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NBA draft prospect profile: China C Zhou Qi

06.17.16 at 9:35 am ET
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As part of’s 2016 NBA draft coverage, 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

Country: China (Xinjiang Flying Tigers)

Age: 20

Height: 7-foot-2

Weight: 218 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-7

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Scouting report: Zhou Qi (pronounced Joe Chee) is thought to be one of the best prospects coming out of China since Yi Jianlian was drafted by the Bucks sixth overall in 2007. Because of his height, Zhou also has drawn comparisons to Yao Ming, who was taken first overall by the Rockets in 2002. Zhou is projected to go anywhere from the late first round to middle second round.

Scouts have been impressed with Zhou’s ability to protect the rim. This past season he led the Chinese Basketball Association with 3.2 blocks in 34 minutes per game. Despite being 7 feet tall, Zhou is able to stretch defenses because he is able to shoot like a guard. At the combine he hit 14-of-25 3-pointers, and for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, his team in China, Zhou hit 60 percent of his shots this past season. Zhou also was solid from the free throw line, hitting 76 percent of his attempts. NBA teams would like to see Zhou bulk up before he comes to the NBA. There is concern that his 218-pound frame would allow defenders to push him around. The good news for Zhou is that he reportedly has put on 10 pounds in recent weeks.

Notes: Jazz center Rudy Gobert is the only current NBA player to have a longer wingspan than Zhou. … Zhou worked out for teams at the combine, but he only worked out for the Grizzles, Celtics and Suns individually. He then returned to China to work out with the Chinese national team in preparation for the Olympics. … In the title game of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, Zhou had 21 points and eight rebounds in China’s 76-73 win over Korea. 

Related articles:

The Denver Post: Zhou Qi’s potential could lead to much NBA draft intrigue Zhou Qi return boosts China’s Rio preparations

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Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge meets with agent for Kevin Love, Harrison Barnes, Brandon Ingram

06.16.16 at 5:31 pm ET
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According to a Twitter report from Andrew Perna of RealGM, Celtics president Danny Ainge met with the agent for Cavaliers forward Kevin Love and impending free agent Harrison Barnes this week in New York.

Perna reports that Ainge spoke with agent Jeff Schwartz, who also represents potential top-two pick Brandon Ingram of Duke. The report doesn’t specify what was discussed, but notes that such meetings are common.

Ainge could’ve been inquiring on Barnes, who is expected to receive in the neighborhood of a max contract this offseason after filling an everyman role for the Golden State Warriors.

He also, more intriguingly, could’ve been feeling out Schwartz informally on the potential availability of Love this summer after two relatively lackluster seasons with the Cavaliers in the shadow of LeBron James.

Love has never meshed perfectly in Cleveland, and the Celtics have shown interest in the 27-year-old in the past, including two years ago, when he was spotted at a Red Sox game with then-Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. The Celtics were unable to swing a deal with Minnesota at that time, though, and Love was instead traded to Cleveland to form a new Big Three with James and Kyrie Irving.

Read More: Celtics, Celtics rumors, Danny Ainge, Harrison Barnes rumors

NBA draft prospect profile: Kansas PF Perry Ellis

06.16.16 at 3:34 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: Kansas

Age: 22 (turns 23 on Sept. 14)

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 218 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2015-16 stats: 17 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.3 steals

Scouting report: One of the best college basketball players last season, Ellis relies on fundamentals and post moves to score around the basket. His footwork is elite, which helps him with his pivots and spin moves on the block. Ellis also became more and more comfortable with his jump shot as the year progressed, which is a crucial aspect to his game. He isn’t the quickest or most explosive forward in this year’s draft, but he forces defenders to respect his mid-range jumper. Despite a slight lack of athleticism, Ellis is a tenacious defender and rebounder, as well as a hard worker. He got better all four years while at Kansas, something that he takes pride in.

“When it came to my time at Kansas, the reason I stayed for all four years was I felt that I could do more each year and get better with every passing season,” Ellis told CBS Local Sports. “It just felt like the right decision to keep coming back each one of those years. That experience of being around the college game for four years definitely benefited me and helped me to become both a better player and a better person.”

If only Ellis had the typical height of a power forward in the NBA, he likely would be projected higher than a late second-round pick. However, he’s only 6-foot-8, and NBA teams are viewing him as a small forward instead. Ellis has been a big man his whole collegiate career, so it will be a challenge for him to adjust to a different position. He will need to improve his ball handling and his court vision, as he tends to get tunnel vision when driving to the basket. He also has to hit the NBA 3-pointer consistently in order to stay afloat in the league next season.

Notes: Ellis made second-team All-American and was a finalist for the Wooden Award last season. … He was 6-foot-1 as early as sixth grade, and he won four straight 6A high school championships while at Wichita Heights in Kansas.

Related articles:

CBS Local Sports: Perry Ellis: My life as an NBA draft prospect

The Kansas City Star: KU’s Perry Ellis going through whirlwind schedule to prove he’s NBA player

KU Sports: Ellis’ position in NBA draft remains a mystery

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Perry Ellis,

Celtics mock draft: Going big with Cheick Diallo, Ante Zizic, getting a steal with DeAndre Bembry

06.16.16 at 12:43 pm ET
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Could DeAndre Bembry be a steal for the Celtics?  (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

Could DeAndre Bembry be a steal for the Celtics? (James Snook/USA Today Sports)

A week before the Celtics hold the most significant draft in the last ten years, it’s a good time to take a look at how the Celtics might approach their picks (if they keep all eight). 

In this mock, we propose the Celtics use a bulk of their picks on bigs, both versatile and international in flavor. 

First round:

No. 3 – Buddy Hield: The most-proven pure scorer available in the draft after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.  Very rarely do players improve dramatically between their junior, and senior years of college, but Oklahoma senior, Buddy Hield has taken his game to the next level during his 4th collegiate season … Always a strong outside shooter, Hield improved his 3-point percentage to 52.3 percent on 7.9 attempts per game in his senior season at Oklahoma.  He has definite NBA-quality range, and even beyond, making him a legit threat to be guarded out to 26 feet away from the hoop. Here’s more on Hield

No. 16 – Cheick Diallo: Celtics get their rim protector here. A definite project as an offensive player, he is NBA-ready defensively in the post. He can run the floor the way Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge envision a big man running with the Celtics. Diallo has great speed up and down the court and has shown a definite intensity that all defensive forces in the paint need. He LOVES to run the court. Cheick also has good length. With a 7-foot-4 wingspan and a standing reach of just over nine feet, he projects as a solid NBA post presence. Scouts don’t consider him to be a great jumper to block shots but scouts love his timing as a shot blocker, especially from the weak side. His biggest area of growth will be in picking up NBA schemes, especially in a league where defending the pick-and-roll effectively is a must. He struggled at times at Kansas to stay on the floor, mainly because of his ability to pick up offense.  Here’s the scouting report on Diallo

No. 23 – Taurean Prince: Another versatile forward. At 6-foot-7, Prince is a 215-pound slightly shorter version of Diallo. He has long arms, and very good lateral quickness. Prince saw more playing time at Baylor than Diallo did at Kansas and has more maturity, as he played four years for the Bears. While Diallo is a post presence, Prince’s physical tools in addition to his defensive instincts and intensity projects him as a player capable of guarding both shooting guards, and a large portion of small forwards at the NBA level. Scouts love his developed skills while general managers sense a very high defensive IQ. Prince is the type of player who could transition from zone to the varied man-to-man schemes in the NBA. Here’s the scouting report on Prince

Second round: 

No. 31 – DeAndre Bembry: A flashy 6-foot-5 athletic wing from St. Joe’s in Philadelphia, with a flare for making highlight plays. This is an explosive player with a big wingspan that could electrify fans at the Garden. Very fast and thrives in transition … A smooth athlete who excels in the open floor, both with the ball or filling the lane. Has the shake and wiggle to get by defenders in ISO and create shots in the lane or at the rim … Quick first step … Excellent finisher. Very similar to Kris Dunn in his ability to finish at the basket.  If the Celtics say goodbye to Evan Turner, Bembry is the kind of athlete who could step in and fill that role. Scouts like his ability to get his feet organized quickly when attacking the basket and his ability to get around the defense. He also possesses a mean Euro-step, a must for any player from 10 feet and closer to the bucket in today’s NBA.  Vision and passing skills also strong. If he’s available here, this is a steal for the Celtics. 

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NBA draft prospect profile: Athlete Institute PF Thon Maker

06.16.16 at 12:27 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: Athlete Institute (Canada)

Age: 19

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 225 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 11.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks

Scouting report: A 7-footer with a 9-foot-3 standing reach, Maker has the size NBA coaches dream of. His post moves aren’t overly impressive, but he can hit the 3-point shot often enough to be respected from deep. He is an intense, driven big man who’s shown good leadership throughout high school and likely will be able to provide instant help to a professional team.

Having just completed his fifth year at high school, Maker is eligible to enter the NBA draft this year despite not attending college. In an interview with DraftExpress, Maker said he hopes to end up with the right team to help him improve his game.

“It’s more important for me to be picked where I fit,” said Maker, who is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. “When I’m on an NBA team, I’m going to get my apartment 5-10 minutes walking distance to the practice facility. I’m going to live in the gym. I’m just ready to go to work every day.”

The knock on Maker is his lower-body strength; he doesn’t possess impressive explosiveness and he tends to get pushed around down low by stronger opponents. He also lacks some awareness on both ends of the floor, and his post defense is a concern with his previously mentioned lack of strength. It seems that Maker will be a true long-term project in the NBA, as he has the size and wingspan to thrive but still has ways to go in developing his game.

Notes: Maker played basketball for two years at the Carlisle School in Virginia before transferring to Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute in Canada. He was born in South Sudan before immigrating to Australia when he was 5, then moving to the United States in 2011. … He was given the MVP award at the 2014 adidas Nations camp.

Related articles:

Detroit Free Press: Thon Maker makes ’em laugh after Detroit Pistons workout

Indianapolis Star: Thon Maker a unique prospect in NBA draft

Fansided: Thon Maker: Hidden key to success

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Thon Maker,

Jared Dudley proclaims interest to play for Celtics

06.16.16 at 12:13 pm ET
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Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley has been making a bit of a splash this offeseason — even prior to the beginning of the free agency window.

From challenging fans to games to responding to different rumors about where he would go this offseason, the 30-year-old has been making Twitter an entertaining forum to talk about his future. He recently joined CLNS Radio’s Larry H. Russell to talk about his future among other things.

In the discussion, he was exceptionally candid, letting Russell know that he thinks he would be a seamless fit into the Celtics system.

“I think I would be a pretty good fit for Boston in the sense that they need shooting,” said Dudley. “You can never have too much veteran leadership. They’re a team that’s obviously led by Brad Stevens who is a great coach and they’ve done well, but the key to a young team is developing that young talent. They have the number three pick here in the draft and you can never have (enough) people who know how to play the right way, know their role.”

And Dudley certainly isn’t far off on him being able to address the Celtics’ needs. Last season he appeared in 81 games (starting 41) averaging 7.9 points per game. He shot 47.8 percent from the field, however, and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.

To compare, Kelly Olynyk was the Celtics top shooter from three in 2015-16, shooting 40.5 percent. The veteran is a character, for sure, but he would provide both veteran leadership and a reliable shot from the perimeter, a pair of traits the Celtics certainly need and would not have to give up much to attain.

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Kris Dunn denies claim he does not want to be drafted by Celtics

06.16.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Kris Dunn denied claims he doesn't want to play for the Celtics. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Kris Dunn denies claim he doesn’t want to play for the Celtics. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The narrative for nearly a month has been Providence’s Kris Dunn does not want to be drafted No. 3 overall to the Celtics.

His agent reportedly withheld his physical so that only specific teams could see in-depth the history behind his shoulder problem that sidelined him his sophomore season. He also reportedly did not want to play for a team that already had an established backcourt, eliminating the Celtics as well as the Suns at pick No. 4. But according to Dunn himself, that’s not necessarily true.

“I mean it would be unbelievable to be selected by the Celtics,” said Dunn in a phone interview with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “My dream is to just get drafted, and that I have the chance to be a top-five player, it’s a blessing.”

In regards to the rumor itself, Dunn addressed it as just that, stating, “That never came out of my mouth, that I didn’t want to play for any team.”

A native of New London, Connecticut, speculation rose about him wanting to play for his hometown team so he could be near family and in a familiar area, and Dunn has noted some admiration for the Celtics of late due largely to their development with Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart, the latter of whom, he has some familiarity with.

“[The Celtics] have great players … I don’t know Marcus Smart that well, but I played with Marcus Smart at multiple things, AAU at the time, and high school in the McDonalds All-American game. And Isaiah Thomas was an All-Star this year. You can see they’re on the rise and close to something special. I’m gonna be anxious to see what they do next year.”

Dunn averaged 16.4 points with 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game with Providence College last season. In the latest mock draft from Sports Illustrated, Dunn is projected to go to the Denver Nuggets at No. 7, down two from their previous mock that had him going fifth to the Timberwolves. The same draft has the Celtics going with Croatian Dragan Bender with the No. 3 overall pick.

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