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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 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).

J.P. TOKOTO

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 NBA.com. “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 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).

JERIAN GRANT

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 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 first two rounds (16, 28, 33 and 45 overall).

JORDAN MICKEY

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 NBAdraft.net, 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:

NOLA.com: When LSU needed him most, Jordan Mickey came alive to provide a spark

NBAdraft.net: Jordan Mickey Interview

NOLA.com: 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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The-Wolf-of-Causeway

 

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)
  • WEEI.com’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)
  • WEEI.com’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)
  • WEEI.com’s NBA draft prospect profileClick here.
  • NBA comparison: Chris Bosh.

Read the rest of this entry »

NBA draft prospect profile: Michigan State PG Travis Trice

06.17.15 at 7:24 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).

TRAVIS TRICE

Position: Point guard

School: Michigan State

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-0

Weight: 170 pounds

Wingspan: N/A

Key 2014-15 stats: 15.3 points, 5.1 assists, 1.8 turnovers, 36.9 3-point percentage

Scouting report: Trice is one of the best pure scorers in the draft, however, his stock is somewhat limited due to his size. A potential second-round pick, Trice excels through ball-handling and quickness, both of which he uses to create plays in the lane for himself and teammates. One of Trice’s greatest attributes is his basketball IQ, which helped him lead the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.03. Though he fell below 40 percent from beyond the arc this year, he’s been one of the most consistent shooters in the NCAA throughout his career.

Although he is a good on-ball defender, Trice’s defensive viability is hurt by his size, according to scouts. Pundits say at 6 feet and 170 pounds he is simply not strong enough or tall enough to defend larger point guards in the lane. His size is expected to limit his offensive arsenal as well, making him more likely to settle for outside shots rather than driving the lane. Trice was limited by injuries and illness his first three seasons before breaking out with a stellar senior season.

According to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, size is no reason to worry about Trice, who has a similar success story to fellow undersized guards Stephen Curry and John Lucas “Is there a place for a guy that works his tail off, that understands the game, that has improved dramatically?” Izzo asked the State News. “I look at some of the things [MSU athletic communications director Matt Larson] gave me, and to think [Trice] had more points this year than the other three years combined, it’€™s amazing.”

Notes: Trice helped lead Michigan State to the Final Four as a seventh seed in the NCAA Tournament. He earned East Regional Most Outstanding Player honors for averaging 19.8 points and 4.0 assists in four games while shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range. Said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski before the Final Four: “I think he’s been the best player in the tournament, of any team. I don’t think there’s a kid playing any better than that kid.”

After the regular season, Trice was voted third-team All-Big Ten and named Michigan State‘s team MVP.

Related articles:

Detroit Free Press: MSU’s Trice, Dawson proving their worth at NBA workouts

Michigan Live: Former Michigan State guard Travis Trice keeping busy with team workouts leading up to NBA draft

The Washington Post: Final Four-bound Travis Trice once wondered ‘€˜Am I dying?’€™

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Travis Trice,

NBA draft prospect profile: Louisville PG Terry Rozier

06.16.15 at 6:21 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).

TERRY ROZIER

Position: Point guard

School: Louisville

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 190 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8.25

Key 2014-15 stats: 17.1 points, 3.0 assists, 5.6 rebounds

Scouting report: Rozier is a very solid athlete and versatile point guard. He can finish at the rim and generate points offensively, both for himself and teammates. He can create for himself off the dribble and shoot off the catch. He is a very solid free throw shooter, making 79 percent of his attempts from the stripe. An explosive and quick athlete, Rozier stuffed the stat sheet in this his sophomore season at Louisville. He is a great rebounder for his size, corralling 5.6 per game.

“I think you see what a special player Terry Rozier is because when the play breaks down and things don’t go well, he, like [Dwyane] Wade his idol, he can get his shot off any which way and almost every 15- to 17-foot shot he takes, you think it’s going in,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said of his two-year combo guard.

His freshman year, Rozier shot well from deep and didn’t turn the ball over, but he got worse as a sophomore. His 3-point shooting fell from 37.1 percent in 2013-14 to 30.6 percent this past season, while his turnovers jumped from 0.6 per game to 2.2 per game. He needs to rein in the turnovers to succeed at the next level. His shooting efficiency also leaves a little to be desired, as he shot 41.1 percent from the field last season. Because of the evolution of basketball towards 3-point shooting, Rozier will need to be better from distance to find a consistent role. In many mock drafts, Rozier is projected to be a late first-round pick, but could also fall to the second.

Notes: Rozier led the 2014-15 Cardinals in scoring, assists and steals and was second on the team in rebounding. He was named second-team all-conference by the coaches and media as the Cardinals played their first season in the ACC. For his freshman season Rozier was named to the AAC All-Rookie team.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Terry Rozier may be a second-round pick, and that may not be bad

Sports Illustrated: Terry Rozier hopes to carry Louisville, and his family, to new heights

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Terry Rozier,

NBA draft prospect profile: Spain PF/C Guillermo Hernangomez

06.16.15 at 2:34 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).

GUILLERMO HERNANGOMEZ

Position: Power forward/center

Country: Spain

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 255 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-2

Key 2014-15 stats: 20.6 minutes, 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds

Scouting report: Projected to go as high as the late first round, Hernangomez brings an old-school approach to the block. He has a refined post game, highlighted by his ability to create space with his body. He also is capable of stepping out to hit the mid-range jumper. Mentally, Hernangomez is one of the strongest prospects in the draft, with an extremely high basketball IQ.

“Very skilled,” one Western Conference front office man told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “Good around the basket. Kind of an under-the-basket guy, but very skilled.”

The biggest knock on Hernangomez is his low ceiling. Many scouts question his athleticism and whether his high basketball IQ can save him on the defensive end. Without leaping ability or lateral quickness, Hernangomez is questionable with regard to rim protection and pick-and-roll defense.

Notes: Hernangomez likely will return to his principal team, Real Madrid, for a few years following the draft in order to work on aspects of his game. He was named MVP of the Eurocup and made the all-tournament team at the 2014 FIBA Europe U-20 championship representing Spain. He played for Baloncesto Sevilla (on loan from Real Madrid), the same team as top-five projected pick Kristaps Porzingis. Hernangomez has drawn comparisons to Marc Gasol for the way he maneuvers and navigates the post on offense. Against Barcelona on Dec. 7, he dropped 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting along with 13 boards and two steals.

Related articles:

FIBA.com: Hernangomez developing in Spain’s next great big man

Prospects for the NBA draft: Scouting Kristaps Porzingis and Guillermo Hernangomez in the 2014-15 season

Read More: 2015 NBA draft, 2015 Potential Celtics, Guillermo Hernangomez,
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