|06.23.16 at 8:41 pm ET|
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.”
|06.23.16 at 7:52 pm ET|
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.”
|06.23.16 at 5:05 pm ET|
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.
|06.23.16 at 4:48 pm ET|
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.
|06.23.16 at 12:04 pm ET|
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.
League sources tell @chadfordinsider and me: Philadelphia is ramping up its efforts to acquire tonight’s No. 3 overall pick from Boston.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2016
Numerous rivals describe Philly as the most active team in circulation … with a trade involving Nerlens Noel looking more and more likely
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2016
For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
|06.23.16 at 11:56 am ET|
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.
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.
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
|06.23.16 at 11:50 am ET|
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.
Position: Power forward/center
Weight: 240 pounds
Key 2015-16 stats: 17.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 60.6 field goal percentage
Scouting report: Sabonis is a true center — a premier rebounder with exceptional post moves who has solid fundamentals, runs the floor well and gives maximum effort. The concern is that at 6-foot-10 and with a wingspan of only 6-foot-11 he might not be able to continue his success against bigger and more athletic players in the NBA.
A lefty, Sabonis runs the pick-and-roll well, and on the other end of the court he defends it well. His great footwork around the basket leads to him getting fouled a lot, and he can finish with contact. He also converts at a 76.8 percent rate at the free throw line. His mid-range jumper is just OK, and that’s something he’ll need to refine in order to have success in the pros.
He finished his two-year Gonzaga career with a school-record 63.2 field goal percentage.
“[Domantas] is as impressive of a person and player as I’ve ever coached,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said in a statement after Sabonis declared for the draft. “He has an insatiable desire to get better.”
While he defends the post well, it’s not clear if Sabonis will be able to protect the rim with as much success at the next level due to his lack of length and athleticism.
Sabonis might not have as much potential upside as some other draft candidates, but he’s a safe pick in that he’s a reliable low post presence who will give an honest effort every time out. The problem for the Celtics is it would be too much of a reach to take him at No. 3, and he’s unlikely to remain on the board at No. 16 as he’s projected to be a late lottery pick.
Notes: Sabonis was born in Portland, Oregon, when his father, Hall of Fame center Arydas Sabonis, was playing for the Trail Blazers in the latter part of his career. Sabonis went to Spain and played for Unicaja Malaga’s junior and senior teams (without signing a contract so he could remain eligible for the NCAA) before returning to the Northwest to play at Gonzaga. … Playing for Lithuania at the FIBA Europe U20 Championship last July, Sabonis set a tournament record by grabbing 28 rebounds. Later that month, he became the youngest player ever to play for the Lithuanian national team and went on to win a silver medal at the FIBA Europe 2015 Championship. … Sabonis declined an offer to participate in the draft combine, and he only worked out for four teams — the Celtics among them.
Toronto Star: Domantas Sabonis revels in his father’s name
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