Green Street
NEED TO KNOW
Don't forget to follow Ben on Twitter.
A WEEI.com Celtics Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Celtics will pick from worthy group of 4

05.22.14 at 9:43 am ET
By   |   Comments

The sobering truth of the Celtics‘€™ 57-loss season is now settling in. All it was worth is the No. 6 overall pick in June’€™s NBA draft. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers won the lottery for a third time in four years since LeBron James left for Miami — this time with a 1.7 percent chance — seriously? Anyway, there’€™s a lot of chatter about whom Boston should use the pick on, as well as what to trade it for.

If Danny Ainge chooses to (or is forced to) use the pick, he most likely will be left with three worthy prospects to select from. But before discussing them, let’€™s be clear. Using this pick signifies heading into a full-on rebuild; one that probably doesn’€™t include Rajon Rondo. If I’€™m Ainge, I use the pick (along with any assets it takes) to go after Kevin Love at all costs.

Pairing Rondo and Love would put the most difficult stage of getting back into contention behind us. Boston likely still would have a few assets left over, along with the cap space to find the third star it takes to win in this league. For argument’s sake, let’€™s say Ainge goes the opposite direction. Here’€™s how the draft should shake down.

Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are essentially locks to be taken in some order with the first three picks. And the Magic are one of the teams most intrigued by Dante Exum, making it tough to see them passing on the Australian guard when they pick fourth.

The Jazz are the mystery team. Will they keep the fifth pick or trade it? Regardless, the team in that spot will be picking from four players, in all likelihood. Which leaves Ainge taking one of the remaining three top-level prospects. The following are the four players projected to be taken with picks 5-8.

Noah Vonleh, Indiana, freshman: 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks

As I mentioned in my last column, Vonleh was the big winner of the combine — to the point that he is viewed as the player most likely to be picked fifth overall. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum, I see Vonleh as the eighth-best player in the draft. Still, he would be a decent fit in Boston. This is primarily because he is a much different player than Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk.

Read the rest of this entry »

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UCLA SG Jordan Adams

05.22.14 at 9:11 am ET
By   |   Comments

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.

JORDAN ADAMS

Position: Shooting guard
School: UCLA
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 209
Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2013-14 stats: 17.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 54.5 eFG%

Scouting report: Advanced analytics draft models love Adams because he efficiently (28.3 PER, 60.3 TS%, 54.5% eFG%) fills up the box score with points (17.4), rebounds (5.3), steals (2.6) and assists (2.3). Adams just always seems to be around the ball, as he has exceptional instincts and, of course, actual basketball skills.

Adams might not be a star in the pros like he was at UCLA, but he’€™s a sure bet to at least be a contributing player. He’€™s a terrific shooter (35.6 3P%), but it’€™s how he gets his shots that counts most. He is incredible at hugging close to off-ball screens and creating space before he receives the pass, which is likely something he will do at some point in the NBA. But he also has fantastic mechanics when spotting up or off the dribble., which are two necessary attributes for any great shooter.

Adams also brings great man-to-man and team defense. Though his lateral quickness and athleticism won’€™t wow anyone, he knows how to stay in position and use his long 82-inch wingspan to disturb ball-handlers and get in the way of the passing lanes.

For a player with very few warts, it’€™s surprising that Adams isn’t a consensus lottery pick, but he lacks the elite upside of many prospects, which certainly stifles his ceiling as a pro. Not every star player in the league has freakish measurables, but it’€™s difficult for a 6-foot-5 guard with only average speed and athleticism to be any more than a “plus role player.” But there’€™s nothing wrong with that, because every championship team needs players like that.

How he fits: At the 17th pick, the Celtics may prefer to choose the best player available, and Adams certainly could be the one. With versatile scoring skills and quality defense, Adams filled up the box score at UCLA and could do the same in the NBA.

Related articles:

Los Angeles Times: UCLA guard Jordan Adams’ family goes the extra mile

Sports Illustrated: Jordan Adams changes mind and enters NBA draft

Video: Here is a video of Jordan Adams scoring 21 points against Nevada.

(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, Jordan Adams, NBA

NBA draft lottery: Celtics receive 6th pick

05.20.14 at 8:40 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Even Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca‘s lucky Rooster of Barcelos couldn’t help the team’s string of tough lottery luck, as the C’s landed the pick they were most likely to receive — sixth overall. As a result, any hope of selecting Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid flew the coop.

After losing the coin flip to the Jazz, the Celtics had a 34.2 percent chance at the sixth pick — by far the most likely scenario — and a 33.4 percent shot at the top three. The odds seem to be forever not in their favor.

“We were all disappointed, but at the same time, we were prepared for this,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “We knew that this was a strong possibility. It’€™s a momentary disappointment. You hope to get the lucky ball, but now we have some clarity and some marching orders.”

Meanwhile, in the biggest surprise of the evening, the Cavaliers received the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in the past four years. Cleveland had a 1.7 percent chance of picking first again.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Milwaukee Bucks
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. Orlando Magic
5. Utah Jazz
6. Boston Celtics
7. Los Angeles Lakers
8. Sacramento Kings
9. Charlotte Hornets
10. Philadelphia 76ers
11. Denver Nuggets
12. Orlando Magic
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
14. Phoenix Suns

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA,

Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Takeaways from combine

05.20.14 at 4:50 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The NFL draft combine represents some of the biggest days in a college football star’€™s life. Prospects are held under a microscope and are heavily graded on their performance. The findings have the ability to swing a player’€™s draft stock significantly one direction or the other. The NBA draft combine, which was held in Chicago last Wednesday through Sunday, holds a very different kind of meaning.

Much less stock is invested in the drills at the NBA combine, but they still have it, so I’€™m going to write about it. For starters, the three big names who make winning a top-three pick in Tuesday’s draft lottery so crucial were no-shows. Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid felt they had nothing to gain by showing up, which probably was the right call. The last thing any of them need is a fluke injury while showing scouts they can dribble around cones. Their absence made it much less entertaining for those of us who watched all 15 hours of coverage (which might be just me).

As ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla kept repeating, the whole process is really just a job interview. This is spot on. There’€™s not that much you can learn by watching basketball players run and jump that you haven’€™t already seen in game action. Scouts are always enamored with a prospect’€™s measurements, though. If you’€™re an NBA general manager who doesn’€™t know that Aaron Gordon is going to test well on the vertical jump, or that Dante Exum is going to test well in the agility drills, then you haven’€™t been doing your job.

This is why the personal interview process is so important at the combine. But we don’€™t have access to that (the in-depth interviews behind closed doors, at least), so here are some takeaways worth noting.

– The highest max vertical leaps belonged to Jahii Carson and Markel Brown at 43 1/2 inches. No one cared, however, as Wiggins’€™ agent conveniently released an image of his client displaying his 44-inch vertical in his own training session. Looks like it was the right call to not show up, seeing that everyone was talking about Wiggins anyway.

– Everyone, literally everyone, wanted to see Exum. This was the first chance many GMs got to watch Exum in person. Of course, they didn’€™t even get to see him play, just participate in athletic testing. Exum is a high-character kid, as expected he did a fantastic job in his interviews. I would be very nervous using a top-five pick on him hardly seeing him actually play basketball, though. During the draft process he will only be working out alone. Most of the top prospects operate this way, but we have seen all of them compete on the floor in college. People who have seen Exum play the most — Chad Ford and Franschilla — believe he will develop into a star. But have they even seen enough of him?

Marcus Smart is a guy considered a lesser talent than Exum, but I’€™m not convinced that’€™s true. Not to say Exum won’€™t be better, my eyes just haven’€™t seen anything to convince me of that yet. By many accounts, Exum has a similar body at 18 years old to Michael Jordan. So did Lenny Cook — how’€™d that work out? Smart is a passionate player. Danny Ainge says he loves Smart’€™s ‘€œfire,’€ which some look at as an attitude problem. I tend to agree with Ainge here. Smart is a big, physical guard who always plays aggressive. He needs to improve his jump shot, but so does Exum. Let’€™s just say Smart has more of a chance to be Russell Westbrook than Exum has to be Jordan. Exum vs. Smart is almost turning into a Wiggins vs. Parker argument in my mind. Do you want the elite prospect with the athletic gifts? Or do you want the better player right now? Who says Smart and Parker won’€™t still grow in the NBA?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dante Exum, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Marcus Smart

Celtics’ draft lottery history revisited

05.20.14 at 1:40 pm ET
By   |   Comments

The Celtics will take part in the NBA draft lottery for the 10th time in team history on Tuesday night, coming in with the fifth-best odds (10.3 percent) at landing the top pick in the June 26 draft. Here is a look at how the C’s have fared since the ping pong balls were instituted in 1985.

1986: The Celtics won 67 games, went 40-1 at home and won their 16th NBA title in 1986, and then they landed the No. 2 pick in the draft courtesy of the Seattle SuperSonics. The C’s traded Gerald Henderson for Seattle’s 1986 first-round pick, and the Sonics finished the 1986 campaign with the fifth-worst record in the league.

The Celtics drafted University of Maryland star Len Bias with the second overall pick. Bias was heralded as a potential star who could preserve the C’s run as an NBA power with the end of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish‘s careers in sight, but those hopes ended tragically two days later when Bias died of a cocaine overdose.

1994: The Celtics finished with the ninth-worst record in the NBA following a 32-50 season and didn’t move from their position after the lottery, landing the No. 9 pick in the draft. Boston used that pick to select North Carolina center Eric Montross. Montross played just two of his eight NBA seasons with the Celtics.

1997: The 1997 draft lottery is one that lives in infamy for many Celtics fans. The C’s finished with the worst record in franchise history and the league’s second-worst mark at 15-67, but they lost out on the Tim Duncan sweepstakes by finishing third in the lottery. Boston also got the No. 6 pick from a trade with the Mavericks, who finished with the sixth-worst record.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Celtics, NBA draft lottery,

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Duke SF Jabari Parker

05.20.14 at 9:00 am ET
By   |   Comments

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.

JABARI PARKER

Position: Small forward
School: Duke
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 240 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2013-14 stats: 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.1 steals

Scouting report: Parker brings one of the most complete and NBA-ready skill sets to the draft. With close, mid and deep scoring proficiencies, Parker’€™s versatility will help him during his adjustment to the pro game.

If anything, Parker’€™s skills are better suited for the NBA than they were the college game. In college, the clogged lane didn’t allow for him to utilize his fantastic ball-handling abilities to drive from the wing to the basket. Instead, most of Parker’€™s at-basket opportunities came as a result of his ferociousness when attacking the offensive boards.

Like most 19-year-olds, the 6-foot-8 forward experienced his inconsistencies shooting the ball. But Parker’€™s ability to hit shots both off the dribble and spotting up will be valuable. Additionally, it’€™s his ability to hit off-balance shots that separate him from many of the other forwards, not just in the draft but also in the entire NBA.

Parker will have his issues as a man-to-man defender due to his average lateral quickness, but he is a solid team defender and has a knack for blocking shots from the weak side. There’s also a chance that Parker’s individual defense will improve once he shreds his baby fat and turns it into pure muscle, which could happen if he is drafted into the proper environment.

Parker arguably has the highest upside of any player in this draft because of his scoring prowess. He also seems like a high character individual and a potential leader. This added personality bonus is only the cherry on top for a player who has all the physical tools to be an All-Star caliber player.

How he fits: Go-to scorers are hard to come by, and Parker could possibly fill that void. He has inside and outside scoring potential, and the perfect attitude for the job. If the Celtics are fortunate enough to have their choice, Parker might be their man.

Related articles:

Dean On Draft: Is he the next Melo fellow?

Sports Illustrated: Jabari Parker writes about decision to leave Duke

Video: Here is a video of Parker’€™s amazing life story.

(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, Jabari Parker, NBA

Irish Coffee: Valuing Celtics lottery trade potential

05.20.14 at 2:40 am ET
By   |   Comments

As the Celtics await their NBA lottery fate Tuesday, when Danny Ainge learns his reward for watching this past abysmal season, let’€™s keep in mind the potential trade value of a pick that could range anywhere from 1-8.

If Ainge hopes to land Kevin Love or make another draft-day trade, using this lottery bait, he must™ weigh the relative merits of keeping or trading the pick. A look back at deals involving top-eight selections over the last decade offers some insight into a) the level of talent each pick fetches in return, and b) who actually wins these trades.

2013

6. Nerlens Noel, 76ers

On draft day, Philadelphia surprisingly sent All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the No. 42 pick (Pierre Jackson) to the Pelicans for the right to draft Noel and a protected 2014 first-round selection. The winner of this trade remains to be seen. Still, if Holiday landed a top-six pick, what’€™s Rajon Rondo worth? A top-three pick?

2012

6. Damian Lillard, Blazers

In possibly the decade’€™s worst trade, the Nets exchanged this lottery pick, Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams for Portland’€™s Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline. Just a hunch, but I’m guessing the Celtics would have no such luck dealing Wallace for Julius Randle come draft night.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love
2013 NBA Draft Board
2014 NBA Draft
Celtics Headlines
NBA Headlines