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NBA draft prospect profile: UNLV C Stephen Zimmerman

06.10.16 at 12:57 pm ET
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As part of’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: 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,

NBA draft prospect profile: UConn PG Daniel Hamilton

06.10.16 at 10:43 am ET
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As part of’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: Shooting guard

School: UConn

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Aug. 8)

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 197 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2015-16 stats: 12.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists

Scouting report: Hamilton, who is leaving UConn after his sophomore season, is a defensive rebounding machine (8.1 per game). It is rare for a guard to be able to grab as many rebounds as Hamilton does, but the high number of rebounds shows Hamilton’s hustle and anticipation skills. Hamilton also uses those skills to be a successful facilitator. This past season there were only three players in the nation who had more than five assists and 10 rebounds per 40 minutes: LSU’s Ben Simmons, BYU’s Kyle Collingsworth and Hamilton.

At the next level it is unlikely that Hamilton will be a point guard because of his inability to be an efficient scorer. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Hamilton converted only 41.6 percent of his 2-point shots and 42.7 percent of his shots around the rim. Those low percentages are due in large part to poor shot selection. Rebounding is Hamilton’s only strength on defense. He needs to improve his defensive discipline before he succeeds at the next level. Hamilton is predicted to be drafted late in the second round, if he is drafted at all.

Notes: Hamilton had 63 points and 34 rebounds for UConn in the AAC Tournament. For his performance he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Then in two games in the NCAA Tournament he totaled 28 points and 18 rebounds. … Hamilton was named all-conference second team this year, and was the AAC Rookie of the Year in 2014-15. … All four of Hamilton’s older brothers have either played or currently are playing Division 1 college basketball. One brother, Jordan, has had stints with four NBA teams (most recently the Pelicans this year) since being drafted 26th overall in 2011 out of Texas.

Related articles:

Hartford Courant: Should UConn’s Hamilton have declared for NBA draft? Experts question decision

CBS Sports: Daniel Hamilton declares, putting UConn in bind

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Daniel Hamilton,

NBA draft prospect profile: New Mexico State PF Pascal Siakam

06.09.16 at 3:47 pm ET
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As part of’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

School: New Mexico State

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 227 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 20.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks

Scouting report: Siakam uses his intimidating wingspan and high motor to have his way in the paint. He isn’t overly impressive on the offensive end, but the big man can score on putbacks and dump-ins with the best of them. Siakam’s hustle helps him rebound with ease, as well as get down to the other end of the court quickly for a big. He also is surprisingly capable of staying in front of guards on defense. While Siakam may lack a wide range of post moves, he has shown potential on his midrange jumper. One NBA team will hope that he can make the necessary adjustments to his jump shot in order to thrive as a stretch four.

Siakam, projected to go anywhere from late first round to late second round, worked out for the Celtics on June 6, with his focus being to display his high energy level. “I’m just trying to show that I’m a competitor,” Siakam said during his visit. “I come to this workout and do what I do best; I’m not trying to force anything.”

While Siakam does have great wingspan for a power forward, he’s a little too thin and will need to fill out his frame and work on his strength down low. His limited post moves have become too predictable, and at 22 years old, there may not be much upside to his game. He is a fairly well-rounded prospect, but there’s also plenty to work on.

Notes: Siakam led the nation in double-doubles with 22 in 32 games this past season. He was named the unanimous WAC Player of the Year and made the conference’s All-Defensive Team. … He grew up playing soccer in Cameroon before moving to the United States in 2012. … He is the youngest of four brothers who all played Division 1 basketball. … Siakam will attempt to be the first player from NMSU drafted since 1991.

Related articles:

Bleacher Report: New Mexico State’s Pascal Siakam is the best player you’ve never heard of

Las Cruces Sun-News: New Mexico State’s Pascal Siakam staying in NBA draft

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, pascal siakam,

Celtics Choice: Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield vs. Kentucky guard Jamal Murray

06.09.16 at 1:38 pm ET
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In the days leading up to June 23’s NBA draft, we examine what the Celtics could do with the No. 3 overall pick and how they should approach this pivotal offseason. In that spirit, we present “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the No. 3 pick to draft a scorer — Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield, or Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray.

The case for Hield

Did you watch a second of college basketball this season? 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, including Murray. 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

The senior thing actually works against him among NBA types concerned that he’s already at or near his ceiling. There are also legitimate questions about his foot speed and ability to create his own shot at the next level, especially since he’s only 6-4 and won’t have the benefit of simply shooting over the top of smaller defenders, a la Reggie Miller or Klay Thompson. He’s also considered a subpar defender, though Brad Stevens could change that. The biggest knock on Hield is that he’s a finished product with not a lot of room to grow, and in the NBA everyone loves the ability to daydream about best-case projections.

The case for Murray

He’s one confident young man, that’s for sure. He told reporters, including’s Mike Petraglia, after his Celtics workout that he considers himself the best player in the draft, and he opened eyes by making a draft-workout record 79 out of 100 3-pointers during one Celtics drill. His college coach, John Calipari, believes the Sixers should take him No. 1 overall. He made over 40 percent of his 3-pointers as a freshman and has the kind of stroke that projects to play in the NBA, particularly as he develops. Murray is a weapon pulling up off the dribble or coming off screens, and probably a better pure shooter than Hield, who only made 23.5 percent of his 3s as a college freshman.

The case against Murray

He opened the season as Kentucky’s point guard, but ball-handling and decision-making limitations opened the door for Tyler Ulis, and Murray excelled off the ball. Still, at 6-4, he’ll need to develop better ball security to thrive in the NBA. The biggest question, however, is Murray’s athleticism. He struggled to finish at the rim in college, and that task will get exponentially harder in the NBA. He lacks the lateral quickness to defend NBA guards, and he’s not much of a leaper. While his pure shooting ability makes him a solid NBA prospect, he’d be a real gamble at No. 3, especially since he probably will need at least two years to make an impact.

The Verdict

Murray’s shooting numbers as a freshman blow away Hield’s at the same age, and a lot of the questions we had about Hield (creating shot, dribble penetration) were answered over the final three years of his college career. If — and this is a big if — Murray makes similar improvements, he’ll be a better pro. In the short term, the answer is Hield, but long-term, we’d roll the dice on Murray.

Should the Celtics draft Oklahoma's Buddy Hield or Kentucky's Jamal Murray No. 3 overall?

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Previous entries

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

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Buddy Hield, Celtics choice

NBA draft prospect profile: Marquette PF Henry Ellenson

06.09.16 at 12:33 pm ET
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As part of’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

School: Marquette

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 242 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.0 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists

Scouting report: Ellenson has the potential to be an offensive force in the NBA, which is why he could be drafted in the top 10. Ellenson has been deemed to have a natural scoring ability, and his ball-handling skills combined with his long frame creates mismatch nightmares for defenders, especially in pick-and-roll situations. This past season at Marquette, Ellenson only hit 29 percent of the 3’s he took, but some analysts believe that the low success rate is due to shot selection, not capability. ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford recently watched Ellenson at a workout and said, “While his release is a bit on the slow side, he had great shooting form and showed he could hit shots with regularity from anywhere on the floor.” Ford also reported Ellenson was working on developing a step-back jumper, which would add another weapon to an already deadly mid-range arsenal.

Ellenson’s weakness is on the defensive side of the court. This is concern about his lack of explosiveness that could make it difficult for him to protect the rim, and his inability to get out the perimeter quickly could hurt him when guarding quicker power forwards. Further hurting Ellenson is that Marquette as a whole was not good this past season and failed to qualify for even the NIT.

Nonetheless, Ellenson is confident in his abilities. “I’m thinking I’m a top pick,” Ellenson said at the NBA combine. “[Teams that I have interviewed with] all think that, too. It is a good position to be in, for sure.”

Notes: Ellenson was named the Big East Freshman of the Year and landed a spot on the All-Big East first team, which is the first time a freshman has done that since Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony in 2003. … Ellenson comes from quite the basketball family. His father, John, played for Marquette and Wisconsin. His mother, Holly, played at Division 3 Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His oldest brother, Wally, played with him at Marquette (after transferring from Minnesota) and is an All-America high jumper for the school’s track and field team. His other older brother, Ellwood, plays NAIA college basketball for Valley City State in North Dakota. And his sister, Ella, is wrapping up her junior year of high school as a Division 1 college prospect.

Related articles:

Sports Illustrated: Henry Ellenson: I can go No. 1 in the NBA draft

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Meet the leapin’ Ellenson family

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Former Marquette standout skips on-court activities

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Henry Ellenson,

NBA draft prospect profile: NC State PG Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber

06.09.16 at 9:38 am ET
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As part of’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: Point guard

School: NC State

Age: 21 (turns 22 on July 25)

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 173 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-5

Key 2015-16 stats: 23.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists

Scouting report: Barber, who is forging his senior season, may not be the tallest or strongest person on the court, but he is one of the quickest. Barber uses that ability to break the ankles of his defenders, thus creating his own shot. Eight times last season Barber had at least 30 points, and only twice did he fail to reach double figures.

“He’ll be one of the 10 quickest point guards in the the league,” an NBA scout told Bleacher Report. “But the problem is he’s doing it with a much smaller frame than most players. The greatest concern with him is going to be his frame, whether he’ll get swallowed up and knocked around and have trouble staying on the line.” 

For somebody who is so quick, Barber only recorded 0.6 steals per game. Barber also has been knocked for trying to do too much and failing to distribute the ball on a team that finished under .500 this past season. Further hurting Barber are concerns about his attitude, although NC State coach Mark Gottfried defended his player’s approach. He is projected to be drafted in the middle or later part of the second round.

Notes: Barber was given the nickname Cat by his older sister for his quick and sudden movements as a child. … The ambidextrous Barber has been compared to Allen Iverson because in addition to the fact that both are smaller, quicker players, they share the same hometown of Hampton, Virginia. … Barber has a 1-year-old daughter.

Related articles:

USA Today: Two days inspire two months for NC State’s Cat Barber

The News & Observer: Is Cat Barber ‘uncoachable’? Not according to NC State coach

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Anthony Barber,

NBA draft prospect profile: Serbia SF Rade Zagorac

06.08.16 at 3:42 pm ET
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As part of’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: Small forward

Country: Serbia (Mega Leks)

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Aug. 12)

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 205 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 13.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals

Scouting report: Zagorac is the less heralded of the three Mega Leks players expected to be drafted this month (Timothe Luwawu and Ivica Zubak are the others). Not surprisingly, Mega Leks won the Serbian Cup this season, and Zagorac was a key reason why. With his long wingspan, Zagorac rebounded well for a small forward and defensively was able to disrupt the passing lanes, coming up with 1.7 steals per game. He is strong at finishing on the fast break and taking the ball to the basket against smaller players — changing speed and direction well — although there are questions if he will be athletic enough for the NBA game.

Zagorac hit just 27.8 percent on 3-pointers this past season, which is another concern. He shot 45.1 percent from the field overall, and 83.3 percent from the free throw line.

Zagorac is projected to be drafted in the middle or later part of the second round by a team willing to give him some time to develop his game and his body.

Notes: Zagorac broke his hand during the first game of the season last October and played through the injury for the last few minutes of the contest, but he ended up missing the next three months. He was on the Serbian team that won the gold medal at the U20 European Championship last year in Italy, averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in that tournament.

Related articles:

Kosarka: Rade Zagorac: NBA is my dream

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Rade Zagorac,
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