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Full Court Press: C’s consider draft and stash, legend of Togo Palazzi continues with Zach Auguste

06.11.16 at 7:51 pm ET
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Marlboro, Mass. native Zach Auguste worked out for the Celtics. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Marlboro, Mass. native Zach Auguste worked out for the Celtics. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

When the Philadelphia 76ers and then-GM Sam Hinke entered the 2014 NBA draft, they had their sights set on a 6-foot-10 Croatian forward by the name of Dario Saric. The Orlando Magic drafted him twelfth overall and the Sixers made a deal with with the Magic to drop down two spots, acquire Saric, a 2015 second-round pick and a first-round selection in 2017. And all it cost them was Elfrid Payton.

The move was one of the few bright spots of the Hinke era in Philadelphia, as it produced something for the future.

But the deal, an hour after Philly drafted Joel Embiid third overall, did something else. It asked the Philadelphia fans to put their faith in the “draft and stash” approach to the lottery. Just days earlier, Saric signed a multi-year deal in Turkey, a deal he may finally break this offseason to finally come to the states and play for the Sixers. Saric was stashed away in Europe developing his skills as a 19-year-old power forward. It’s very debatable as to whether Saric would have been ready to step in and contribute significantly right away, even on a team that had precious little talent.

The Saric case is not the typical “draft and stash” example, as NBA teams usually employ this strategy for second-round draft picks whom they don’t feel command NBA contracts. The Celtics have five picks in the second round, and certainly could use this approach multiple times if they feel they can reach an agreement with a player and his representative on what’s best for the player’s career in the long term, saving NBA roster spots while holding their future playing rights.

Could the Celtics take Dragan Bender with the third overall pick and allow him to continue to play in Europe? Perhaps. It really depends on how ready they feel he is to enter the NBA after not even playing that much this season for Maccabi in Israel.

“I think that all of those things are on the table and we need to look at all of those,” Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said this week. “I think Brad [Stevens] asked in his contract extension to not have eight rookies this year. I think that was specifically written in.”

All kidding aside, would the Celtics avoid drafting a player like Bender, if he doesn’t want to stay overseas and would rather play in the NBA now?

“If we really like the guy, no, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker,” Ainge added. [Draft-and-stash talks] will be finalized kind of after you draft a kid, sit down and determine a plan of action, but those discussions go on all the time, year-round, contract situations, age, different levels of maturity and in the players’ game, all those come into play. But it’s a partnership with the player, his representatives and the team to try to make the best decisions for him.”

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Cheick Diallo, Dario Saric

NBA draft prospect profile: France PF Petr Cornelie

06.11.16 at 3:48 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.

PETR CORNELIE

Position: Power forward

Country: France (Le Mans Sarthe Basket)

Age: 20 (turns 21 on July 26)

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 220 pounds

Wingspan: n/a

Key 2015-16 stats: 8.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.3 assists

Scouting report: At 6-foot-11, Petr Cornelie has the body type and skill set to become a stretch four in the NBA. His skill set includes a jump shot and athleticism that is rare for someone so tall. He’s also built a reputation as a hustler who works hard on both ends.

Cornelie’s athleticism and quickness also lends itself to potentially becoming an elite perimeter defender. When playing defense Cornelie needs to improve his IQ and toughness. On defensive switches, Cornelie has been described as being lost, often getting targeted in isolation situations because defenders knew they could overpower him. Cornelie’s strength also has been a problem on the offensive end because he is unable to fight through contact. Cornelie is projected to go anywhere from late in the first round to late in the second round.

Notes: Corneilie played in the U20 European Championships. In 10 games he averaged 8.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 0.9 assists. … Cornelie’s mother played professionally in the Czech Republic, his father played in the second-tier French league and his sister played four years at the University of Dayton.

Related articles:

EuropeanProspects.com: Petr Cornelie on the rise

UpsideMotor.com: International Scouting Report: Petr Cornelie

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Petr Cornelie,

NBA draft prospect profile: Duke SF Brandon Ingram

06.11.16 at 12:40 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is a 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. 

BRANDON INGRAM

Position: Small forward

School: Duke

Age: 18 (turns 19 on Sept. 2)

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 196 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists

Scouting report: One year ago the name Brandon Ingram was nowhere to be found near the top of many draft boards, but after a standout season at Duke, Ingram will most likely have a short wait to hear his name get called in the draft with either Ingram or former LSU forward Ben Simmons likely going first.

Ingram has drawn comparisons to Thunder forward Kevin Durant. Similar to Durant, Ingram has a lengthy body and the ability to shoot from beyond the 3-point arc. Ingram’s body type also has drawn criticism, with some scouts believing that he lacks the strength to finish above the rim. In addition, some teams are said to be wary of Ingram’s lack of defensive consistency. While Simmons is thought to be a player who will have an immediate impact, Ingram might endure some growing pains while transitioning to the NBA.

“Ingram’s lack of physical strength is a legitimate issue; it’s something that guys like him have overcome, but how long will that take? I doubt it can happen the first year,” one NBA scout told Sports Illustrated.

Although Ingram might not be ready to star in the NBA just yet, he has tons of potential. At 18 years old Ingram is the second-youngest projected first-round draft pick behind Dragan Bender, and after growing seven inches in high school, Ingram still is fitting into to his current frame. Making Ingram more appealing is the fact that his skill set of being a tall, lengthy forward who has the ball-handling and shooting ability of a guard fits perfectly into today’s NBA. Also, Ingram showed at Duke that he has the ability to play more positions than just forward. Furthermore, unlike Simmons, who has been pegged as a diva, Ingram is known as someone who requires minimal extra attention.

Notes: Ingram was the ACC Freshman of the Year and was placed on the All-ACC second team and All-ACC freshman team. His regular-season average of 16.7 points per game was seventh in the conference. Including Ingram, four college players since 2001-02 with wingspans of 7-foot-2 or greater have attempted 5.0 3’s per 40 minutes and made at least 40 percent of those shots; two of those players went undrafted, the third player is Kevin Durant. If Ingram is selected first overall, he will become the first ever 18-year-old one-and-done No. 1 overall pick. Starting in eighth grade Ingram was coached and mentored by former NBA star Jerry Stackhouse, who grew up in Ingram’s hometown of Kingston, North Carolina.

Related articles:

Sports Illustrated: The case for Brandon Ingram at No. 1

Yahoo! Sports: How Brandon Ingram stacks up against Kevin Durant

The Players’ Tribune: Brandon Ingram’s goodbye letter to Duke

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Brandon Ingram,

NBA draft prospect profile: Louisville SF Damion Lee

06.11.16 at 9:29 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.

DAMION LEE

Position: Small forward

School: Louisville

Age: 23 (turns 24 on Oct. 21)

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 210 pounds

Wingspan: n/a

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists

Scouting report: One of the biggest detractors for teams thinking about Lee is his age. At 23 years old he is an elder statesmen compared to the other potential draft picks. For whatever team does take Lee, they will get a streaky perimeter shooter (34 percent from behind the arc this past season). In 125 college games he made 257 3-pointers and finished with 2,016 career points. There has been speculation that his inconsistent shot is due to shot selection rather than mechanics. Lee also possesses great scoring instincts and the ability to create his own shot. When playing in a half-court offense, Lee can be predictable because he struggles to get to the hoop and when he does drive he almost always goes left.

Lee, who was not invited to the draft combine, is projected to go late in the second round. Whichever GM selects him is hoping that Lee’s offensive game will improve in the NBA when he no longer has to be the focal point of an offense.

Notes: Lee was an All-ACC second-team selection in his only season at Louisville. He transferred there as a graduate student after playing three years at Drexel, where he was a first-team All-CAA selection and earned a spot on the conference’s all-defense team in 2015, despite missing the final couple of weeks of the season after breaking his right hand in a game against Northeastern (he still scored 30 points). He finished second in balloting for CAA Player of the Year, one vote behind William & Mary guard Marcus Thornton — who went on to be drafted by the Celtics last June. Lee redshirted the 2013-14 season after tearing his ACL in the fifth game of the season. He was second-team All-CAA in 2013, and in 2012 he was the CAA Rookie of the Year. … Lee, who hails from Baltimore, spent a prep year at Saint Thomas More in Oakdale, Connecticut, in 2010-11 and led to the team to the National Prep School Championship.

Related articles:

Louisville Courier-Journal: Lee, Onuaku intriguing NBA draft prospects

Sports Illustrated: Louisville’s self imposed ban prevents Lee, Lewis from tourney

SB Nation: Damion Lee refuses to stop dancing

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Damion Lewis,

Isaiah Thomas wants Team USA to look at him for Olympics: ‘I wish I could get a chance’

06.10.16 at 7:28 pm ET
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Isaiah Thomas . (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas tweeted that he has not been selected to Team USA this summer in Rio. (Brett Davis/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas is nothing if not honest.

He spent the last couple of weeks pushing hard for Kevin Durant to come to Boston and join him on the Celtics.

Now, the 5-foot-9 dynamo is making another pitch. He wants to play on Team USA in Rio. 

“I wish I could get a chance to play on the USA team!” Thomas tweeted Friday evening. “Looking at the history of it, I’ve never seen a small guard selected 2 even try out.”

Of course, the most famous “Dream Team” snub involved Thomas’ namesake in 1992 in Spain, when the Pistons’ Isiah Thomas was not offered a spot. Many theories have been suggested over the years. The most common involves Thomas burning a bridge with Michael Jordan when he led a walk-off against Jordan and the Bulls at the end of the 1991 Eastern finals, a move that struck a raw nerve with Jordan.

This Thomas has no such intention of burning a bridge. 

USA Basketball will have a 12-man roster in Rio. ESPN reported Friday that Kings forward (and a player perpetually tied to the Celtics) DeMarcus Cousins has been selected.

There’s a who’s who list of NBA stars who have already turned down Team USA, including NBA MVP Stephen Curry, LaMarcus Aldridge Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and John Wall.

The Celtics’ point guard would seem to be a natural fit to replace the likes of Curry, Wall or Paul.

Read More: 1992 dream team, 2016 Olympics, Boston Celtics, dream team

NBA draft prospect profile: Boise State SF James Webb III

06.10.16 at 4:20 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.

JAMES WEBB III

Position: Small forward

School: Boise State

Age: 22 (turns 23 on Aug. 19)

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 202 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 16.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals

Scouting report: Webb, projected to be a late-second-round pick, is a player who can play both the small forward and the power forward position efficiently. He’s incredibly explosive and quick, but he’ll need to increase his body strength to fit in with other NBA small forwards. He shot 61.6 percent from inside the arc his junior year, which is a result of good shot selection. He excels at finishing around the rim and gets open easily with his off-ball movement.

Yet when watching Webb, it’s clear that he needs to improve in various areas. Webb has good height for a small forward, but he’s thin and gets pushed around down low, so he needs to fill out his frame to compete with the NBA’s general physicality. He needs to be able to create his own shots on the floor, and that includes fixing his jump shot. After shooting 40.9 percent from deep last season, Webb took a major step back, connecting on only 21.9 percent of his 3-point attempts this year. Webb admitted that his jump shot fundamentals is one of the main things he’s working on this summer.

“I didn’t really shoot the ball as well as I did last year, so [NBA teams] just want to see that,” Webb said in an interview with Basketball Insiders. “We’ve been working with Ben Simmons here on just tweaking a few things. It’s nothing major, like you said, just dipping the ball a little bit, working on keeping it high, and just getting my shot off in the mid-range.”

Notes: Webb began his collegiate career at North Idaho College before transferring to Boise State his sophomore year. In his redshirt junior season, Webb made All-Mountain West first team and scored in double figures 24 times in the season. He will attempt to be the first Bronco selected in the NBA draft since 1999.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Is James Webb III Ready for the NBA?

KBOI2.com: Boise State’s Webb III ready for shot at the pros

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, James Webb III,

NBA draft prospect profile: UNLV C Stephen Zimmerman

06.10.16 at 12:57 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.

STEPHEN ZIMMERMAN

Position: Center

School: UNLV

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Sept. 9)

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 234 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 10.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks

Scouting report: A 7-footer with excellent size and length, Zimmerman is a natural-born rebounder and rim protector. He has good hands and has flashed potential of becoming a dependable post scorer in the NBA. Zimmerman is able to hit a mid-range jumper as well as dive toward the hoop, making him an ideal pick-and-roll option. He also has great offensive awareness, keeping his head on a swivel and making nice passes from the block.

A projected late-first-round pick, Zimmerman said the plan was always for him to be a one-and-done player.

“At the beginning of the year … we sat down with all the coaches and they said based on my work ethic and my skill level, if I didn’t leave after the first year, they feel they did their job wrong,” Zimmerman told the Detroit Free Press. “It was kind of set from the beginning for me to progress and play at this level.”

Zimmerman is a nice player, but there isn’t one thing he’s elite at yet. His focus could be better on the court, as his laid-back personality has hurt him at times. He has to work to be more mean and aggressive against opponents, especially for a player his size. His post game will have to be developed, and his free throw percentage (62 percent last season) could be better considering his mid-range jump shot.

Notes: Zimmerman finished third in the Mountain West Conference in rebounds and second in blocks per game after being named the conference’s Preseason Freshman of the Year. … He had a 35-inch vertical leap and a 30-inch standing vertical leap at the NBA draft combine.

Related articles:

Review journal: Stephen Zimmerman Jr. stands tall at the NBA combine

Basketball Insiders: Stephen Zimmerman is an intriguing prospect

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Stephen Zimmerman,
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