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NBA draft prospect profile: Texas PG Isaiah Taylor

06.14.16 at 9:17 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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.

ISAIAH TAYLOR

Position: Point guard

School: Texas

Age: 21 (turns 22 on July 11)

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 170 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-3

Key 2015-16 statistics: 15.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 31.0 3-point percentage

Scouting report: On offense, Taylor is at his best in transition because of his lightning-quick speed and strong ball-handling. Taylor’s speed also helps him finish at the rim, which is helpful given his lack of a mid-range jumper. Taylor often will force difficult shots close to the rim, which shows his lack of confidence in his jump shot. In order to guard NBA players effectively on defense, Taylor will have to work on getting stronger.

Taylor’s statistics improved greatly under first-year Texas coach Shaka Smart — he led the team in scoring and assists — and many thought he would return to Austin for one more season to improve his game, but Taylor elected to go to the draft as a junior. Taylor is projected to go late in the second round or undrafted, but he is confident in his decision. 

“At the end of the year, I knew right away what I was doing,” Taylor told the Houston Chronicle. “There was no doubt.” 

Notes: Taylor was named to the All Big-12 first team this year after finishing the season with a 2.57 assist-to-turnover rate, which was third best all-time in Texas history. … Taylor was plagued with plantar fasciitis at the end of this past season. In 2014-15, he missed 10 games early in the season with a fractured wrist. … Taylor’s uncle, Terrell Lowery, played college basketball at Loyola Marymount and eventually went on to play professional baseball with the Cubs, Rays and Giants.

Related articles:

Houston Chronicle: As draft nears, Isaiah Taylor has no regrets about leaving UT early

The Daily Texan: Isaiah Taylor is not ready for NBA play

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Isaiah Taylor,

Report: Buddy Hield puts on a shooting clinic for Celtics in California, makes 85 of 100 3-pointers

06.13.16 at 4:21 pm ET
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Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield

Last week, Kentucky freshman and NBA draft hopeful Jamal Murray hit 79 out of 100 3-pointers during a shooting drill with Celtics coaches that was called an unofficial record for a potential draftee.

Turns out Buddy Hield’s competitiveness extends to workouts, because he reportedly one-upped Murray on Monday. According to ESPN draft insider Jeff Goodman, Hield shot 85-for-100 on 3’s in front of the Celtics brass during a workout in California.

Hield, an Oklahoma senior, is considered one of the best pure shooters in the draft, and he apparently showed it on Monday.

The Celtics hold the No. 3 pick in the draft and could consider either gunner in that spot. Murray is already on record that he considers himself the best player in the draft. For more on the decision between Murray and Hield, check out this recent edition of Celtics Choice.

And for more on draft rumors, be sure to follow our Green Street Celtics blog.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray

Report: Sixers prefer to trade Jahlil Okafor over Nerlens Noel

06.13.16 at 4:02 pm ET
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Jahlil Okafor

Jahlil Okafor

With the NBA draft 10 days away, the rumor mill continues to churn, with the latest report suggesting the Philadelphia 76ers have decided which big man they’d like to deal away — Jahlil Okafor.

According to Philly.com, the Sixers would rather deal Okafor than fellow youngster Nerlens Noel, because they feel they can get a better return for Okafor, who last year became their first rookie since Allen Iverson to lead the team in scoring.

Okafor is recovering from knee surgery and told a Duke podcast that he hopes to return to the court shortly.

The Sixers are expected to take LSU’s Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, adding another big man to a crowded young frontcourt. The Sixers chose Okafor No. 3 overall last year, and they acquired the rights to Noel after the Pelicans selected the Malden native with the sixth overall pick in 2013.

The Celtics were linked to Okafor at the trade deadline, but there are concerns over his fit in Boston, since he’s not a great rim protector and generally plays with his back to the basket. He averaged 17.5 points a game last year.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Celtics, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel

NBA draft prospect profile: Iowa SF/PF Jarrod Uthoff

06.13.16 at 3:55 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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.

JARROD UTHOFF

Position: Small forward/power forward

School: Iowa

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 214 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists

Scouting report: Uthoff’s name started getting mentioned in NBA draft talk after a strong senior season, in which he helped guide Iowa to its highest national ranking in almost 30 years (No. 3) and a third consecutive NCAA tournament berth. Some scouts attribute Uthoff’s success to Iowa’s system, but many believe his shooting ability will transfer to the NBA. Playing primarily small forward opposed to power forward allowed Uthoff to shoot more. This past season Uthoff shot 44.8 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from the 3-point line. Uthoff isn’t known for his defense, but he is still able to make an impact on that side of the court.

“He is a bit of a savant when it comes to contesting shots, showing impressive anticipation and a knack for getting his hand on the ball cleanly just as the opposing shooter is releasing it at and away from the rim,” noted DraftExpress.com.

Uthoff is predicted to go late in the second round or undrafted. Whichever team does pick him up most likely will use him as a rotation shooter.

Notes: Uthoff was named second-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten and earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive team. … Uthoff originally committed to play for Wisconsin but transferred after redshirting his freshman year. Uthoff’s transfer was complicated situation because Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan wouldn’t OK a transfer in the Big Ten. Uthoff ended up at Iowa because he elected to pay his own way at Iowa for a season.

Related articles:

NBA.com: Iowa’s Uthoff showed total package — once he got selfish

Scout.com: Is Jarrod Uthoff an NBA talent?

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jarrod Uthoff,

NBA draft prospect profile: Providence PG Kris Dunn

06.13.16 at 12:29 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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.

KRIS DUNN

Position: Point guard

School: Providence

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 205 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2015-16 stats: 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.5 steals

Scouting report: Dunn has the physical characteristics necessary to keep up in the NBA, and according to DraftExpress.com, he has “elite quickness and leaping ability that place him in rarefied air by even NBA standards.” Possibly the best point guard in the draft, Dunn has the quickness to attack the basket and the passing ability to find the open man and create shots for others. The point guard believes his skill set is already similar to one NBA star’s.

“A lot of people say John Wall, and I’m starting to see it more and more,” Dunn said at the NBA draft combine. “We’re both fast, we both can attack at the rim, that’s one of our greatest strengths. We definitely get people involved. That’s what I like to do, I like to get people other shots, get them good shots, and John Wall, he’s not a bad defender. He definitely works hard at the defensive end, and that’s one of my greatest strengths.”

If Dunn wants to shine at the next level, he will have to become more consistent with his jump shot. He did shoot 37.2 percent from deep last season, yet it’s easy to see that the mechanics on his jump shot need work. Also, Dunn does have a bit of an injury history, playing only 29 games in his first two years at Providence due to a shoulder injury.

Notes: Dunn is a consensus second-team All-American and a two-time recipient of Big East Player of the Year and Big East Defensive Player of the Year. A product of New London, Connecticut, he scored 16 points and dished out four assists in the Friars’ 70-69 win over USC in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. He then had 29 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals as Providence lost to top-seeded North Carolina in the second round.

Related articles:

The Philadelphia Inquirer: What is Kris Dunn thinking?

USA Today: Kris Dunn could fall in draft after lottery

The Big Lead: Kris Dunn doesn’t want to be drafted by the Suns or Celtics

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Kris Dunn,

Celtics reportedly ‘trying to be as aggressive as possible’ in trading No. 3 overall pick

06.13.16 at 9:51 am ET
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The NBA draft is left than two weeks away and the rumors have already began.

According to CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely, the Celtics are trying to deal the No. 3 overall pick.

Appearing on Comcast’s Sports Sunday show on Sunday night, Blakely said (via Celtics Blog): “I’m hearing that number 3 pick overall is the one that they are really shopping, trying to be as aggressive as possible in trying to move that pick because they want to get a difference making impact player right now and they believe using that number 3 pick and maybe some other players and or picks might be the best way to make that happen.”

It is anyone’s guess as to who the potential impact player would be, but certainly this won’t be the last rumor between now and the draft.

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

Read More: 2016 NBA draft,

NBA draft prospect profile: Wichita State SG Ron Baker

06.13.16 at 9:34 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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.

RON BAKER

Position: Shooting guard

School: Wichita State

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 212 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2015-16 stats: 13.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists

Scouting report: Baker is known for having a high motor and showing toughness and grittiness on the court. At Wichita State, Baker was a career 36.9 percent 3-point shooter, but that will need to improve for him to stick around in the NBA. Baker does have the ability to shoot a variety of different shots and found success shooting off of screens. He doesn’t possess great athleticism or size, and while he does many things well, a knock on him is that he doesn’t stand out at any one thing.

Baker, projected to go late in the second round, said he envisions himself like a Kirk Hinrich or Matthew Dellavadova, backup players known in part for their toughness.

“For me, probably a Kirk Hinrich or a Dellavadova,” he said when asked for an NBA comparison. “A guy that comes in, knows his role, does all the little stuff on the court. Makes himself accountable and is a good teammate. Just the little assets that build your resume as a player. Those are the kinds of things at the next level that I’m looking to do.”

Defying the odds is something that Baker is used to doing, as he walked on to Wichita State’s team and ended up helping the Shockers reach the Final Four in 2013, take a perfect record into the NCAA Tournament a year later (finishing 35-1), reaching the Sweet 16 in 2015 (upsetting in-state rival Kansas along the way), and winning a third straight Missouri Valley Conference title this past season en route to another NCAA Tournament appearance.

Notes: Baker was on Team USA for the 2015 Pan America Games. He played in all five games, averaging 8.2 points on 13-of-26 shooting, including 5-of-14 from the 3-point line. In the bronze medal game Baker finished with 11 points. … For a stretch in his junior year Baker hit a 3-pointer in 27 straight games, a school record. 

Related articles:

The Wichita Eagle: Fraschilla: Ron Baker did all the usual Ron Baker things in NBA draft combine

Bleacher Report: The ultimate Shocker: How Ron Baker went from walk-on to NBA prospect

Deseret News: Wichita State’s Ron Baker discusses friendship with Runnin’ Ute Jakob Poeltl at workout

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Ron Baker,
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