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NBA draft prospect profile: Murray State PG Cameron Payne

06.20.15 at 2:19 pm ET
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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: Murray State

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Aug. 8)

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 185 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2014-15 stats: 20.3 points, 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals, 37.3 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Payne is one of the most complete point guards available in the draft. He’s a long, deceivingly athletic scorer with a high basketball IQ and a great degree of competitiveness. Though he’s not the most athletic wing, Payne can drive and create plays off the dribble as a left-handed slasher similar to James Harden. The projected first-round talent is a selfless player who looks to find teammates in transition and off the bounce around the perimeter.

Although Payne’s length (6-foot-7 wingspan) is an attribute on the defensive side of the ball, he still needs to add weight, according to scouts. Additionally, he has a tendency to force the issue on offense, often playing too fast in transition, which led to his 2.5 turnovers per game last season.

According to former coach Steve Prohm, NBA teams can afford to overlook Payne’s current weaknesses and instead observe his upside.

“I’ve talked to a lot of NBA scouts, and Cameron is one kid that you can’€™t just sit there and pick apart his game,” Prohm said. “If he can get physically stronger, I think he’€™s got the IQ and the skill set to be an NBA All-Star.”

Notes: Payne led Murray State through a 25-game win-streak and a perfect 16-0 conference record before losing to Old Dominion in the NIT quarterfinals. Payne was named an honorable mention for the AP All-America team after leading Murray State in points (707), assists (87) and steals (68). He earned the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year distinction.

Related articles: Payne still making doubters pay for underestimating him

SB Nation: Murray State’s Cameron Payne has seen his NBA Draft stock soar

Bleacher Report: Meet Cameron Payne, America’s Most Overlooked Prospect

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Cameron Payne,

NBA draft prospect profile: LSU PF Jarell Martin

06.20.15 at 10:45 am ET
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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: LSU

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 235 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2014-15 stats: 16.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 51.0 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Martin’s best assets are his athleticism, rebounding ability, strength and versatility on offense. Averaging a little under a double-double per game, he is the ideal size for a power forward at the professional level and overpowered a lot of his opponents in college. CBS Sports calls him a “physical, explosive athlete” who boxes out well and has good mechanics to develop going forward.

“We don’t have anyone that can handle him one-on-one,” former Florida coach Billy Donovan said after Martin’s 28 points and 13 rebounds against the Gators on Feb. 21. “We never have and never will. He’s a terrific player. He can do it on his own. I think there are very few guys in the country where you can throw them the ball any spot on the floor and he can create a play for himself.”

However, for all Martin can do at the college level, he might have a hard time translating his talent directly to the NBA. He had trouble with turnovers during his sophomore season, averaging 2.8 per game, and might need some help with in-game decisions regarding the best way to score. His 3-pointer needs work, as he sunk under 28 percent of all his attempts during the 2014-15 season, and he could also spend time improving on defense. writes that he “seems more content to expend his energy on the offensive end of the floor” and isn’t much of a threat in terms of shot blocking. He’s expected to be drafted late in the first round or early in the second.

Notes: Martin was named an All-SEC first-team member in addition to being an AP All-America honorable mention this past season. His points per game was ranked third in the SEC, while his boards per contest were second on his team and third in the conference. His field goal percentage also was third in the SEC, and he made a team-best 140 free throws over the course of the season. In league play Martin averaged 16.0 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game. Martin posted 15 double-doubles last season, six of which came in his last 10 games of the season, and he ended with eight straight double-digit scoring games. As a freshman, Martin was an SEC All-Freshman Team selection, averaging 10.3 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game.

The power forward had many impressive plays during his sophomore season, but two that he’s noted for are a pair of dunks. The first, a windmill dunk, took place on Nov. 18, 2014, when LSU faced Texas Tech. Martin’s teammate’s cited the play as the turning point of the game, which the Tigers won, 69-64, in overtime after trailing by 12 at the half. The second was a between the legs dunk that he made Feb. 21 vs. Florida, two of his 28 points on the day.

LSU legend Shaquille O’Neal told a radio station in Baton Rouge that Martin and his teammate and fellow prospect Jordan Mickey are not ready for the NBA. “Yes, they’re talented. Yes, they can play,” he said. “But you want to just go to the NBA and play? Or do you want to have an impact? You want to get drafted? Or you want to be a high draft pick.”

Related articles:

Hoops Habit: Did Milwaukee Bucks promise to draft Jarell Martin? In year two LSU’s sophomore stars are shining bright to give the Tigers high hopes

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Jarell Martin,

NBA draft prospect profile: Latvia PF Kristaps Porzingis

06.20.15 at 7:36 am ET
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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

Country: Latvia (played for Baloncesto Sevilla in Spain)

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Aug. 2)

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 220 pounds

Key 2014-15 stats: 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks

Scouting report: Porzingis is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2015 draft. He is a lock to get picked in the lottery, and many mock drafts have him being selected in the top five. Porzingis is a relative unknown to most Americans, having played for both club and national teams in Europe. That being said, he has impressed scouts in workouts since crossing the Atlantic. His combination of size (big enough to be an NBA center) and athleticism make him very appealing. Porzingis’ stature helps him to be proficient as a rim protector. He can run the floor and create offense off the dribble.

Porzingis is a good shooter with a high and fluid release, canning 36 percent of his 3’s this year between Liga ACB and Eurocup play for Sevilla. This is an especially helpful skill to possess in the new-age NBA, with the game evolving and placing more importance on 3-point shooting. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! describes Porzingis as having Dirk Nowitzki‘s shooting touch and Pau Gasol‘s athleticism,€ which is about as high of praise as a European big man can receive.

“He’s always so calm,” Porzingis’ 32-year-old brother, Janis, a former European basketball star himself, said about him after a recent workout. “Think about this. He played like 50 games last season in ACB at 19 years old, and played like five bad games. I couldn’t do that at 25 years old, let alone 19.”

The most prominent knock on Porzingis seems to be his relatively slight build. To thrive as an interior presence in the NBA, he needs to add some bulk and get stronger. In European play this year, Porzingis didn’t rebound particularly well. While playing somewhat short minutes (21 per game), he could only pull down fewer than five boards per contest. They could also be a result of his skinny body type. However, Porzingis is still a teenager, not turning 20 until August. He has time to develop his body to the size it needs to reach for him to attain his potential as an NBA difference-maker.

Notes: Porzingis has twice been named to the ACB All-Young Players Team, in 2014 and 2015. His brother, Janis, is a former European basketball star and now helps to train Kristaps. Last year Kristaps declared for the draft but withdrew his name.

Since coming to the U.S. and working out for NBA teams and scouts, Porzingis has more than made a name for himself. He has climbed up draft boards and into the hearts and minds of basketball fans nationwide. The hype machine has churned out entire mailbags devoted to “Kristaps Porzingis mania.” The top two picks in the draft seem to be largely predetermined (with Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns going in some order), but Porzingis has been projected to go as high as the third pick to the 76ers. The Knicks (owners of the fourth pick) reportedly are intrigued by Porzingis’€™ potential ability to fit into Phil Jackson‘s triangle offense.

Porzingis worked out in Las Vegas on June 10 for a gaggle of media members and team executives, including high-ranking representatives from each of the teams with the first four picks in the draft.

Related articles:

Grantland: Who is Kristaps Porzingis?

SB Nation: Kristaps Porzingis could be the steal of the 2015 NBA draft

Business Insider: A 19-year-old Latvian prospect is blowing away NBA people in workouts, and some think he could be the best player in the draft

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Kristaps Porzingis,

NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky PF Trey Lyles

06.19.15 at 5:40 pm ET
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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: Kentucky

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 235 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-4

Key 2014-15 stats: 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 turnovers, 48.8 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Possessing great length, size and strength, Lyles is a smooth player with good touch, according to He has good physical tools along with a high basketball IQ, aware of when to create offense by the basket and when he’s better off floating back to the perimeter. The power forward is competitive and versatile, always one to hustle and do the little things well. Lyles is good at finding space away from the ball, per CBS Sports, and played most of the year as the three, though his true position is a four. Offensively, Lyles impresses most when he’s in the post and paint, showing good footwork, body control and a soft touch around the rim, writes He can score with both hands and attacks the basket well, too.

“He’s the one that makes us go from pretty good, to really good to, ‘Uh-oh, what am I watching?’ ” Kentucky coach John Calipari said of Lyles, who could go as early as the top 10.

Lyles can improve on his catch-and-shoot abilities as well as his defensive ones, per CBS Sports. He’s not very quick or explosive, struggling to defend individually, especially in space, and he needs to be more consistent from beyond the arc.

Notes: Lyles, whom Calipari called the “X-factor” of Kentucky’s 2014-15 season, was an All-SEC Freshman Team selection and earned conference Freshman of the Week honors twice over the course of the season. During the Wildcats’ tournament run, Lyles averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, including 11 points and 11 boards in his second double-double of the season March 21 against Cincinnati.

The power forward was born in Canada to a Canadian mother and an American father, growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, until he was 7 years old. Lyles’ father, Thomas, is from Indianapolis but moved to Canada to play for the Saskatoon Storm, a pro basketball team of the World League, and that’s where he met his wife, Jasenka. Trey even played some ice hockey for a time. The family moved back to Indiana in 2002, and Trey started playing basketball with his dad all day and into the night. As a senior in high school, Lyles was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball and guided his team at Arsenal Tech to a Class 4A state title, averaging 23.7 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Related articles:

The Globe and Mail: Kentucky’s Trey Lyles takes the basketball road less traveled

247Sports: For Lyles, UK-KU is home, sweet home

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Trey Lyles,

NBA draft prospect profile: Nebraska SF Terran Petteway

06.19.15 at 1:28 pm ET
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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: Small forward

School: Nebraska

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 215 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2014-15 stats: 18.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.4 turnovers, 1.1 steals, 39.6 field goal percentage, 31.3 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: Petteway, a projected second-rounder, is a “talented wing scorer with size and experience,” according to Coming off his junior season, the small forward is capable of sinking shots from all over and in all sorts of ways. Petteway is an aggressive scorer, good rebounder and finisher at the rim, as well as a good passer and ball handler, per His competitive spirit helps him stay engaged, and he always wants to make a play when he has the ball. Petteway also is great as a perimeter defender due to his length and energy, and he is skillful in transition as well. As a teammate, he’s known for being very supportive, positive and mature.

But Petteway still has improvements to make. He’s a bit prone to turnovers, as he averages 3.4 per game, and can sometimes play too fast and loose. In addition, the 22-year-old could also raise the level of consistency in his 3-point shots as well as his overall shooting and scoring efficiency. Petteway, while confident, is sometimes a bit too much so and he ends up forcing bad shots.

“He’s got to make better decisions,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “So where are you? He’s not a wing because he’s not 6-8 or 6-9. Even though he’s got great length — 6-11 3/4 — good athleticism. Still those [NBA] wings are big dudes. So he’s got to be either a shooter or playmaker. Then you’ve got your stars, and your role guys. Certainly he’s going to be a role guy. His role for us was to score. And it’ll be different there. There are teams that like him. There are teams that wonder where he’ll fit in. But anyone that drafts him will be glad they did. I think he’ll make their team better.”

Notes: Petteway began his college career at Texas Tech in 2011-12, then transferred to Nebraska following his freshman season. After sitting out 2012-13, Petteway made his debut the next year and was named to the All-Big Ten first team. This year, he was an All-Big Ten third-team selection. In his two years with the Huskers, he started every game and ranks 20th on the school’s career scoring list with 1,143 points. Petteway also holds two of the top 10 scoring seasons in program history. During his sophomore campaign he tallied 579 points, which ranks seventh on the list, and as a junior his 564 points were good for eighth. His 18.1 career points per game is second in school history, and he is one of two Nebraska players to score 1,000 points in his first two seasons. Petteway hit double-digit scoring in 59 of his 63 games at Nebraska, among other statistical heights he reached with the Huskers.

In the beginning of his junior season, Petteway didn’t look himself on the court for the first couple of months. In February, he announced that his mother, Joetta, was battling cancer, and in April she passed away.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Terran Petteway faces an uphill battle toward the NBA Terran Petteway returns home for mother’s funeral

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Terran Petteway,

NBA draft prospect profile: Turkey PG/SG Cedi Osman

06.19.15 at 10:24 am ET
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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/shooting guard

Country: Turkey (played last season for Anadolu Efes in Turkey)

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 190 pounds

Key 2014-15 stats: 18.7 minutes, 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists (Euroleague)

Scouting report: Osman is an intriguing prospect because he has the size and length to play three positions on offense and defense. The potential second-round pick pairs athleticism with a high motor. Though his shot needs work, according to some scouts, he is effective as a spot-up shooter and uses an above-average pump fake to attack the rim off the pass. He is effective defensively due to his size and length, which shone in transition defense with his Turkish team, Anadolu Efes.

By all accounts, Osman has the ball-handling and passing abilities to play the point in the NBA, pending his development of point guard skills.

“I think people over in Europe have a different idea on positioning than we do over here,” a veteran scout told “They think if a guy’s big enough and he can bring the ball over and initiate the offense, than he can play the point. And that’s not how we think over here. Osman is a pretty good passer, but he plays upright. They don’t play a lot of screen and roll over there, and the guard doesn’t have to make more point guard decisions. I see him more as a two who is a pretty good passer.”

Though Osman has good size and length, he still needs to add muscle to give him the ability to penetrate inside against powerful big men. According to scouts, despite his success shooting the ball, he also needs to work on his shooting mechanics in order to shorten his release.

Notes: Osman has declared he will stay in Europe for two years after the NBA draft. He played for the Turkish national team in the 2014 FIBA U-20 Euro championship. Turkey won the tournament and Osman was named MVP after scoring 20 points in the final against Spain. He has been member of the Turkish U-16 and U-18 national teams, he played at the 2011 European U-16 Championship and at the 2012 European U-18 Championship.

Related articles:

Hoops Hype: Young phenom Cedi Osman has eyes on NBA

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Cedi Osman,

NBA draft prospect profile: UCLA SG Norman Powell

06.19.15 at 7:12 am ET
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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

School: UCLA

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 215 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2014-15 stats: 16.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists

Scouting report: Powell is an athletic two-guard with attributes on both ends of the floor. A potential late-first or early-second-round pick, he is an athletic and versatile offensive player who is at his best when he attacks the rim. He has above-average finishing skills and the leaping ability to get his arms over rim protectors. On the defensive side of the ball, his skills have drawn comparisons to Tony Allen. His 6-foot-11 wingspan helps him closeout quickly and shut down his man when playing on-ball defense. He also has the physicality to fight through screens.

‘€œNorman Powell is a phenomenal athlete,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle told “He gets a head of steam going, he is hard to deal with.’€

The major criticism scouts have of Powell is his size. At 6-foot-4, he will have to prove he can finish at the rim and defend his position at the next level. Additionally, he will have to work on his perimeter shooting, as he made just 31.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2014-15. Scouts also say that Powell needs to work on his court vision because his passing could use some development.

Notes: Powell made the All-Pac-12 first team after earning conference Player of the Week honors three times last season. He didn’t miss a game during his entire career at UCLA (141 total) and he started the last 75. He averaged a team-high 17 points in postseason play.

Related articles:

Los Angeles Daily News: UCLA’€™s Norman Powell believes his experience, leadership will translate to NBA

The Salt Lake Tribune: UCLA’€™s Norman Powell finally ready for NBA dream

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Norman Powell,
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