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NBA draft prospect profile: Boston College PG/SG Olivier Hanlan

06.24.15 at 1:34 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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).

OLIVIER HANLAN

Position: Point guard/shooting guard

School: Boston College

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 186 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-6.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 19.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 45.4 field goal percentage, 35.3 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Despite being BC’s only reliable offensive threat and thus becoming the center of attention from opposing defenses, Hanlan managed to finish the season as the ACC’s leading scorer and in the top 10 in the league in minutes (first), 3-point percentage (seventh), field goal percentage (eighth), 3-pointers (eighth) and assists (10th). He can play either guard spot, although he’ll likely be expected to man the point in the NBA as he’s small for a shooting guard. That’s a concern, as he’s more of a scorer than a playmaker, and he doesn’t have the elite-level quickness as the league premier points. That said, Hanlan can drive both ways and finish strong at the rim, and he changes direction quickly. He also runs the pick and roll well and is good at getting to the line, where he hit 76 percent last season.

There are concerns about Hanlan’s defense and whether he’s quick enough to keep up with opposing point guards. Analysts note his tendency to be too easily screened due to a lack of court vision.

Hanlan impressed at his second NBA combine scrimmage, posting eight points (2-for-3 FG), six assists, four rebounds and five steals in 23 minutes. He is expected to be drafted in the early or middle part of the second round and acknowledges his role likely will be as a scoring threat off the bench. Considering the improvement he showed during his three seasons at BC, Hanlan is confident he can contribute at the next level wherever he’s asked.

“I felt like every year at Boston College, I got better,” Hanlan told MichiganLive.com. “After freshman and sophomore year, I added something to my game and saw a lot of different defenses last year and tried to stay effective and consistent with my play. I scored the ball pretty well through my three years and my assists definitely went up as a junior. I had a few games with eight, nine assists. I just kind of go with the flow of the game, and feel like in the NBA you get a lot of ball screens, too, so you get a lot of opportunities to find teammates.”

Notes: A native of Quebec, Hanlan prepped at New Hampton School in New Hampshire for two seasons before matriculating at BC. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 2013, third-team All-ACC in 2014 and first-team All-ACC this past season. In an example of what he’s capable of, Hanlan scored 41 points in a first-round game against Georgia Tech in the 2013 ACC Tournament, leading the Eagles to a big win. He hit 14-of-18 shots (8-of-10 treys) in setting a freshman tournament scoring record. Hanlan ranks 12th in BC history with 1,725 points and ninth in 3-pointers with 176. He has played for Canada’s U-17 and U-19 national teams.

Related articles:

MichiganLive.com: Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan hopes to bring versatility, scoring punch off the bench to NBA

Ottawa Citizen: From Aylmer to the NBA: Olivia Hanlan wants to make it happen

The Basketball Diary: Olivier Hanlan of Boston College talks growing up in Quebec, NBA draft preparations, advice to high school hoopers

Read More: 015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Olivier Hanlan,

NBA draft prospect profile: Croatia SG Mario Hezonja

06.24.15 at 10:26 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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).

MARIO HEZONJA

Position: Shooting guard

Country: Croatia (played for Barcelona in Spanish league)

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 200 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2014-15 stats: 5.8 points, 2 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Scouting report: Hezonja is undeniably talented but is followed by the question marks that accompany top European players as they enter the NBA draft. Hezonja is one of two European players, along with Kristaps Porzingis, projected to be a lottery pick this year. Many mock drafts predict that Hezonja will be taken in the back end of the top 10 overall.

His 6-foot-8 frame makes him a good size for a wing and he has very high potential as an NBA player. His fundamentals on the offensive end are very solid. He has great body control and is a good athlete, and he has the ability to take defenders off the dribble. He is a solid shooter with a quick release and deep range. He has the ability to defend both the shooting guard and small forward positions. His size allows him to rebound relatively well for his position. While his stats aren’t eye-popping, extrapolated over a larger workload they would seem more impressive (14 points and 4.5 rebounds per 36 minutes).

“I don’t think there is any downside with Hezonja. There is nothing he’s not good at,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said. “He is competitive. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic. He can shoot it. He’s a really good shooter. He puts it on the deck. He can defend. There is nothing I don’t like about that guy, nothing.”

He could benefit from some added bulk in order to withstand contact at the next level. Analysts note that he sometimes loses focus on the defensive end when playing off the ball, he is prone to turning the ball over and can at times be inconsistent offensively.

Notes: Hezonja is known as having a cocky and fiery nature, which has gotten him in trouble at times. He played on about 15 minutes per game in a role off the bench this season for a loaded Barcelona team.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Mario Hezonja is the cockiest NBA draft prospect in years

BleacherReport: Hype Is building for international stud Mario Hezonja

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Mario Hezonja,

Video: Marcus Smart sinks halfcourt shot from his back

06.24.15 at 9:09 am ET
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Is this Marcus Smart’s official statement on Danny Ainge saying nobody on the Celtics is “untouchable”? Because it should be. Ainge should also then email this video to the 76ers and ask Sam Hinkie if he’s changed his mind about trading Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 overall pick for Smart and the C’s two first-round picks. “But he can drain halfcourt shots from his back!”

(h/t Bleacher Report)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart, NBA,

Isaiah Thomas to DeMarcus Cousins: I know who wants you

06.24.15 at 8:59 am ET
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As rumor spread that his coach was rallying teammates around trading him, Kings superstar DeMarcus Cousins posted the chillest photo in the history of chill photos on Instagram with the caption: “Meanwhile … good vibes.” Noted Instagram stalker Jimmy Toscano of Comcast (we kid) uncovered a comment from Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas on the photo: “If they don’t want you, I know who does.”

Thomas and Cousins played three seasons together in Sacramento, and three days ago Cousins posted an Instagram photo of his former teammate with the caption: “Follow the family. He finally got an Instagram.” No word on whether Thomas was invited to the super chill beach dinner.

Thomas has also made veiled recruiting pitches to Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge on Twitter.

Read More: Boston Celtics, DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas,

NBA draft prospect profile: Arizona SF Stanley Johnson

06.24.15 at 7:06 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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).

STANLEY JOHNSON

Position: Small forward

School: Arizona

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 242 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11.5

Key 2014-15 stats: 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals

Scouting report: Johnson is a versatile two-way player. He has a pro-ready body as a small forward with a long wingspan. He also is young, having just turned 19 on May 29. On NBA.com and nbadraft.net, Johnson has received comparisons to Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs. He projects to be a lottery pick, with many mock drafts predicting selection in the back end of the top 10 overall picks. He is a good athlete and defender, tallying 1.5 steals per contest. Johnson is a force in transition on offense and can knock down spot-up jumpers. His strength allows him to bully his way to the rim and create shots for himself off the drive.

“On offense, he’s really hard to deal with in terms of the other team. And he’s very much an improved defender, he keeps getting better,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said of Johnson in January.

His decision-making and shot selection leave something to be desired and must improve at the next level. He doesn’t finish particularly well through contact and has struggled against quicker defenders. He was a little bit inconsistent on both ends this year. As a passer, Johnson isn’t very accurate and was prone to missing open teammates. Overall, he profiles as NBA-ready and a very good fit for the small forward position. He has room to improve some of the more mental parts of the game, but at the young age of 19 has plenty of time to do so.

Notes: Johnson was ranked as the seventh-best recruit in the class of 2014 by ESPN.com and was the MaxPreps.com High School National Player of the Year in 2014. In his only year at Arizona, Johnson was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and first-team All-Pac-12. The United States Basketball Writers Association named Johnson to its Freshman All-America team.

Johnson reportedly refused to work out for the Hornets, owners of the ninth pick, and hopes to get picked either by Detroit with the eighth pick or by Miami at 10.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Stanley Johnson was born to be an NBA lottery pick

SB Nation: Better one and done: Aaron Gordon or Stanley Johnson?

MLive: Detroit Pistons’ diciest NBA draft decision, Stanley Johnson or Devin Booker?

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

NBA draft prospect profile: Arkansas SG/SF Michael Qualls

06.23.15 at 5:53 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’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).

MICHAEL QUALLS

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

School: Arkansas

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 201 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2014-15 stats: 15.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists

Scouting report: Qualls is an explosive leaper and athlete, one of the more prolific dunkers in the draft. His athletic ability makes him a force in the transition offense and got him to the free throw line frequently. He shot a very solid 77.5 percent from the stripe this season. Qualls is a good rebounder for his position, especially on the offensive end. With his athletic prowess and massive length, Qualls has the makings of a very good defensive presence. He played well defensively in college and projects to have a lot of potential on that end at the next level.

“To see him come back this year and finish strong this season, that’s what it’s all about finishing strong. I thought that was the mark of a guy who has made tremendous improvement,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said of his three-year swingman. “Second-team all-conference and we know he hasn’t even reached where he has chance to go in terms of his ability. There’s still work to be done with him and he knows that. When you get on the big stage that’s when you want to shine. I thought Mike did a good job of shining.”

Outside of his natural ability, Qualls needs refinement on the offensive end of the floor. He has difficulty creating his own shots and often forces bad ones. He shot only 33.3 percent on 3-point tries this season. His ball-handling also should improve.

Notes: Qualls looked likely to be a second-round pick in the draft, but on June 11 he tore his ACL during a pre-draft workout. The usual recovery time for the injury is 6-12 months. This has cast some doubt about his status as draft night rapidly approaches.

Qualls played some of his best games this year in the postseason. In a losing effort in the SEC championship game against then-undefeated Kentucky, Qualls made eight of his 12 shots en route to 18 points. In the first game of the NCAA Tournament, Qualls scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting. The last game of his college career was a loss to North Carolina in the third round of the tournament. In that contest, Qualls had an impressive performance, scoring 27 points while collecting 10 rebounds.

Related articles:

CBSSports: Michael Qualls is a prospect worth rooting for in this NBA draft

CBSSports: Ex-Arkansas wing Michael Qualls tears ACL in workout with Suns

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Michael Qualls,

Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10′ of NBA draft

06.23.15 at 2:06 pm ET
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Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics draft plan and the rumors surrounding DeMarcus Cousins. To hear the full interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

With reports emerging that the Celtics offered Marcus Smart and two first-round picks to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel and the third overall selection, Mannix speculated that Smart could be moved at any point leading up to the draft.

“I heard that last night and I … couldn’t nail down all the details of the Philadelphia conversation, but I heard the Celtics were talking Marcus Smart and Nerlens Noel with the Sixers,” Mannix said. “… That’s why I wrote that anyone on the roster was available. But I believe it to be true now that it’s been put out there. I don’t think Boston is actively trying to dump Marcus Smart by any stretch, but I think Danny Ainge and the Celtics are looking to do anything they possibly can to get into that top-five, specifically the top-three because that’s where I think the true impact players are in this draft. You’re talking about either bigs or a point guard like D’Angelo Russell. Marcus Smart is available in the right deal any time in the next couple of days.”

Mannix continued to discuss Ainge’s trade plans, predicting the Celtics will trade up for a lottery pick.

“I’d be surprised if Boston didn’t get in the top 10,” Mannix said. “Three might be a leap. … I don’t think [the Celtics] are going to get that high, but pick number six with Sacramento is available. We’ve all heard the DeMarcus Cousins talk that’s out there, and that pick could be packaged with Cousins in a blockbuster deal with the Kings that probably wouldn’t involve Boston. But if the Cousins talk falls through, I think the Kings are more than willing to move back into the teens, in exchange for some kind of serviceable role player.

“I don’t know who that could mean on Boston’s roster, it could be [Jared] Sullinger, it could be [Kelly] Olynyk, it could be any number of guys. No. 9 I think is available too with Charlotte. The Hornets just made that Lance Stephenson trade with the Clippers, they got back Spencer Hawes, but they still have a gaping hole at the two-guard spot. And if Devin Booker, who is the 18-year-old two-guard from Kentucky, is off the board by No. 9, and I think he will be … I think the Hornets would be inclined to move back into a position where they can take R.J. Hunter later on in the draft. … I think Danny’s in a great position to move into the top-10 which is why I say at this point I’d be surprised if he didn’t get into the top 10.”

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Read More: 2015 NBA draft, Chris Mannix, D'Angelo Russell, Danny Ainge
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