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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Fresno State C Greg Smith

Posted By Sam Dykstra On June 7, 2011 @ 11:17 am In General | No Comments

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Greg Smith (right) will have to work on his offensive skills, but he has the size to make it in the NBA. (AP)

WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Greg Smith

Position: Center

School: Fresno State

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 250 pounds

Stats: 11.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg

What he brings: Any team that takes Smith will be taking a flier on a stereotypical developmental center. At 6-foot-10 and a solid 250 pounds, the 2009-10 WAC Freshman of the Year and 2010-11 WAC second-teamer certainly has the size to make it at the next level. His hands, which measured in at nearly a foot wide and were the biggest at the combine, especially have earned him some looks as a guy who can snatch the ball out of mid-air, whether it be on a rebound or on a pass through traffic in the post. Twenty rebounds against Nevada in his last NCAA game are testament to that fact.

But as much as you can’t teach size, you can teach skill, and Smith certainly needs more than some polish on that end. His offensive stats don’t jump off the page — his .544 free throw percentage last season might do so for the wrong reason — and he is considered to be a project offensively. With depth thin at the center position for the Celtics, Danny Ainge could be willing to give Smith a shot in the second round, but if that were the case, no one in green would expect the early entry to contribute much except for maybe a few boards in limited reserve time.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: “If I had to model a player, it would be Amar’e Stoudemire because he’s a very explosive player, and that’s where I’m at right now. But right now if I had to come in, I’d be more like an Al Horford, a physical post player down there that’s going to get you 10 and 10 a night, that’s going to be physical defensively and reboundingly. But as I get my career going, I’ll develop into an Amar’e Stoudemire type player.” — Smith on his pro prospects

Notes: The Fresno native almost went to Arizona when he made the jump to the college ranks in 2009 but instead chose to stay at home and play for Steve Cleveland and the Bulldogs. He said Cleveland’s resignation this offseason was a factor in his decision to leave for the potentially greener pastures of the NBA.

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