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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Greek SF Kostas Papanikolaou

06.27.12 at 8:25 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

Greek forward Kostas Papanikolaou has an NBA-caliber outside shot but might have trouble with the faster pace of the American game. (AP)

KOSTAS PAPNIKOLAOU

Position: Small forward

Team: Olympiakos (Greece)

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 230 pounds

Achievements: 2010 U-20 European Championships all-tournament team,  2009 U-20 European Championships MVP

Key 2011-12 stats: 7.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 49.4 FG%, 20.4 minutes

What he brings: Papanikolaou is a hard-working small forward with a great shot. He has solid shooting mechanics and certainly posses the range to be effective as a 3-point shooter in the NBA. On defense he uses his long arms and relentless motor to be an scrappy defender. He posses the supreme basketball IQ that allows him to overcome his slow feet and lack of agility.

His athleticism may catch up to him when he makes the transition to the fast-paced NBA game. The 21-year-old also lacks an explosive step which will limit his versatility on offense.

Overall, he possesses a deadly NBA-ready shot that should help him find a spot on a roster, but as shown in the past, the transition from the European League to the NBA is not an easy one.

Where the Celtics should get him: Papanikolaou is projected to be a late-second-round pick.

Notes: Papanikolaou won the 2012 Euroleague championship and the 2012 Greek national championship with Olympiakos. … He led the 2009 U20 European Championships in blocks.

Video: Here are highlights of Papanikolaou vs. Efes in the Euroleague.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Kostas Papanikolaou,
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