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NBA draft prospect profile: France SG Isaia Cordinier

06.06.16 at 3:41 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.

ISAIA CORDINIER

Position: Shooting guard

Country: France (Denain)

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Nov. 28)

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 177 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2015-16 stats: 10.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists

Scouting report: There’s no denying that Cordinier has the freakish athleticism that has become almost commonplace in the NBA. A projected mid-second-round pick, he can make plays both above the rim and in transition, and uses his burst and leaping ability to throw it down in style. He also can connect from deep with a fundamentally sound jump shot, and can change direction and speed with the ball like a pro. He’s a gifted passer who also has quick feet on defense, though that area of his game may need more work. Finally, Cordinier has shown he’s a great teammate, as he’s often vocal while on the court and is there for his team when it needs him.

The biggest concern so far with Cordinier is his physicality. He was a thin body and a narrow frame, and his length and size isn’t all that impressive for a shooting guard. He lacks the physical tools to impress on the defensive end, something that Cordinier himself admitted to having to work in an interview with DraftExpress in February.

“I need to develop my body,” Cordinier said. “With time, that will come. It is not the most important thing. I need to keep working on my dribble, and my shot. Being more aggressive with drives, shooting, and passing the ball.”

Notes: Cordinier played for Denain, a team in France’s second division, before entering his name in the draft. He shot 40 percent from deep in 32 games after shooting just 25 percent on 3-pointers last year. Cordinier’s father, Stéphane, was an Olympic handball player for France.

Related articles:

CBS sports: Flashy son of an Olympian from Europe has shot at first round in NBA draft

USA Today: French prospect has league executives intrigued

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, isaia cordinier,

Austin Ainge: ‘Still too early’ to say how active trade market will be in draft

06.06.16 at 2:00 pm ET
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Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge speaks Monday to reporters in Waltham. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge speaks Monday to reporters in Waltham. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

WALTHAM  –  Austin Ainge is very aware of how much interest there is in what moves the Celtics might be making leading up to the June 23 draft or in the immediate aftermath. 

On Monday, the Celtics brought in 12 more players for pre-draft workouts, six apiece in two sessions. The workouts featured two from Kansas (Perry Ellis, Hunter Mickelson) and two from Brad Stevens’ old employer – Butler (Kellen Dunham, Roosevelt Jones). 

With just over two weeks left before the draft, where does this leave the Celtics? 

“I don’t know. I think that each one of us would give you a different answer on our staff,” said Ainge, the team’s director of player personnel. “We have so many picks and trade possibilities and all these other things that we’ve all been talking about all summer. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Ainge said he and his dad don’t yet have a good gauge on how active other teams might be in the days leading up to the draft. 

“Not really. Not yet. Still too early. People are still trying to figure out who they like in different pick ranges and how valuable they are and what they might want to trade for,” Ainge said. “If you fall in love with a guy, maybe you should try to move up. We’re all just trying to figure out our own draft boards, still. I think it’s early for trades.” 

The Celtics also worked out two players from France (Isaia Cordinier, Guerschon Yabuele) and one from Spain (Jordan Sakho). 

“We really enjoy it. Get to know their level of English and get them outside of their systems a little bit, compare them against some of the college guys. I think it’s very valuable.” 

What are they looking for from the European kids? 

“Really, the same stuff as the college guys. We look for just how they’ll fit with the Celtics and get to know their personalities a little bit,” Ainge said. “Obviously, most of the things we judge them on we see in the games but this is a just a nice little piece. It is hard for young guys to earn minutes on professional teams sometimes. Sometimes we have a limited number of minutes we’ve seen them. This is always good to have them here.

“It’s case-by-case basis. We sit down with the coaches and discuss what we’d like to see from each guy in the workout. We put them in different situations to try to probe some of those strengths and weaknesses.” 

 

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics, Guerschon Yabusele

NBA draft prospect profile: Washington PF Marquese Chriss

06.06.16 at 12:49 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.

MARQUESE CHRISS

Position: Power forward

School: Washington

Age: 18 (turns 19 on July 2)

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 233 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2015-16 stats: 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists

Scouting report: Seemingly out of nowhere, Marquese Chriss has exploded onto the NBA draft scene. The power forward was left off many mock drafts before the college basketball season, but over the course of the year Chriss impressed NBA scouts enough with his raw athletic ability, quickness, explosiveness and body control that he now is projected as a lottery pick — possibly even as high as No. 3. Draftexpress.com noted, “Chriss is one of the most physically gifted prospects you’ll find.”

“I had a stretch where I was playing really well and people started talking and there was a little buzz around,” Chriss told the Seattle Times about when the NBA became a reality. “People were noticing and embracing it, I guess. That’s when I kind of thought, ‘OK, this is going to happen.’ It happened a little quicker than I thought, to be honest.”

While Chriss possesses natural abilities that NBA teams hope they can mold into a potential star, there are several major flaws in his game that many thought would make Chriss want to stay at Washington for another year to improve. Chriss often shied away from finishing at the rim with his left hand. In addition, he struggled passing the ball and was described as having “tunnel vision” when he did receive the rock. Defensively, Chriss will have to put forth a better effort. He only averaged 2.9 defensive rebounds this past season, and when playing defense Chriss sometimes looked disinterested. This led to Chriss being target in defensive isolation situations. Chriss also will need to cut down on fouling in the NBA. Last season he fouled out in 15 of 35 games and had four fouls in 10 other games. 

Notes: Coming out of high school Chriss was ranked by Rivals.com as the 62nd-best recrcuit. If Chriss is selected in the lottery, he will be only the fifth lottery pick since 2000 to be a non-top 25 high school recruit to leave college after one season.

Related articles:

The Seattle Times: Marquese Chirss explains why he’s leaving Washington and opting for NBA draft

SB Nation: Marquese Chriss is the boom-or-bust prospect in the 2016 NBA draft

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Marquese Chriss,

Sixers to ‘host’ Celtics in preseason tilt at UMass

06.06.16 at 12:01 pm ET
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Oct 16, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) goes up for a shot and is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers forward Drew Gordon (30) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics defeated the Sixers 111 to 91. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics and Sixers will do battle in the preseason at the Mullins Center at UMass. (Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics and Sixers have agreed to a deal. 

No, they aren’t trading players or picks yet. The two teams announced Monday that the Sixers will host the Celtics in a preseason game at the Mullins Center on the University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

While the Mullins Center is obviously closer to Boston than Philadelphia, the Sixers have more ties to Amherst location. Julius Erving, the most famous UMass hoops alumnus, was an 11-time NBA All-Star, 1980-81 NBA MVP, 1983 NBA Champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Dr. J. starred at UMass from 1969-71, averaging 26 points and 20 rebounds in 38 minutes per game over his two collegiate seasons.

Former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby and former Sixers guard Al Skinner are among seven players in NBA history who attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The Sixers play in the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly, operated by Spectra Management, which also runs the Mullins Center. 

Tickets as low as $30 are available this Thursday, June 9, through MullinsCenter.com, at Ticketmaster outlets, by calling 800-745-3000 or in person at the Mullins Center box office. Group discounts are available by calling the box office by phone.

The Sixers and Celtics were recently awarded the first and third overall picks, respectively, in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. Philadelphia also owns the 24th and 26th overall selections. Boston is also scheduled to select at No. 16 and No. 23 in the first round.

Philadelphia and Boston last met at UMass on October 8, 2008 when the Sixers defeated the defending NBA champion Celtics 98-92 in a preseason opener at the Mullins Center. The game marked two-time All-Star forward Elton Brand’s debut in a Sixers uniform.

Read More: 2016 preseason, Boston Celtics, Mullins Center, NBA

NBA draft prospect profile: Purdue C A.J. Hammons

06.06.16 at 9:26 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.

A.J. HAMMONS

Position: Center

School: Purdue

Age: 23 (turns 24 on Aug. 27)

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 278 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 59.2 field goal percentage

Scouting report: One of the biggest players available in this year’s draft, Hammons was a top post scorer in college basketball last season. His size and strength makes him unmovable down low, but he has the soft touch on hook shots and fadeaway jumpers to have his way against opponents. For a player his size, Hammons is a good athlete who uses his quickness to excel in transition. His best skill may be his shot-blocking, applying his wingspan and instincts to be a dominant rim protector.

As NBA-ready as he is, Hammons is only projected as an early second-round selection. He tends to disappear on the court at times, one of the reasons he’s been viewed as a lazy player. He also was suspended for three games his senior year for undisclosed issues, which is sure to be a red flag for NBA teams. Finally, he will be 24 later this summer, meaning it’s likely that Hammons will reach his peak potential very soon, if he hasn’t already.

Notes: Hammons was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and made All-Big Ten first team last season. He led the conference in blocks in three of his four seasons and finished first in defensive rating (88.7) in the Big Ten. A former McDonald’s All-American nominee, he has been suspended for six games in his collegiate career.

Related articles:

Chicago Tribune: Once perceived as lazy, Purdue’s A.J. Hammons now viewed as elite

News Sentinel: Modest or not, Purdue’s A.J. Hammons delivers big

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, AJ Hammons,

NBA draft prospect profile: Maryland PF Robert Carter Jr.

06.05.16 at 8:03 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.

ROBERT CARTER JR.

Position: Power forward

School: Maryland

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 250 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 12.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 55.4 field goal percentage

Scouting report: A redshirt junior in 2015-16, Carter led the Terps in rebounding and was third in scoring, shooting 62.9 percent on shots inside the arc. He has a reputation as a hard worker and vocal leader. “I’ve never had anybody as consistent as Robert in terms of his effort and his enthusiasm,” Maryland director of basketball performance Kyle Tarp said (via WTOP.com) early this past season when commenting on Carter’s dedication to getting in top shape. “He’s one of the most fun athletes I’ve been around. He’s the strongest guy on the team right now in the traditional sense, but he can do a lot of things that 6-9, 235-pound guys can’t usually do.”

Carter did not help his cause with his performance in the NCAA Tournament, as he averaged just 7.3 points in his team’s three-game run as he struggled to stay out of foul trouble.

During one of the five-on-five scrimmages at the NBA combine Carter was impressive, scoring 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from a variety of spots — especially standing out in the pick-and-pop — and recording seven rebounds and foul steals while playing strong defense. In two games at the combine he finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds in 45 minutes of action. He went into the combine as someone who was considered a fringe second-rounder but came out with analysts predicting he was sure to get drafted — possibly even sneaking into the late first round if one team finds him appealing enough.

Carter does not have explosive athleticism, but he’s helped by his 7-foot-3 1/4 wingspan. He has drawn comparisons to Jared Sullinger, and, like Sullinger, his weight has fluctuated a bit, which could concern NBA executives. After starting this past season at 235 pounds — dropping 18 pounds and 6 percent body fat in a year — he weighed in at 250 pounds at the combine with a body fat percentage of 12.5, ranking him fourth worst of those tested. However, with the Celtics owning eight picks, this could be the kind of player on whom they might gamble.

Notes: Carter was named All-Big Ten honorable mention in his lone season at Maryland. He also won the conference’s sportsmanship award. A Georgia native, Carter started his college career at Georgia Tech, averaging 10.5 points and 7.4 rebound as a sophomore before transferring to Maryland. He reportedly was not happy that Georgia Tech used him mainly in the post and did not give him a chance to show his range. “I just felt like I needed to put myself in a better position to accomplish the goals that I set for myself, and that’s it,” he explained.

Related articles:

Fansided: Robert Carter impresses at NBA scouting combine

WTOP.com: How Robert Carter Jr. transformed himself into Maryland’s most complete player

Bleacher Report: Breaking down future of Maryland’s Robert Carter Jr.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Robert Carter Jr.,

Isaiah Thomas reportedly ‘all-in’ on bringing Kevin Durant to Boston

06.05.16 at 2:53 pm ET
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May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) scores against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the fourth quarter in game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant (35) scores against Golden State’s Klay Thompson (11) in Game 7 of the Western finals. (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)

Isaiah Thomas isn’t going to give up on Kevin Durant without a fight.

Despite numerous reports and rumors indicating that Kevin Durant is staying put in Oklahoma City and not seriously considering Boston, the Celtics point guard told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach that he has acquired the superstar forward’s phone number and will be hot on the trail this summer trying to convince him why he should be considering Boston.

Thomas told Himmelsbach via phone from China that he will “do everything I can to get him to sign.”

Durant, whose Thunder teammates blew a 3-1 series lead to the Warriors in the Western finals, is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. An hour after Durant and the Thunder lost Game 7 Monday night in Oakland, Thomas tweeted out the No. 35 (Durant’s number) and a Shamrock and then quickly deleted it

ESPN’s Marc Stein reported earlier this week that those close to the situation believe that Durant is most likely going to sign a two-year extension with Oklahoma City (including an opt-out after the first year), staying put with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka for another run at glory. 

Jackie MacMullan told WEEI’s OM&F that Celtics fans “can forget” about Durant being lured to Boston and signing with the Celtics. 

This week, FOX25’s Butch Stearns told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan that the Celtics have been told which players would need to be acquired by any team hoping to sign Durant. 

But that might be putting the cart before the horse. Thomas must first get a hold of Durant and work his magic and charm, letting him know just what he would mean to the Celtics roster. 

“That’s who I’m trying to get,” Thomas told Himmelsbach. 

Read More: 2016 NBA free agency, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Durant
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