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NBA draft prospect profile: Oakland PG Kay Felder

06.01.16 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.

KAY FELDER

Position: Point guard

School: Oakland

Age: 21

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 177 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 24.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 9.3 assists

Scouting report: Don’t let the height fool you. Felder is one of the elite scorers in this year’s draft. A very good athlete, Felder has the type of perimeter shooting that opens up the rest of his offensive game. He is an excellent ball-handler, is good at changing speed and direction quickly, and can even make impressive plays above the rim. His passing can be just as strong as his scoring — his 9.3 apg easily led the nation.

As far as his height, Felder says that as the season went on and his stellar play continued, he heard less and less about it. “I used to hear about the height thing all the time,” Felder said at the NBA draft combine. “Now, I’m rarely hearing about it. It still is in the back of their minds, but I barely hear about height and things like that.”

As efficient as he is at scoring, there’s no doubting that Felder’s height will affect his defense. He has quick feet and good instincts on that end of the floor, so there’s potential that he’ll become a reliable defender at the next level. He has shown poor effort on the defensive end in the past, likely a result of his large offensive role and averaging over 36 minutes per game.

Notes: Felder, projected to go in the middle to latter part of the second round, was named Horizon League Player of the Year and was a Wooden Award finalist. He recorded the most assists in the country (324) and led the Horizon League in several categories, most notably field goals (269), points (853) and Player Efficiency Rating (28.7).

Related articles:

Pacers.com: NBA teams sizing up Felder

SB Nation: Small school, big dreams: Kay Felder is turning heads

Detroit Free Press: Oakland guard Kay Felder invited to NBA combine

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Kay Felder,

Wyc Grousbeck extends Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens: ‘[They] represent exactly what the Boston Celtics stand for’

06.01.16 at 11:40 am ET
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Sep 25, 2015; Waltham, MA, USA; Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, during media day at the Boston Celtic Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics GM Danny Ainge (left) and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck have lots to smile about in the future. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics have made their first big move of the offseason. 

No, they haven’t added or subtracted players yet. Owners Wyc Grousbeck and Stephen Pagliuca just recommitted themselves to the people who will be making those decisions. 

The team announced Wednesday that they have extended the contracts of President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and Head Coach Brad Stevens. Terms of the deals, including the length of the extensions, were not disclosed.

“Danny and Brad represent exactly what the Boston Celtics stand for: excellence on and off the court,” Grousbeck said in a statement. “With their long-term deals in place, we are continuing to build towards competing for Banner 18. Our ownership group thanks them for their hard work and their re-commitment to the Celtics.”

 Ainge, who just completed his 13th season as Celtics President of Basketball Operations, has compiled a record of 565-484 (.539) during his tenure, making 10 trips to the post-season, three Conference Finals appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals, including winning the NBA Championship in 2008. That season, fellow NBA executives voted Ainge the Executive of the Year for the 2007-08 season.

 “I am grateful to continue to work in an environment where I’m surrounded by so many people that are an integral part of our success,” Ainge said in the team release. “We have had great stability in this organization since the ownership group bought the Celtics. We know our strengths and weaknesses and as a group we work well together. Wyc, Irv, Steve, Rich, Brad and I have a common goal in pursuing Banner 18 and I’m looking forward to this next chapter in Boston Celtics history.”

As for Stevens, he completed his third season as the team’s head coach, guiding the team to a 48-34 record and clinching the team’s second consecutive playoff berth. Stevens is a two-time NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month winner, most recently for games played in February 2016, where he led the Celtics to the best record in the Eastern Conference (9-3) and a 6-0 mark at the TD Garden.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge, Stephen Pagliuca

NBA draft prospect profile: Utah C Jakob Poeltl

06.01.16 at 9:56 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.

JAKOB POELTL

Position: Center

School: Utah

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Oct. 15)

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 240 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 64.6 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Not many big men run the floor like Poeltl, who has a blend of athleticism and speed not seen in many true centers. An efficient scorer, he did most of his work one-on-one on the block, making opponents pay with his size and impressive footwork. He also uses that footwork on the defensive end, defending the pick-and-roll as well as anybody.

Poeltl, projected to be drafted in the top 10 as the first center off the board, believes his game best resembles that of Pau Gasol. “He’s a guy who has good touch around the basket and is a very good passer,” Poeltl told the Los Angeles Daily News of the Bulls center. “He can dribble the ball. He’s even stepping out and shooting 3’s. I hope I can get there, too. He’s a winner and won championships. I can do that, too.”

Poeltl may dominate in the paint, but he struggles scoring from anywhere else, and his free throw shooting needs work. It remains to be seen if he can be efficient in an offense where he isn’t the focal point. Also, he lacks the explosiveness to truly defend the rim.

Notes: Poeltl likely will become the first Austrian-born player to play in the NBA. He was the 2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year and made All-Pac-12 first team in the process. He also was a finalist for both the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award.

Related articles:

SB Nation: How high is Jakob Poeltl’s ceiling?

Fansided: Jakob Poeltl the top center option?

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jakob Poeltl,

Why Celtics shouldn’t and probably won’t trade 2017 Nets pick

05.31.16 at 2:11 pm ET
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Duke recruit Jayson Tatum is considered one of the best prospects in next year's NBA draft. (Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports)

Duke recruit Jayson Tatum is considered one of the best prospects in next year’s NBA draft. (Brian Spurlock-USA Today Sports)

With the NBA draft three and a half weeks away, the Celtics’ ability to acquire an impact veteran has come into focus.

One school of thought has the C’s offering not only this year’s third overall pick, but next year’s New Jersey pick as well to acquire a veteran like Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

Here’s why that approach is flawed — next year’s draft class is loaded, and might actually represent the team’s best chance at landing a franchise player.

ESPN draft guru Jeff Goodman told Bradford and Giardi recently that the Celtics shouldn’t trade next year’s Brooklyn pick, which could easily end up in the top five.

“I wouldn’t trade next year’s pick,” he said. “Absolutely no way would I trade next year’s pick. Next year’s draft is absolutely loaded.”

The consensus top three, not surprisingly, are all high school seniors, led by a pair of Duke recruits.

The first pick right now would probably be big man Harry Giles, a 6-foot-10 force who has committed to the Blue Devils. He’s considered an athletic marvel, though he has already undergone a pair of ACL surgeries.

Next is Kansas swingman Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-8 inch dynamo who might already be an NBA-level defender, followed by Duke’s Jayson Tatum, the 2016 Gatorade High School Player of the Year, a 6-9 scorer with a developing 3-point touch.

Add Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, and Arizona bomber Terrance Ferguson, and this has the makings of the best draft class of the decade.

So don’t be surprised if Ainge is hesitant to part with next year’s pick.

 

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2017 NBA draft, Celtics, Harry Giles

Celtics choice: Buddy Hield vs. Avery Bradley

05.31.16 at 12:41 pm ET
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In the days leading up to June’s NBA draft, we want to encourage debate regarding what the Celtics should do with the No. 3 overall pick. In that spirit, we present, “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the No. 3 pick on Oklahoma shooting guard and college player of the year Buddy Hield or keeping NBA first-team all-defense guard Avery Bradley.

The case for Hield

Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield

An NBA-ready scorer who played four years of college basketball in a major conference. Hield was a monster, adding dribble penetration and increased range to his explosive offensive game. He averaged 25 points a game and shot .457 from 3-point territory. His shot chart is off the charts, with above-average production from everywhere on the floor except the left baseline. As a senior, he’s more polished than most of the teens and freshmen coming out this year. And he demonstrated an ability to hit big, clutch shots throughout his senior year, leading the Sooners to the Final Four, where they lost to Villanova, the eventual champs.

The case against Hield

Will Hield’s 6-foot-4 frame translate to the NBA? It’s one thing when you’re stronger than most of the players you face in college. It’s another when you’re going up against ‘2’ guards with three or four inches on you and you need to create your own shot. Steph Curry can create his own shot with just a split-second of space. But he is certainly the exception to the rule. There are also legitimate questions about his foot speed and ability to create his own shot at the next level. He’s also considered a subpar defender. The biggest criticism of Hield is that he’s reached his ceiling.

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Buddy Hield

Butch Stearns on D&C: Kevin Durant’s representatives have let Celtics know which players he wants prospective teams to acquire

05.31.16 at 11:16 am ET
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D&C guest hosts discuss Kevin Durant

With Kevin Durant’s season ending Monday night courtesy of the defending champion Warriors’ Game 7 win over the Thunder in the Western Conference finals, the speculation about Durant’s future is set to take off.

There have been rumors that the Celtics will make a push at the pending free agent. If Boston is to land Durant, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge might have to start by looking into acquiring some auxiliary pieces first.

According to Butch Stearns, during an appearance as a guest host on WEEI Monday morning, Durant’s people have informed the C’s who those additional players are.

“I have this on pretty good authority: The Celtics have sat with his agent and other representatives of Durant. The Celtics do know — I don’t know who it is — but they do know who he would prefer to be brought here in a LeBron [James]-Chris Bosh-Dwyane Wade-like way. Because that’s how it works in the NBA. You need to know who the guy or guys that that guy wants, which would be a factor,” Stearns said.

“Now, I don’t know if Durant’s told them that. But the Celtics know. They know. They’ve been told what group of guys he would want to come here.”

Considering Durant could make more money with Oklahoma City — around $30 million per season — than anywhere else, he would need more incentive to leave. Perhaps an easier path to the NBA Finals would be one such appeal.

Said Stearns: “Why would he come here? If I were him? Because I don’t have to deal with the West anymore. I only have to beat LeBron [and the Cavaliers].”

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Isaiah Thomas tweets (then deletes) recruitment of Kevin Durant

05.31.16 at 11:05 am ET
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Isaiah Thomas tweeted to Kevin Durant in the moments after the Thunder's Game 7 loss to Golden State.

Isaiah Thomas tweeted to Kevin Durant in the moments after the Thunder’s Game 7 loss to Golden State.

Isaiah Thomas had good intentions in his immediate recruitment of Kevin Durant after the Thunder’s Game 7 loss to the Warriors Monday night. 

Just about an hour after Durant and the Thunder fell, 96-88, to the Warriors, Thomas took to Twitter to plant a seed in the mind of the superstar, who will be a free agent this summer.

But the Celtics point guard quickly deleted his tweet to Durant, which featured the No. 35 with a Shamrock to the right. 

There are a couple of reasons Thomas might have taken it down, not the least of which is realizing the sensitivity of the moment, after Durant’s dreams of reaching the NBA finals for a second time came to a crashing end. The Thunder became just the 10th team in NBA history to lose a 3-1 lead in a best-of-7 series and the first in the conference finals since the Philadelphia 76ers blew a 3-1 lead to the Celtics in 1981. 

Another reason might lie in another sensitivity. The No. 35 is already retired in Boston, as it was raised to the rafters in honor of the late Celtics captain Reggie Lewis, who died in 1993. 

Thomas is not the first Boston athlete to openly recruit Kevin Durant to the Celtics. New Patriots nose tackle and lifelong Celtics fan Terrance Knighton said last week during OTAs that he would be in the ear of Durant as soon as Durant’s season was over. 

The efforts of Thomas and Knighton might be in vain as ESPN’s NBA insider Marc Stein reports that those close to the situation see Durant signing a two-year max deal to stay in Oklahoma City, with an opt-out after the first year.

Durant will become a 10-year vested NBA veteran after next season, and is eligible to take up a significant portion (up to 35 percent) of any team’s payroll. Durant is currently at the 30 percent threshold. 

 

Read More: Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Durant, New England Patriots
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