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Celtics select French big man Guerschon Yabusele with 16th pick

06.23.16 at 9:27 pm ET
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Guerschon Yabusele greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 16th by the Celtics. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Guerschon Yabusele greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 16th by the Celtics. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

After taking Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Celtics used the 16th pick on Guerschon Yabusele, a relatively unknown 20-year old prospect from France. Yabusele is a 6-foot-8 forward who last played for Rouen Métropole Basket in the French A division. With his outside shooting ability and athleticism, Yabusele projects to be a small-ball four. 

In most mock drafts, Yabusele was not projected to be selected until the second round. The Celtics already have a relatively full roster, and according to Yahoo Sports, the team will likely stash Yabusele in France as he continues to develop. Rouen was relegated to the French B division, so there is a chance that Yabusele will use this as an opportunity to make the jump to the NBA. The Celtics still have the 23rd pick in the first round, as well as five second-round picks.

Yabusele, 20, averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds last year. He’s considered a more advanced offensive player than defender, with NBA 3-point range and the ability to finish at the rim.

“Nobody was expecting,” Yabusele said when asked if he thought he’d be picked so high. “I see them coming close to me, see my name. So I was really surprised to be in here, but I was so happy.”

As for remaining in Europe for a year or two, Yabusele sounded open to the possibility.

“It’s not a problem for me,” he said. “Even if I got to go one year, two years in Europe, in another country and play, I’ll go. I just want to play in the NBA and try to be better, so it’s great.”

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Celtics, Celtics draft

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck on trade talks: ‘Nothing even came close’

06.23.16 at 8:41 pm ET
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Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, fresh off a surprise booing from Celtics fans disappointed in the selection of Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick, said the C’s never came close to trading the pick for a veteran.

“Adding a veteran was certainly a consideration as we went into this draft day,” Grousbeck said. “Adding a veteran for the third pick was a consideration. We were willing to have those discussions, just nothing even came close. If it had come close and we hadn’t quite gotten there, I’d tell you that. It just wasn’t even close. It’s actually an easy day when nothing’s close. I don’t look for easy days — you try to make the right decisions — but this was an easy day.”

According to reports, the Celtics engaged in trade talks with the Sixers (Nerlens Noel), Bulls (Jimmy Butler), and Bucks (Khris Middleton), but according to Grousbeck, those talks never progressed.

That led to the selection of Brown. Grousbeck joked that as a Stanford grad, he’ll have to accept that Brown played for a year at Cal. He also said he was extremely impressed with Brown’s workout.

“Jaylen, since the day he walked in for his very impressive workout — impressive even to me, as more of a fan — he was very high on the list,” Grousbeck said. “He was going to be a finalist for this draft pick since the day he walked in and worked out.”

That said, fans still reacted with hostility, showering Grousbeck with boos over the selection.

“Fourteen years, that’s probably the worst one I’ve gotten, but I’ll view this as people really care,” Grousbeck said. “I’ll view it as I’ve certainly had some of those reactions when I’ve been at sporting events. You pay your money, you get to come in. Look, we’re a bunch of fans who bought this team. Being a fan means you’re emotional and emotionally invested in the team and no problem. But I actually believe if those fans knew what I knew and were in that room, most of them might have done the same thing. But no problem. Bring it on. They’re Celtics fans, and they’ve earned the right to say whatever they want.”

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Celtics draft, Celtics rumors, Celtics trade rumors

Celtics use 3rd pick in NBA draft to select Cal forward Jaylen Brown

06.23.16 at 7:52 pm ET
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The Celtics selected Cal forward Jaylen Brown with the third pick in the draft. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics selected Cal forward Jaylen Brown with the third pick in the draft. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

After months of speculation, the Celtics finally have an answer: Jaylen Brown.

The C’s selected the Cal forward with the third pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night after being unable to move the pick for a satisfactory return of veteran players.

Though the C’s were rumored to be in talks with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler and the Sixers for Nerlens Noel and a package of draft picks, they elected to keep the pick and used it on Brown, one of the best pure athletes in the draft.

Brown is expected to step right in and play NBA defense. His offensive game remains a work in progress, though he’s an excellent finisher at the rim. His jumper needs development, but at 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, he has the potential to wreak havoc on the perimeter as a defender.

“I honestly had no idea,” Brown told ESPN after being selected. “I was sweating bullets over there, so nervous. I’m glad I ended up where I am.”

Brown averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds and will represent himself in negotiations, with help from Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who advised Brown thusly:

“Be a kid, by yourself, never compromise your values,” Brown told ESPN. “Always remember who you are and where you came from.”

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Celtics draft Jaylen Brown, Jaylen Brown

Report: Celtics talking deal with Bucks for Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe

06.23.16 at 5:05 pm ET
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Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton

According to a report from Racine (Wisconsin) Journal-Times columnist Gery Woelfel, the Celtics and Bucks are discussing a deal that would send the Nos. 16 and 23 picks, plus a player, to Milwaukee in return for shooting guard Khris Middleton and big man Greg Monroe.

The deal frankly makes zero sense from a Bucks perspective, since Middleton, 24, is a 6-foot-8 swingman who averaged a career-high 18.2 points a game last year and is also a lifetime .400 3-point shooter. Middleton alone is worth at least the No. 3 pick in the draft from a Bucks perspective.

Monroe, meanwhile, is entering the second year of a three-year, $50 million max deal. The 6-foot-11 center isn’t really a fit for the Celtics roster, because he’s a pure post player who averaged 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds last year.

But it’s silly season as far as rumors go, so throw this one on the pile.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics rumors, Celtics trade rumors, Greg Monroe

Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers for draft picks, increasing likelihood they’ll be terrible again next year

06.23.16 at 4:48 pm ET
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Thaddeus Young

Thaddeus Young

The Nets just keep on helping the Celtics.

On Thursday, Brooklyn traded forward Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft and a protected second-rounder.

This helps the Celtics because it removes one of the few talented players from Brooklyn’s roster and replaces him with a rookie. The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round picks in 2017 and 2018, and this trade increases the chances that those picks will be high again.

Young, 28, averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds last year and is signed through 2018, with a player option for 2019.

The trade does give Brooklyn roughly $50 million in cap space, but without a roster to entice a legitimate star player.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics Brooklyn picks, Celtics rumors, NBA Draft

Report: 76ers ‘ramping up’ efforts to acquire No. 3 pick from Celtics

06.23.16 at 12:04 pm ET
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It wouldn’t be draft day without a few rumors.

According to ESPN, the 76ers are ramping up their efforts to acquire the No. 3 pick from the Celtics in Thursday’s draft. It would seem likely the 76ers would want to select Providence guard Kris Dunn, but could also take Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray.

The report also adds the player the 76ers are shopping most is forward Nerlens Noel and it’s “more and more likely” he gets traded. Noel is originally from Malden, Massachusetts and played two years at Everett High School before transferring to the Tilton School.

He was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft.


For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Nerlens Noel,

Celtics Choice: C’s reportedly narrow No. 3 pick to Providence point guard Kris Dunn or Cal forward Jaylen Brown

06.23.16 at 11:56 am ET
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The Celtics could choose between Jaylen Brown (left) and Kris Dunn at No. 3. (USA Today Sports)

The Celtics could choose between Jaylen Brown (left) and Kris Dunn at No. 3. (USA Today Sports)

And down the stretch they come . . .

With the NBA draft set for Thursday night and the Celtics still unable to move the No. 3 pick, focus has narrowed on whom they might select at that spot, with draft insiders focusing on two names — Providence College point guard Kris Dunn and Cal forward Jaylen Brown.

ESPN’s Andy Katz reported on Twitter that the Celtics are leaning towards Dunn, a better, more explosive version of Marcus Smart. Katz’s colleague, Jeff Goodman, said on the network that he hears the Celtics will either take Dunn or Brown, an athletic wing player.

Both Dunn and Brown are considered NBA-caliber athletes, with Brown more advanced defensively and Dunn a more gifted offensive player.

With that in mind, we present our final Celtics Choice: Kris Dunn vs. Jaylen Brown.

The case for Dunn

See if this sounds familiar: the Providence guard is powerfully built and physically gifted for his position, with the ability to defend multiple positions and a toughness NBA GMs like Danny Ainge love. If that sounds like Smart, it’s because Dunn shares many characteristics with the Celtics guard. Where he separates, however, is on the offensive side of the ball. Dunn is a better ball handler, passer, and scorer than Smart. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and with a 6-9 wingspan, Dunn possesses tremendous defensive instincts and court vision. He’s a terror in the open court and can finish at the rim authoritatively with either hand. He’s a true playmaking point guard who can also score (37.2 percent on 3-pointers). Just call him Smart 2.0.

The case against Dunn

In the delicate ecosystem of an NBA locker room, one malcontent can lead to disaster, and it’s fair to question Dunn’s fit when his agents have suggested he won’t play for a team — including the Celtics — with an established point guard. There are also reports that he “desperately” wants to play for the Sixers. He can’t stop anyone from drafting him, but his health could be an issue because Dunn required two shoulder surgeries during his PC career. On the court, there’s also the question of Dunn’s stroke — his inconsistent jumper includes a lot of moving parts — and his occasionally sloppy and reckless ball-handling.

The case for Brown

Brown is all about projection. He’s a raw athlete with explosive leaping ability, but an unpolished offensive game. The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder could excel in one of Brad Stevens’ small-ball lineups as an undersized but athletic power forward who creates matchup problems on both ends while defending multiple positions. He’s got Draymond Green potential as a versatile athlete wreaking havoc at both ends, especially on defense. He’s a tremendous finisher on the break and at the rim, and a good rebounder for his size. He averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds a game as a freshman.

The case against Brown

His offense is limited. He shot just .294 on 3-pointers and .654 on free throws. He also disappeared down the stretch, shooting a combined 5-for-29 in his conference tournament and NCAA tourney games. Cal was a one-and-done against Hawaii in the Big Dance, and Brown finished his career with just four points and two rebounds while committing seven turnovers. He’s got a little bit of Jared Sullinger to his offensive game in that he’ll pound the ball and take contested jumpers. If his offensive game fails to develop, it will severely limit his upside as an NBA player.

The verdict

This is a tossup. Dunn is the more polished player, but Brown the better athlete with the higher upside. Dunn is the safer pick, even if he’d require moving some parts off the roster. But Brown should be an impact wing defender, and if his offensive game develops, those players are at a premium. We’ll take Brown.

Previous entries

June 9: Buddy Hield vs. Jamal Murray
June 7: Dragan Bender vs. Kevin Love
June 2: Al Horford vs. DeMar DeRozan
May 31: Buddy Hield vs. Avery Bradley
May 26: Kevin Love vs. Paul George
May 24: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Blake Griffin
May 23: Bradley Beal vs. Gordon Hayward
May 20: Buddy Hield vs. Jaylen Brown
May 19: Jahlil Okafor vs. Dragan Bender

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Celtics rumors, Danny Ainge
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