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Celtics mock draft: Going big with Cheick Diallo, Ante Zizic, getting a steal with DeAndre Bembry

06.16.16 at 12:43 pm ET
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Could DeAndre Bembry be a steal for the Celtics?  (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

Could DeAndre Bembry be a steal for the Celtics? (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

A week before the Celtics hold the most significant draft in the last ten years, it’s a good time to take a look at how the Celtics might approach their picks (if they keep all eight). 

In this mock, we propose the Celtics use a bulk of their picks on bigs, both versatile and international in flavor. 

First round:

No. 3 – Buddy Hield: The most-proven pure scorer available in the draft after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.  Very rarely do players improve dramatically between their junior, and senior years of college, but Oklahoma senior, Buddy Hield has taken his game to the next level during his 4th collegiate season … Always a strong outside shooter, Hield improved his 3-point percentage to 52.3 percent on 7.9 attempts per game in his senior season at Oklahoma.  He has definite NBA-quality range, and even beyond, making him a legit threat to be guarded out to 26 feet away from the hoop. Here’s more on Hield

No. 16 – Cheick Diallo: Celtics get their rim protector here. A definite project as an offensive player, he is NBA-ready defensively in the post. He can run the floor the way Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge envision a big man running with the Celtics. Diallo has great speed up and down the court and has shown a definite intensity that all defensive forces in the paint need. He LOVES to run the court. Cheick also has good length. With a 7-foot-4 wingspan and a standing reach of just over nine feet, he projects as a solid NBA post presence. Scouts don’t consider him to be a great jumper to block shots but scouts love his timing as a shot blocker, especially from the weak side. His biggest area of growth will be in picking up NBA schemes, especially in a league where defending the pick-and-roll effectively is a must. He struggled at times at Kansas to stay on the floor, mainly because of his ability to pick up offense.  Here’s the scouting report on Diallo

No. 23 – Taurean Prince: Another versatile forward. At 6-foot-7, Prince is a 215-pound slightly shorter version of Diallo. He has long arms, and very good lateral quickness. Prince saw more playing time at Baylor than Diallo did at Kansas and has more maturity, as he played four years for the Bears. While Diallo is a post presence, Prince’s physical tools in addition to his defensive instincts and intensity projects him as a player capable of guarding both shooting guards, and a large portion of small forwards at the NBA level. Scouts love his developed skills while general managers sense a very high defensive IQ. Prince is the type of player who could transition from zone to the varied man-to-man schemes in the NBA. Here’s the scouting report on Prince

Second round: 

No. 31 – DeAndre Bembry: A flashy 6-foot-5 athletic wing from St. Joe’s in Philadelphia, with a flare for making highlight plays. This is an explosive player with a big wingspan that could electrify fans at the Garden. Very fast and thrives in transition … A smooth athlete who excels in the open floor, both with the ball or filling the lane. Has the shake and wiggle to get by defenders in ISO and create shots in the lane or at the rim … Quick first step … Excellent finisher. Very similar to Kris Dunn in his ability to finish at the basket.  If the Celtics say goodbye to Evan Turner, Bembry is the kind of athlete who could step in and fill that role. Scouts like his ability to get his feet organized quickly when attacking the basket and his ability to get around the defense. He also possesses a mean Euro-step, a must for any player from 10 feet and closer to the bucket in today’s NBA.  Vision and passing skills also strong. If he’s available here, this is a steal for the Celtics. 

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NBA draft prospect profile: Athlete Institute PF Thon Maker

06.16.16 at 12:27 pm ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Position: Power forward

School: Athlete Institute (Canada)

Age: 19

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 225 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 11.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks

Scouting report: A 7-footer with a 9-foot-3 standing reach, Maker has the size NBA coaches dream of. His post moves aren’t overly impressive, but he can hit the 3-point shot often enough to be respected from deep. He is an intense, driven big man who’s shown good leadership throughout high school and likely will be able to provide instant help to a professional team.

Having just completed his fifth year at high school, Maker is eligible to enter the NBA draft this year despite not attending college. In an interview with DraftExpress, Maker said he hopes to end up with the right team to help him improve his game.

“It’s more important for me to be picked where I fit,” said Maker, who is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. “When I’m on an NBA team, I’m going to get my apartment 5-10 minutes walking distance to the practice facility. I’m going to live in the gym. I’m just ready to go to work every day.”

The knock on Maker is his lower-body strength; he doesn’t possess impressive explosiveness and he tends to get pushed around down low by stronger opponents. He also lacks some awareness on both ends of the floor, and his post defense is a concern with his previously mentioned lack of strength. It seems that Maker will be a true long-term project in the NBA, as he has the size and wingspan to thrive but still has ways to go in developing his game.

Notes: Maker played basketball for two years at the Carlisle School in Virginia before transferring to Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute in Canada. He was born in South Sudan before immigrating to Australia when he was 5, then moving to the United States in 2011. … He was given the MVP award at the 2014 adidas Nations camp.

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Thon Maker,

Jared Dudley proclaims interest to play for Celtics

06.16.16 at 12:13 pm ET
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Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley has been making a bit of a splash this offeseason — even prior to the beginning of the free agency window.

From challenging fans to games to responding to different rumors about where he would go this offseason, the 30-year-old has been making Twitter an entertaining forum to talk about his future. He recently joined CLNS Radio’s Larry H. Russell to talk about his future among other things.

In the discussion, he was exceptionally candid, letting Russell know that he thinks he would be a seamless fit into the Celtics system.

“I think I would be a pretty good fit for Boston in the sense that they need shooting,” said Dudley. “You can never have too much veteran leadership. They’re a team that’s obviously led by Brad Stevens who is a great coach and they’ve done well, but the key to a young team is developing that young talent. They have the number three pick here in the draft and you can never have (enough) people who know how to play the right way, know their role.”

And Dudley certainly isn’t far off on him being able to address the Celtics’ needs. Last season he appeared in 81 games (starting 41) averaging 7.9 points per game. He shot 47.8 percent from the field, however, and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.

To compare, Kelly Olynyk was the Celtics top shooter from three in 2015-16, shooting 40.5 percent. The veteran is a character, for sure, but he would provide both veteran leadership and a reliable shot from the perimeter, a pair of traits the Celtics certainly need and would not have to give up much to attain.

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Kris Dunn denies claim he does not want to be drafted by Celtics

06.16.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Kris Dunn denied claims he doesn't want to play for the Celtics. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Kris Dunn denies claim he doesn’t want to play for the Celtics. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The narrative for nearly a month has been Providence’s Kris Dunn does not want to be drafted No. 3 overall to the Celtics.

His agent reportedly withheld his physical so that only specific teams could see in-depth the history behind his shoulder problem that sidelined him his sophomore season. He also reportedly did not want to play for a team that already had an established backcourt, eliminating the Celtics as well as the Suns at pick No. 4. But according to Dunn himself, that’s not necessarily true.

“I mean it would be unbelievable to be selected by the Celtics,” said Dunn in a phone interview with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “My dream is to just get drafted, and that I have the chance to be a top-five player, it’s a blessing.”

In regards to the rumor itself, Dunn addressed it as just that, stating, “That never came out of my mouth, that I didn’t want to play for any team.”

A native of New London, Connecticut, speculation rose about him wanting to play for his hometown team so he could be near family and in a familiar area, and Dunn has noted some admiration for the Celtics of late due largely to their development with Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart, the latter of whom, he has some familiarity with.

“[The Celtics] have great players … I don’t know Marcus Smart that well, but I played with Marcus Smart at multiple things, AAU at the time, and high school in the McDonalds All-American game. And Isaiah Thomas was an All-Star this year. You can see they’re on the rise and close to something special. I’m gonna be anxious to see what they do next year.”

Dunn averaged 16.4 points with 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game with Providence College last season. In the latest mock draft from Sports Illustrated, Dunn is projected to go to the Denver Nuggets at No. 7, down two from their previous mock that had him going fifth to the Timberwolves. The same draft has the Celtics going with Croatian Dragan Bender with the No. 3 overall pick.

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NBA draft prospect profile: Maryland SF Jake Layman

06.16.16 at 9:34 am ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Position: Small forward

School: Maryland

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 210 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2015-16 stats: 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 84.6 free throw percentage

Scouting report: Layman has the build of a short power forward, but Maryland was full of big men last year, forcing him to adjust to the small forward position. He is quick and agile, and his explosiveness surprises both scouts and those defending him. Layman shot 39.9 percent from deep last season, suggesting he could be a valuable “3-and-D” role player in the NBA. He does a great job disrupting passing lanes and brings intensity on the defensive end.

As far as weaknesses, Layman does not have many go-to moves offensively. He’s not a playmaker whatsoever and becomes victim to tunnel vision when driving to the hoop. With a lack of scoring moves, Layman needs to improve his offensive versatility in order to increase space on his jump shot. Also, Layman gets pushed around down low far too often for a player who has been a power forward most of his career. He’ll need to bulk up and improve his strength.

He is projected to go late in the second round or be undrafted.

Notes: Layman starred at King Philip High School in Wrentham before attending Maryland. He also played AAU basketball with local powerhouse BABC. … An honorable Big Ten selection his senior year, Layman was third on the team in minutes (31.4) and helped lead the Terrapins to the Sweet 16.

Related articles:

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jake Layman,

NBA draft prospect profile: Germany SF Paul Zipser

06.15.16 at 3:50 pm ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Position: Small forward

Country: Germany (Bayern Muenchen)

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 210 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 6.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists

Scouting report: Zipser has the perfect size for an NBA small forward, which he can use to defend both small forwards and shooting guards. His lateral quickness also helps him out on that end, and he has a knack for shot blocking. Defense may be his greatest attribute, but Zipser is also a versatile player on offense, able to slash his way to the basket as well as excel in catch-and-shoot situations. He’s a smart player who moves well off the ball and can contribute without touching the ball once on a possession. Zipser is a ferocious rebounder and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.

”I’m all about the team. Team player,” Zipser said in an interview with Yahoo Sports in February. “Whatever the team needs: rebounding, helping out on defense, sharing the ball, playing together. That’s my style. That’s the best way you can play basketball. I’m also a really dangerous shooter.”

A prospect who didn’t get much playing time overseas, Zipser needs to work on his dribbling and shot creating. He often loses the ball or gets stripped when looking to score, something that will be easily exploited in the NBA. He also tends to force passes when pressured by two defenders. He may not yet be ready for the NBA yet, and at 22 years old, his potential to improve could be a question mark. He helped his cause with a strong showing at the EuroCamp earlier this month and is projected to go in the middle of the second round.

Notes: Zipser started alongside Dirk Nowitzki at the European Championships last summer. He ended up seeing more minutes last season than other Euroleague prospects Dragan Bender and Furkan Korkmaz. … He was an early entrant in the 2015 NBA draft but eventually withdrew his name from consideration.

Related articles:

Fansided: Meet Bayern Munich’s Jack of All Trades

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Paul Zipser,

NBA draft prospect profile: Florida State SG Malik Beasley

06.15.16 at 12:40 pm ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles on prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.


Position: Shooting guard

School: Florida State

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 190 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Scouting report: Beasley is a sharpshooter who hit 47 percent of his field goals as a freshman this past season. What is most impressive is the rate at which he was able to score. Against Louisville he scored 23 points on 16 shots, against Virginia he scored 17 points on 10 shots, and against Iowa he scored 20 points on 17 shots. 

“As a shooter Beasley is very sound mechanically, showing outstanding shot preparation before the catch, tremendous balance, quick elevation as he goes into his motion, and a clean wrist action at the top of his jump that produces a healthy amount of back spin,” Yahoo Sports’ Mike Schmitz wrote. “Beasley can shoot off the hop or after planting one foot after another, an important skill for shooting on the move and under duress.”

Beasley’s offensive skills are not limited to shooting. He is able to keep defenders guessing with his ability to finish at the rim. In transition, Beasley is able to use his high motor and speed to blow by defenders and finish strong. Before Beasley is NBA ready he will need to improve his ball-handling and his ability to create his own shot. What has NBA scouts most worried about Beasley is his size. Nonetheless, Beasley still projects to go in the middle to late first round.

Notes: Beasley, who was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and All-ACC honorable mention, is the first player to leave Florida State as a one-and-done. … Beasley comes from an entertaining family. His father, Michael, played basketball at Texas-Arlington and then professionally internationally before becoming an actor, appearing in “Eastbound and Down” among other projects. Beasley’s mother, Deena, also acts and has worked as a model and singer. His grandfather, John, is an actor as well and had a role as a Notre Dame assistant coach in “Rudy.”

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