBA before it changes without him

Sports Illustrated: Jahlil Okafor Q&A: Duke, NBA Draft, Chicago basketball and more

SB Nation: For Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Jahlil Okafor is a question of philosophy

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Jahlil Okafor,
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