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NBA draft prospect profile: Kentucky C Dakari Johnson

06.18.15 at 8:58 pm ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).


Position: Center

School: Kentucky

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Sept. 22)

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 265 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2014-15 stats: 6.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.7 assist, 1.1 turnovers, 0.9 blocks, 50.6 field goal percentage, 62.5 free throw percentage

Scouting report: At 7 feet tall, Johnson plays as big as he is, using his strength and height to overpower opponents. notes that he is “an unselfish prospect who became one of the nation’s top role players on one of college basketball‘s strongest teams.” Being on a team like Kentucky, Johnson got the least amount of playing time among the seven Wildcats who declared for this year’s draft. He’ll likely continue that type of “limited-minute role player,” according to CBS Sports. Johnson does the little things well, and that should help contribute to his transition to the NBA. He’s great at setting screens and is a good offensive rebounder due in part to the fact that he can position himself well below the basket to both pull down boards and affect shots near the rim. Though his offensive game needs work, his physicality and rebounding abilities should convert relatively well to the pro level.

A backup center for the Wildcats, Johnson is projected to go in the second round, and some higher-ups in the NBA said that he’d probably end up going earlier if he went back to Kentucky for his junior year. However, they also pointed out that Johnson might not end up improving that much more, so getting into the league now can “start his clock a little quicker” and get him to even better coaching.

“If he would have gone back I think he would have been a mid-first-round pick next year,” an NBA executive said of Johnson not returning to Kentucky for his junior season. “But he’s going to find a home. I think he’s going to be a rock solid backup center. If he had gone back he would have been a rock-solid backup center. He would have gone higher, but his limitations are probably going to make him a backup at our level. We interviewed him. Likable kid. Understands who he is.”

Most prevalent in terms of weaknesses for Johnson is his mediocre offense and lack of athleticism. He is a role player and could fill a complementary part at the next level, not being relied on to score necessarily, but contributing off the bench. His box-out technique makes it harder for him to be as good of a defensive rebounder as he is on the other end of the floor, despite his strength. Johnson is prone to fouls at times, and also struggles some at the charity stripe. His defensive game isn’t great, either, regardless of how much room he takes up, and coach John Calipari said at one point during the 2014-15 season that Johnson wasn’t fighting as he had been before, though he appeared to at least somewhat break out of that slump.

Notes: Johnson logged time in 78 games for Kentucky over his two-year career, making starts in 18 of them. He posted 5.8 points per game and 4.3 boards per game overall and recorded career bests in points per game, rebounds per game, free throw percentage, blocks, steals and assists during his sophomore season. Two of the center’s biggest games came in the 2014 NCAA Tournament when he registered 15 points in a career-high 31 minutes of play in the Sweet 16 vs. Louisville before collecting 10 points and seven rebounds, five of which were offensive, in the Wildcats’ Final Four loss to Wisconsin. The 19-year-old worked out for the Celtics on June 10.

Related articles:

Sports Illustrated: Sunday Sit Down: Kentucky’s Dakari Johnson talks Coach Cal, more

Petoskey News-Review: Dakari Johnson wants to be the X factor for Kentucky

The Courier-Journal: Kentucky 7-footer Dakari Johnson finding his form again

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Dakari Johnson,

NBA draft prospect profile: VCU SG Treveon Graham

06.18.15 at 11:22 am ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).


Position: Shooting guard

School: VCU

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 219 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 16.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists

Scouting report: Graham was a four-year guard for Shaka Smart’s VCU squad. He scored with remarkable consistency, averaging more than 15 points per game in each of the past three years. He can score from most any spot on the floor, possessing an ability to get to the rim and shoot the midrange jumper. He shot a very respectable 38.1 percent from downtown this season. Graham’s size bodes well for his NBA projection, as he possesses a large frame for a shooting guard. The size helps Graham be a very good rebounder for his position, corralling more than seven boards per game this year. He is a high-character guy who drew the praises of his coach.

“These guys look up to Tre, everyone in our program, including me. Because he has phenomenal humility,” Smart said of his four-year guard.

Graham could use work from the charity stripe, as he shot just 69.1 percent from the line this season. He could also stand to improve as an on-ball defender. In mock drafts, Graham is projected to be taken in the second round.

Notes: In both his junior and senior seasons, Graham was named first-team All-Atlantic 10. His sophomore year, he was named second-team All-Atlantic 10. In April, he was the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, which brings together 64 college players to be viewed by NBA scouts.

Related articles:

Sports Illustrated: VCU’s Treveon Graham ready to carry the load after Briante Weber’s injury

ProBasketballTalk: VCU’s Treveon Graham: From lightly recruited to leader of Havoc, the Atlantic 10 favorites

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Treveon Graham,

NBA draft prospect profile: Lithuania C Arturas Gudaitis

06.18.15 at 7:22 am ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).


Position: Center

Country: Lithuania (played last season for Zalgiris in Euroleague)

Age: 21 (turns 22 on June 19)

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 253 pounds

Key 2014-15 stats: 6.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 blocks

Scouting report: Gudaitis is a strong and athletic big with good mobility and explosiveness. This helps him on the pick and roll, where he can accelerate to the rim for dunks. His shooting ability can make him a mismatch against a more typical big man. He is good as a help defender. Gudaitis has a nose and tenacity for the offensive boards. He needs to improve his ability to play through contact in the post. In the post, his game could use refinement, as Gudaitis isn’€™t much of a shot-creator from the low block. Playing in somewhat limited minutes (16 per game), Gudaitis has not shown he can shoulder a significant offensive load. He projects to be a second-round pick, according to many mock drafts.

Notes: This year his Zalgiris squad finished in the top 16 of the Euroleague and won the Lithuanian title for the fifth straight season. Gudaitis sprained his ankle in the Lithuanian Cup final and missed a month of Euroleague playoff action. For the first time, Gudaitis this year was invited to participate with the Lithuanian senior team. Gudaitis was abandoned by both of his parents and raised by a nanny. His development took longer than many players in Lithuania, as he didn’t start playing basketball until he was 14 years old.

Related articles:

DraftExpress: Arturas Gudaitis NBA draft scouting report and video breakdown

Today’s Fastbreak: Top 5 draft-and-stash international prospects in the 2015 NBA draft

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Arturas Gudaitis,

NBA draft prospect profile: North Carolina SG/SF J.P. Tokoto

06.17.15 at 6:42 pm ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).


Position: Shooting guard/small forward

School: North Carolina

Age: 21 (turns 22 on Sept. 15)

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 200 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2014-15 stats: 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 37.5 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Tokoto’s value is defined by his athleticism. He is an explosive college forward who projects to improve on the offensive end once his position becomes more clear. While Tokoto is not yet a scorer, he has excellent rebounding and passing skills for a young player. He is already an elite defender, earning All-ACC Defensive Team honors his first two years at North Carolina, and he has the ability and physical tools to be a lockdown defender at three positions.

While Tokoto has excelled on the defensive end, the projected second-rounder has a tendency to lose focus at times, according to his college coach Roy Williams.

“Now, defensively, you have to have a lot of discipline and you have to be focused and the whole bit,” Williams told “When J.P. puts his mind to it, he is really, really good. Sometimes his mind tends to waiver. But I have tremendous confidence that he can really be a big time, big time defender, and he’€™s shown that he can do that.”

Notes: Tokoto finished second on his team in assists and steals and third in rebounding en route to a Sweet 16 berth for the Tar Heels. In his last 16 games, Tokoto notched 73 assists and just 27 turnovers, good for an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7-1.

Related articles:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: J.P. Tokoto comfortable with decision to leave school early

Bleacher Report: UNC’s J.P. Tokoto soaring to new heights with strong family values and support

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, J.P. Tokoto,

NBA draft prospect profile: Notre Dame PG Jerian Grant

06.17.15 at 2:27 pm ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).


Position: Point guard

School: Notre Dame

Age: 22 (turns 23 on Oct. 9)

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 198 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-7.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 16.5 points, 6.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds

Scouting report: Grant’€™s talent as a college player seems likely to translate to the next level, given his size (pretty big even for an NBA point guard) and athleticism. He is quick and is a good playmaker, both at generating shots for himself and teammates. He is a good passer and has a great feel for the game. Grant’s 6.6 assists per game ranked seventh in the nation, and he had only 2.2 turnovers per game. Grant is very unselfish, just as willing to dish it to teammates as he is to take shots himself.

“I think he’s a pro player. I think he’s a guy who’s so unselfish. He doesn’t force shots. He took 17 shots [against Michigan State], but to me you wouldn’t even have known it. He gets fouled, he can make passes and he defends pretty well,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of Grant after playing the Irish. “I think he’s as complete a guard as we’ve played against so far. I told him after the game I was very, very impressed by him.”

There is some question as to Grant’s ability to further improve, given how polished he is already. He is relatively old — he’ll turn 23 before his first NBA game — leading some to believe he doesn’t have the same potential as a younger player might. He isn’t a great shooter, making only 31.6 percent of his 3-point attempts. He is projected to be picked in the mid-to-late first round.

Notes: Grant played well during Notre Dame‘s impressive postseason run. He won MVP honors during the ACC Tournament, leading the Irish to the conference title. He played an important role as Notre Dame made the Elite Eight and came close to knocking off then-undefeated Kentucky. He is incredibly accomplished as a college player, being named first-team All-ACC and first-team All-America this season. He comes from a long line of talented basketball players. Jerian’s father, Harvey, is a former NBA player, his brother is former Syracuse Orangeman and current 76er Jerami Grant, and his uncle is former NBA player Horace Grant. Jerian was suspended from school for the spring semester of 2014 and missed the final 20 games of the 2013-14 season for what the school called “an academic mistake.”

Related articles:

Washington Times: Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant could find comfort in pro career near home

CollegeBasketballTalk: The maturation of Jerian Grant: What one star learned during a season-long suspension

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Jerian Grant,

NBA draft prospect profile: LSU PF Jordan Mickey

06.17.15 at 10:45 am ET
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As part of’s coverage of the 2015 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics own two picks in each of the first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).


Position: Power forward

School: LSU

Age: 20 (turns 21 on July 9)

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 235 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2014-15 stats: 15.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 0.9 steals, 3.6 blocks, 50.4 field goal percentage, 64.6 free throw percentage

Scouting report: Equipped with excellent athleticism, elite shot-blocking abilities and a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Mickey has all the makings of a great defender. After returning for his sophomore year, he showed improvements on offense as well as in rebounding, where he had trouble during his rookie season. Mickey has a great understanding of the game and is very aware of what will help him get to the next level, working on that intently. He’s projected to go at the end of the first round or, more likely, in the second.

“He’s an athletic freak,” Tennessee guard Josh Richardson said. “He’s got a huge wingspan and he’s got really good timing. What makes him a good shot blocker? Everything.”

If Mickey wants to succeed in the NBA, he’ll have to continue building his strength, as his height and power aren’t really ideal for his current position as a power forward. According to, though, some of those issues are mitigated by the fact that he is such a good athlete and has that enormous wingspan, but he needs to get bigger yet to compete with larger players in the post.

Notes: Mickey, an All-SEC first-team selection his sophomore season, led the league in rebounding, was second on his team in points per game and was tops in the country in blocks per contest. His 16 double-doubles also led the SEC this season, and he was a finalist for the Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year. Mickey joined Shaquille O’Neal as the only players in LSU history to block more than 100 shots in a season, as he had 113 this year and 106 as a freshman. Still, O’Neal said that Mickey and teammate Jarell Martin, who also declared for the draft, are not ready for the NBA.

Mickey struggled some during the season due to iron deficiency problems in March. He worked out for the Celtics on May 27.

Related articles: When LSU needed him most, Jordan Mickey came alive to provide a spark Jordan Mickey Interview In year two, LSU’s sophomore stars are shining bright to give the Tigers high hopes

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Jordan Mickey,

An absolute mockery of a 2015 NBA mock draft v3.0

06.17.15 at 9:37 am ET
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I’€™m not sure whether mock drafts got their name from the false premise that anyone could accurately mock what the front offices of all 30 NBA franchises will do come June 25 or the reality that everyone who projects to know such matters ultimately makes a mockery of themselves. It’€™s probably a hybrid of the two, but they sure are fun, so without further ado Green Street presents the third of four mock drafts leading up to the real thing in Chicago next week.

Keep in mind Celtics president Danny Ainge owns two first-round picks in this year’€™s draft — his own No. 16 selection and the Clippers’€™ No. 28 pick he received in exchange for letting Doc Rivers out of his contract — and predicting whether The Wolf of Causeway Street will stand pat, trade up or swap out of the draft is like guessing which ridiculous name Ron Artest will use next. Impossible.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Towns (Last week: Karl Towns)

  • Position: Center/power forward
  • School: Kentucky
  • Birthday: Nov. 15, 1995 (19 years old)
  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 248 pounds
  • Wingspan: 7-foot-3.5
  • 2014-15 stats (39 games): 10.3 points (62.7 true shooting percentage), 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.1 assists in 21.1 minutes per game (31.4 player efficiency rating)
  •’s NBA draft prospect profile: Click here.
  • NBA comparison: Andrew Bogut.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor (Last week: Jahlil Okafor)

  • Position: Center
  • School: Duke
  • Birthday: Dec. 15, 1995 (19 years old)
  • Height: 6-foot-11
  • Weight: 270 pounds
  • Wingspan: 7-foot-5
  • 2014-15 stats (38 games): 17.3 points (64.1 true shooting percentage), 8.5 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 30.1 per game (30.7 player efficiency rating)
  •’s NBA draft prospect profile: Click here.
  • NBA comparison: Al Jefferson.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Kristaps Porzingis (Last week: Emmanuel Mudiay)

  • Position: Power forward
  • Country: Latvia
  • Team: Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain)
  • Birthday: Aug. 2, 1995 (19 years old)
  • Height: 7 feet
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • Wingspan: N/A
  • 2014-15 stats (50 games): 11.0 points (58.3 true shooting percentage), 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 21.4 minutes per game (19.6 player efficiency rating)
  •’s NBA draft prospect profileClick here.
  • NBA comparison: Chris Bosh.

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