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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Bosnia C Jusuf Nurkic

06.12.14 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.

JUSUF NURKIC

Position: Center
Country: Bosnia
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-11
Weight: 280 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2013-14 stats (Adriatic League): 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 34.6 PER

Scouting report: Only 19 years old, Nurkic is one of the most dominant players in the talented Adriatic League. He only plays 15.4 minutes per game, but produced a 34.6 PER during that time this season, which is why he’€™s a projected first-round draft pick.

He may be chubby, but Nurkic has some of the quickest feet of the bigs in the draft, giving him potential as a rim protector. Using his long 86-inch wingspan, Nurkic is able to quickly hedge on the pick and roll and get back to the paint in time to protect the rim. He doesn’t block a lot of shots since his vertical is underwhelming, but he’s able to deter shots due to his presence.

But Nurkic’s offense is arguably the most appealing. He’€™s young and has a savvy post game, including a virtually unblockable spin into a jump hook go-to move. He has outstanding footwork and does a great job “finding the blue sky,” even if he’€™s not dunking over defenders.

Nurkic’s warts as a player stem from mental mistakes; he’s extremely foul prone (7.9 per 40 minutes), since he jumps at the sight of any movement and carelessly hacks opponents. He also seems to get down on himself and overreacts to bad calls by complaining to the referees or ignoring his coaches. Will Nurkic be able to endure the trials and tribulations of the NBA? If he can, he may turn out to be a steal on draft night.

How he fits: Drafting Nurkic with the No. 17 pick would give the Celtics a true center prospect they could draft and stash for two years as he develops his skills.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: Adriatic League final four analysis

Fansided: Is Jusuf Nurkic the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili?

Video: Here is a video scouting report of Nurkic.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Jusuf Nurkic, NBA

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Oklahoma State G Marcus Smart

06.11.14 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.

MARCUS SMART

Position: Guard
School: Oklahoma State
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 227 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2013-14 stats: 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists

Scouting report: Smart is one of the best perimeter defenders in this year’€™s class. He’€™s a total bully on-ball and rarely allows ball-handlers to get by him. It’€™s a virtual lock that NBA teams will be able to assign him to an opponent’€™s best player with the mission of locking them down. Smart also racks up steals at a high rate because of his intelligent off-ball defense, on-point rotations and instincts.

Smart’€™s bulldog mentality also applies to the offensive end, where he powers his way to the rim with the ball and draws fouls on over half of his field goal attempts. He’€™s so skilled at finding space and scoring near the rim, but there are concerns about his perimeter jumper. He has a bit of a clunky form and may struggle shooting at the beginning of his career, but his penetration skills may be good enough to compensate.

In terms of position, Smart can clearly defend point and shooting guards, but where he’€™ll play on offense is up in the air. He lacks the true point guard skills in that he’€™s an average passer, but that’€™s the case for so many point guards in today’€™s NBA. Since he’€™s only 6-foot-3, he’€™ll probably mostly play point and flourish.

How he fits: Drafting Smart would give the Celtics “time.” How’€™s that? They wouldn’t be forced to make a decision between Avery Bradley and Jeff Green the way they might if they draft a wing. Bringing Smart to Boston allows him to slide in behind both Bradley and Rajon Rondo, giving the Celtics front office time to make a decision on Rondo’€™s future with the team.

Related articles:

Dean On Draft: Marcus Smart vs. Andrew Wiggins: Who was the best Big 12 perimeter defender?

Fansided: NBA Draft 2014: Forget Dante Exum, what about Marcus Smart?

Video: Here is a video of Smart’€™s pre-draft workout.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, NBA

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kansas G/F Andrew Wiggins

06.10.14 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.

ANDREW WIGGINS

Position: Wing
School: Kansas
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 200 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot

Key 2013-14 stats: 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Scouting report: Of all the players in the 2014 NBA draft, none have been more scrutinized than Wiggins. The 19-year-old forward was expected to be the next LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but he didn’€™t flash that potential at Kansas. However, it was unfair to set the bar that high, since no scout thought he’€™d be that in the first place.

Wiggins did exactly what teams expected him to do, showing off his godlike athleticism, smooth shooting and defensive potential. He’€™s one of the best athletes in the draft, with long arms and a reportedly insane 44-inch vertical.

But he also has skill as a shooter, often displaying an effortless 3-point shot. He needs to improve his consistency, but his ability to drain perimeter jumpers off the catch and the dribble automatically gives him potential as a role player — at a minimum.

The main concerns with Wiggins are his high dribble and playmaking ability. Wiggins’€™ dribble is high, which means he tends to get so loose with the ball that defenders are able to strip him. His upright stance doesn’t allow him to change directions very quickly, so that limits his ability to create offense for himself and others.

How he fits: It’€™s unlikely we’€™ll see Wiggins in a Celtics uniform next season, but he’€™d provide the team a highly athletic player with elite upside on both ends of the floor.

Related articles:

ESPN: Top draft choices for tanking teams

Yahoo Sports: Kevin Durant says Andrew Wiggins has ‘Hall of Famer, All-Star’ potential

Video: Here are highlights from the best game of Wiggins’€™ college career.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Andrew Wiggins, Boston Celtics,

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UCLA PF Kyle Anderson

06.09.14 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.

KYLE ANDERSON

Position: Power forward
School: UCLA
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 230 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2013-14 stats: 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists

Scouting report: Anderson is naturally a point guard, but it’s hard to see him playing that position in the NBA. Even though he is an outstanding passer, he is not athletic enough to defend guards and he lacks the elite ball-handling ability to create offense like he did in college.

On the upside, Anderson could make the shift to power forward and retain his incredible guard skills. Doing this would also minimize his lack of athletic ability, since he’d be playing with players of a similar speed. Anderson would need to add about 20 pounds of muscle to defend, but he has the frame to support the weight.

Playing power forward, the UCLA product could showcase his true role player attributes in the form of spot-up shooting and playmaking. He could, in a sense, be a player in the mold of a Boris Diaw or Lamar Odom. Those players had long careers as glue guys, and their teams always seemed to play smoothly when they were in the game.

How he fits: Brad Stevens likes his offense to move the ball and shoot the 3, and Anderson could come right in and do both of those things at a high level.

Related articles:

CelticsLife: Kyle Anderson stands out in Celtics workout

Bleacher Report: NBA comparisons for UCLA’s Kyle Anderson

Video: Here is a video scouting report of Anderson.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Kyle Anderson, NBA

Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Could Carmelo Anthony be a fit with Celtics?

06.06.14 at 12:10 pm ET
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In case you missed it, Kevin Love pretty much became a member of the Celtics this past weekend. Ben Rohrbach filled us in on the worst-kept secret in Boston, as Love was essentially a public attraction all weekend long.

Operating under the assumption that Love indeed ends up in Boston, the search for the third member of the next ‘€œBig Three’€ already is underway. And unless you’€™ve been sleeping under a rock, you’re aware that Carmelo Anthony is the hot name to join forces with Love and Rajon Rondo and generate the next great era of Celtics basketball.

The problem is that many of us don’€™t like Melo as a team player, myself included. Despite his unique talent, he can be selfish and tends to have tunnel vision toward scoring the ball, blocking out the rest of the intangibles that result in … what’€™s the word I’€™m looing for? Oh yeah, winning.

So obviously the Celtics have no reason to add a player like that to their roster, right? Wrong. There is no alternative out there to Anthony, so Danny Ainge has to take what he can get. From there, the goal is to make Anthony fit in Boston, and here’€™s how you do it.

Melo clearly would be relied upon to score in Boston, it’€™s the most natural part of his game. But guess what? Anthony also is a good rebounder and passer who has the tools be a good defender. Similar to Paul Pierce, bringing those skills out of him is what could transform Anthony into a winning player late in his career.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Danny Ainge, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse PG Tyler Ennis

06.06.14 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.

TYLER ENNIS

Position: Point guard
School: Syracuse
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-2.5
Weight: 181 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2013-14 stats: 12.9 points, 5.5 assists, 2.1 steals

Scouting report: Pure point guards are an endangered species in the NBA, but Ennis is one of them. He’€™s a pass-first pure point guard that utilizes excellent ball-handling skills to create space, which usually leads to open looks for teammates.

Ennis had a highly efficient 3.22 assist-to-turnover ratio, but his statistics probably would’€™ve been even more impressive had better perimeter shooters surrounded him. Of course, he probably will have that in the NBA, which bodes well for his potential as a distributor.

That increased spacing will also create opportunities for him as a scorer, since he is quite a solid shooter, at 35.3 percent from 3 last year. The Syracuse product is impressive off the dribble, which is normal for point guards, but he can also shoot off the catch, allowing him to play off-ball in a number of different situations.

Ennis is only an average defender and lacks a spectacular first step, so he probably won’€™t ever become one of the NBA’s top point guards, but he’€™s going to be a good backup, at worst, with the ceiling of a high-end starter.

How he fits: Ennis would give the Celtics an immediate upgrade at the backup point guard position, and a potential heir apparent to Rajon Rondo, if he’€™s traded.

Related articles:

Toronto Sun: Dream come true for Tyler Ennis working for the Raptors

ZagsBlog: Boeheim discusses Ennis’ decision to go pro

Video: Here is a highlight reel of Ennis’€™ game versus Duke.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, NBA, Tyler Ennis

Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo wakes up America

06.05.14 at 12:57 pm ET
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Promoting the NBA Finals, Rajon Rondo appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday wearing a jean vest of some sort and addressed a few fan questions for the show’s Instagram account.

The biggest thing we learned — other than the fact Channing Tatum may be a better Pop-A-Shot player than the Celtics point guard — is that Rondo finally made his desire for “big changes” this summer public. He’s skirted similar questions about this offseason’s supposed “fireworks” in recent interviews, so there’s that.

“Hopefully this summer we’re going to make some big changes, get the ball rolling and get back in the finals pretty soon,” said Rondo. “I know [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge is doing his job, and I’m going to go out every summer, do my job and get better.” (Might want to work on that Pop-A-Shot game, too.)

Here are Rondo’s responses to some more questions submitted by fans on Twitter.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo,
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