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Stephen A. Smith on D&C: ‘If Kevin Love wants to win, Boston is not the place to go right now’

06.03.14 at 10:15 am ET
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ESPN NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday to discuss Kevin Love, the Celtics and the NBA Finals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Love was spotted in Boston this past weekend on a tour of the city that included a trip to Fenway Park for Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays game. The Celtics have the assets to trade for Love, who reportedly wants out of Minnesota to play for a contender, but Smith said the odds are against Love ending up in Boston.

“Anything is possible, you can’€™t rule it out,” Smith said. “Danny Ainge has pulled off some heists in the past, we all know that. Not everybody is his friend like Kevin McHale was when he was in Boston and gift-wrapped Kevin Garnett. Regardless, you never know what he can pull off.

“In the end, however, Kevin Love says he wants to be with a contender. He mentioned Chicago, he mentioned Golden State. Boston simply doesn’t fall into that equation at this particular moment in time. It’€™s not something that I believe is plausible. … The Boston Celtics at this juncture are in a rebuilding mode and simply not good enough. If Kevin Love wants to win, Boston is not the place to go right now.”

What makes the Celtics worthy suitors for Love is their bevy of draft picks over the next five years thanks in large part to their blockbuster trade that sent Paul Pierce and Garnett to the Nets last summer. However, Smith sees Love as worth no more than “a first-round pick and a decent player or two on your roster.”

Love’s trip to Fenway on Sunday was capped off by a brief exchange with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Acquiring Love to play with Rondo would undoubtedly make the Celtics a better team, but, according to Smith, not good enough to contend for a title. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dennis & Callahan, Kevin Love, Stephen A. Smith,

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: France C Clint Capela

06.03.14 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.

CLINT CAPELA

Position: Center
Country: France
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-11
Weight: 222 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-4.5

Key 2013-14 stats (France Pro A League): 9.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks

Scouting report: Capela was considered a lottery pick before the Nike Hoop Summit in April, but he struggled and saw his stock drop to the back of the first round. There’€™s a chance he withdraws from the draft, since he could see his status increase next year, but if he stays, teams will start to think about him towards the middle of the first because of his potential as an elite rim protector and rebounder.

Only 20 years old, Capela led the French A League in PER (24.9), block percentage (7.9), and total rebound percentage (21.2) — remarkable numbers for his age, considering the he’s still immature physically. In a league full of men, he put up spectacular numbers because of his freakish athleticism and natural skills.

But Capela has a high chance of becoming a bust because of his incredibly low basketball IQ. Not every raw athletic international player develops as well as Serge Ibaka did, though he certainly has that type of upside.

In a deep draft full of talent, it’€™s easy to see Capela slipping, but the talent pool is also lacking defensive-oriented centers, which helps boost his stock despite the concerns.

How he fits: If the Celtics are looking at a slow rebuild, Capela would be a quality option with the 17th pick since they could draft-and-stash him before reaping the rewards in the future.

Related articles:

ESPN Insider: Nike Hoop Summit: Top prospects

Celtics.com: Clint Capela draft profile and interview

Video: Here is a video of Capela shining during a scrimmage.

(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, Clint Capela, NBA

Irish Coffee: Boston and The Kevin Love Freedom Tour

06.02.14 at 10:40 am ET
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Indulge me for a moment. If you were Kevin Love, the hottest NBA name not still playing basketball, and you were looking for a vacation, as Timberwolves president suggested over the weekend, would you come to Boston?

Don’t get me wrong. The Freedom Trail, Fenway Park and Newbury Street make for a nice little weekend and all, but if you’re looking to escape the never-ending trade rumor mill, wouldn’t you prefer an all-inclusive resort in, say, Hawaii over clam chowder and a Sam Adams? He’s got a nine-figure payday coming soon, after all.

Hey, maybe he’s a nerd at heart, trying to discover analytics at Harvard that can take his game to the next level.

Maybe the folks at Newbury Comics hooked him up with an early copy of the new 50 Cent album dropping Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kevin Love, NBA,

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: N.C. State F T.J. Warren

06.02.14 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.

T.J. WARREN

Position: Forward
School: N.C. State
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 220 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2013-14 stats: 24.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 31.3 PER

Scouting report: It’€™s a shame that T.J. Warren has one of the most broken jump shots of all potential first-round picks, because he’€™d have superstar potential if he was reliable from the perimeter. Unfortunately, Warren is a 26.7 percent 3-point shooter and needs loads of work to fix his slow, clunky and inconsistent release.

However, Warren has excellent instincts and knows how to score from mid-range and near the rim like a classic scorer. The 20-year-old is able to create space off the ball by utilizing intelligent cuts, and he’€™s able to score with the ball because of his ability to ram his way to the rim with both strength and finesse.

Warren isn’€™t much of a defender, athlete or defensive rebounder, which regrettably lowers his stock. He’€™s a ‘tweener, but doesn’€™t appear to have the skills to defend either forward position at a high level, since he lacks the lateral quickness necessary to defend 3’s and the power and length to defend 4’s. His average vertical also hurts his rebounding, though it’€™s his unwillingness to box out that hurts him more than anything else.

How he fits: Warren is certainly worth a look with a mid-first-rounder because of his high upside on the offensive end. If he’€™s able to add a solid perimeter jumper to his arsenal, he could turn into a lethal scorer, and the Celtics won’€™t find many of those outside of the lottery.

Related articles:

ESPN: C’s schedule wing workout

WRAL: Why T.J. Warren should be ACC Player of the Year

Video: Here is a video of T.J. Warren’€™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, NBA, T.J. Warren

Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Mock draft v2.0 has more clarity

05.30.14 at 10:04 am ET
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About a month ago I posted my first mock draft. In the words of Lloyd Christmas, “I was way off!”

Since April, the lottery has provided us the clarity of who will own each pick, while the draft combine gave the prospects a chance to show team executives their talent. The result? A completely different draft board. We think we know the top three picks, but we have no clue in what order. This is a good draft, we know that, but predicting the picks is as tough as any year.

So without further adieu, here’€™s my mock draft 2.0, covering both of the Celtics‘€™ selections.

1. Cavaliers, Joel Embiid (Kansas, freshman) – From all accounts, it sounds like Embiid’€™s back is healthy. If that holds true when the 7-footer goes through his workouts, Embiid’€™s potential will be too high for Cleveland to pass up. Everyone is quick to use the Greg Oden comparison, but Embiid is much smoother on his feet for his size.

2. Bucks, Andrew Wiggins (Kansas, freshman) – The Bucks are absolutely horrible, but they have good young pieces in Larry Sanders, John Henson and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since they already have so many players to develop, why not do the same with Wiggins? Personally, I do not see Wiggins as a star in the league. But if the Bucks do, they will roll the dice on him.

3. 76ers, Jabari Parker (Duke, freshman) – Philly makes out great here coming away with a sure thing. Parker is ready to play now and probably would be the best player on the 76ers roster. At worst he is a longtime NBA starter, but I see Parker as the clear-cut best player in this draft. I would be surprised if he did not end up as a less-selfish Carmelo Anthony-type player.

4. Magic, Dante Exum (Australia) – Orlando has long loved Exum. The Magic should have the chance to snag him at No. 4, and they will if they can. This is probably the surest pick in the draft at the moment. There are rumors that Philly would take Exum and No. 3 and look to trade the Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams. MCW’€™s trade value probably will never be higher, but taking Exum over Parker would be a mistake.

5. Jazz, Noah Vonleh (Indiana, freshman) – Vonleh has scouts going crazy over his 7-foot, 4 1/2-inch wingspan. Obviously that is a nice quality to have in a league with as much size as the NBA, but is Vonleh’€™s length important enough to draft over talents like Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon? I’€™m not yet sold, but many are.

6. Celtics, Aaron Gordon (Arizona, freshman) – From all I can gather, Danny Ainge loves Gordon if he is going to use the No. 6 pick. I wrote last week about the players that Ainge will most likely be selecting from with this pick. There are some unique talents on the list, but in the end Gordon’€™s potential, flexibility to play both forward spots, and versatility on both ends of the floor make him the pick.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Gordon, Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse F Jerami Grant

05.30.14 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.

JERAMI GRANT

Position: Forward
School: Syracuse
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 214 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2013-14 stats: 12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists

Scouting report: Grant has youth and athleticism on his side, but does he have the skills? That’€™s the question NBA teams have to ask themselves as they evaluate the 20-year-old. Grant’€™s long wingspan and explosive vertical make him one of the more impressive athletes in the draft, and that should at least translate into productivity on the defensive end.

Grant’€™s fantastic lateral quickness and long arms will make him a fine man-to-man defender, but some players lack “feel for the game,” and that might be the case with Grant. His low block and steal totals in Syracuse’€™s zone are alarming considering his athleticism, and he often made poor choices with his rotations and weak-side help. It’€™s a legitimate concern, because if he has a hard time in the zone, playing a complicated man-to-man defense might prove to be too difficult.

And it’€™s not like he will definitely make up for it with his scoring. Grant, the son of former NBA forward Harvey Grant, is a high-flier and can throw down alley-oop slams, and he’s also very good if it takes him only one dribble to get to the rim. This gives him the upside required to be a threat in the pick-and-roll and off of offensive rebound putbacks. But Grant rarely, if ever, uses his left hand when dribbling the ball, which hinders his shot creation skills.

More alarming, Grant’s perimeter jumper is quite broken. He spreads his feet too much, has a hitch and he seems to lack touch. If he doesn’t develop his shot, it will limit his ability to get to the basket, which will be his most valuable attribute on offense. Nevertheless, the skills Grant brings as a high-energy role player will undoubtedly put him in the conversation as a mid-to-late first-round pick.

How he fits: If the Celtics go with a slow rebuild, Grant could be a good fit for them with the 17th pick. He brings fantastic potential on the defensive end, and the team may believe it can progress his raw scoring talents.

Related articles:

Grantland: Don’t forget about Jerami Grant

Sports on Earth: Making a name for himself

Video: Here is a video scouting report of Jerami Grant.

(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, Jerami Grant, NBA

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Creighton F Doug McDermott

05.29.14 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.

DOUG MCDERMOTT

Position: Forward
School: Creighton
Age: 22
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 218 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2013-14 stats: 26.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 64.4 TS%, 60.2 eFG%

Scouting report: With 3-point shooting becoming more and more valuable in today’€™s NBA, McDermott is coming into the league at the perfect time. He is the NCAA‘€™s fifth all-time leading scorer with 3,150 points, and much of that came due to his success from 3. McDermott has exceptional fundamentals and gets his shot off like a machine, whether it’€™s off the catch or the dribble.

McDermott has improved as a ball handler, and could absolutely make some noise by attacking the mid-range game after defenders close out hard on his 3-pointers. This is what could take him from a basic shooting role player to the next level as a versatile scoring threat. McDermott won’€™t fill it up on the post like he did in college, but he has the skills, touch and intelligence to make plays inside the arc.

But he’€™s not perfect. McDermott underwhelms defensively and athletically. He plays below the rim, which limits his inside scoring ability as well as his defensive potential. If he plays the 4, he won’€™t be much of a rim protector and he is only an average rebounder. But his lateral quickness must improve if he wants to be able to defend 3’s effectively. However, he’€™s terrific defending off-ball and almost always makes correct rotations, which means he’€™ll at least be a reliable team defender.

How he fits: Brad Stevens values players who can space the floor and shoot the 3, and no player in this draft does that better than McDermott. Taking him at sixth might be a little early, but if the Celtics trade down (or up from No. 17), he could be their pick.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: Six options at the sixth pick for Boston

Data Omaha: Doug McDermott by the numbers

Video: Here is a video tribute for McDermott’€™s perfect fundamentals.

(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, Doug McDermott, NBA
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