Archive for June, 2012

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Marquette G Darius Johnson-Odom

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

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.

DARIUS JOHNSON-ODOM

Position: Shooting guard

School: Marquette

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 215 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big East first team, 2012 All-America honorable mention (AP), 2011 All-Big East second team

Key 2011-12 stats: 18.3 points, 38.5 3-point FG%, 44.7 FG%,

What he brings: Johnson-Odom brings a ton of speed, especially in transition, which he can use to create easy scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He can score in a number of ways effectively — in transition, driving to the basket and from the perimeter — which is a reason why he was able to rank second in the Big East in scoring this season.

As far as weaknesses go, Johnson-Odom is considered undersized for his position at 6-foot-2 and at times he lacks point guard instincts and the ability to create for others, which will likely land him as an off-the-bench, role-playing 2 guard at the next level. What he lacks in size he can make up for in a high basketball IQ and his ability to score from the perimeter, but he might struggle trying to score inside against much bigger NBA players.

Where the Celtics could get him: Johnson-Odom is expected to be a mid-to-late-second-round pick.

Notes: In the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament, Johnson-Odom knocked down a 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining to seal a 66-62 victory over Syracuse and send Marquette to the Sweet 16.

Recent articles:

Chicago Tribune: Marquette’€™s Johnson-Odom avoiding projections

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: MU duo try to impress at NBA combine

USA Today: Marquette’€™s Jae Crowder, Darius Johnson-Odom senior leaders

Video: Here are some highlights of Johnson-Odom during his time at Marquette, starting with some ferocious dunks.

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Greek SF Kostas Papanikolaou

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

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.

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.

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Version 2

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Since last we mocked, there has been a fairly significant trade involving the Wizards and Hornets and a half-dozen juicy trade rumors involving the Rockets, Raptors, Warriors and Bulls, to name four. It seems likely that there will be more movement between now and Thursday’s draft because after Anthony Davis there is no clear-cut pecking order.

This is the kind of draft that makes general managers look back with regret a few years down the line. Is it worth making a big move for say, Florida guard Bradley Beal, if the cost is a player like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and later picks in what should be a deep draft for rotation players?

What of Jared Sullinger? The Ohio State forward can play, but a back injury has killed his momentum and could send him tumbling down the draft. How far is too far before the potential value outweighs the risk?

Behind that backdrop is the possibility of a blockbuster trade for Magic center Dwight Howard. The Rockets now have three picks in the first round at 14, 16 and 18. That won’t get it done, but if the Rockets could grab a couple of top 10 picks … that’s when it gets interesting.

Predicting who goes where will at this point depends entirely on who is actually doing the selecting. As for the Celtics, I’ve still got them taking Andrew Nicholson and Fab Melo. That assumes that somebody doesn’t fall and that Iowa State forward Royce White is off the board.

To the picks:

1. Hornets: Anthony Davis, C, Kentucky (Previously: Davis)

The obvious choice, and the only question is whether Davis will be good, exceptional or transcendent.

2. Bobcats: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas (Previously: Robinson)

It’s still Robinson, and no one seems to be totally enthused about the selection, but he is the closest thing to a sure thing after Davis. The only issue is it seems assured that Robinson will be pretty good and not great. The Cats could still trade the pick, which would throw the rest of the top five into a blender.

3. Wizards: Bradley Beal, SG Florida (Previously: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist)

Having missed the days of milk and honey as a 40-win playoff team with no real upside, Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld threw Rashard Lewis‘ $20 million-plus expiring contract to New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. We’ll leave the part about Okafor and Nene playing together for another time, but what really stands out about the Wizards’ new-look roster is the complete lack of outside shooting. Enter Beal, an 18-year-old shooter/scorer who would look mighty intriguing playing alongside John Wall. The Wizards still aren’t anyone’s idea of a contender, but they’d no longer be a joke. That’s progress, right? (more…)

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Texas PG/SG J’Covan Brown

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

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.

J‘COVAN BROWN

Position: Point guard/shooting guard

School: Texas

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 202 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big-12 first team

Key 2011-12 stats: 20.1 points, 3.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 41.7 FG%, 35.6 minutes

What he brings: Brown is a pure scorer who uses his strong frame and low center of gravity to score in bunches. He’s a good ball-handler who knows how to draw contact and get to the free throw stripe (5.4 FTs attempted per game). The 22-year-old is a confident shooter with serious NBA range. He also is decent at breaking down a defense with penetration and kicking out to open teammates.

Because of Brown’s size he will have to play the point guard position at the next level, despite having a 2-guard mentality. At point guard, Brown has been prone to turnovers and isn’t a great floor general. The confidence he has in his shot often leads him to poor shot selection.

All in all, Brown can score in bunches and in different ways, but his questionable attitude and lack of size will hurt him at the next level. If he can be coached to be a better leader at the point guard position then he may be effective in the NBA.

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

Notes: Brown, who initially was deemed academically unqualified for Texas, declared for the draft after his junior season. He scored 683 points this past season, while he only scored a combined 693 points in his first two years.

Recent articles:

DailyTexanOnline.com: J’Covan Brown to enter NBA Draft

DallasNews.com: Carlton: Texas’ J’Covan Brown eager to carry the load for young Horns squad in NCAA tourney

Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Brown’s junior year at Texas.

2012-13 Celtics free agent options at shooting guard

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Two-thirds of the Celtics roster that came within a game of reaching a third NBA finals in five years joins NBA free agency on July 1. Anyone from Kevin Garnett to Keyon Dooling can leave Boston on July 11 once the league’s audit determines the salary cap, expected to approach the 2011-12 number of $58 million. We’re examining the C’s free agent options at each position. Now starting: Shooting guards (Also see: Centers).

The Celtics began last season with Ray Allen and a prayer at the two. Avery Bradley answered that prayer, making Allen expendable if the asking price is too high. Or if he takes his talents to South Beach for the taxpayer’s midlevel exception, accepting a $7 million paycut to sit behind Dwyane Wade and fill the 3-point specialist role already played by Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and James Jones, as one rumor suggests.

While Dooling, Mickael Pietrus, Sasha Pavlovic and Marquis Daniels all played somewhat out of position to eat shooting guard minutes as the result of injuries to both Allen and Bradley — and all four remain possibilities as free agents themselves — the C’€™s need one or two guys who can play the two alongside Bradley.

The Celtics have four players under guaranteed contracts in 2012-13 for a combined $34.5 million (Paul Pierce, $16.8M; Rajon Rondo, $11.0M; Bradley, $1.6M; JaJuan Johnson, $1.1M). Pending decisions on or by Garnett, Allen, Pietrus, Dooling, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge will have anywhere from $0-33 million to spend in free agency.

As a result, expect the C’s to be linked to just about any and every free agent on the market. Nobody is out of their league. Without further ado, let’€™s take a look at the options that should be available to the Celtics at shooting guard, separating the current free agent players into four categories.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Czech PG/SG Tomas Satoransky

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

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.

TOMAS SATORANSKY

Position: Point guard/shooting guard

Team: Cajasol Sevilla (Spain)

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 201 pounds

Achievements: 2010 ACB slam dunk contest champion

Key 2011-12 stats: 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 43.5 FG%, 17.0 minutes

What he brings: Satoransky is a Czech-born playmaking guard who has a high basketball IQ. He brings energy to the court, giving him the potential to be solid option off the bench. At 6-foot-7, Satoransky has very good size for his position, and his dunking ability will make him a fan favorite wherever he lands.

However, Satoransky still needs to get stronger before he will be ready for the NBA, as he is beanpole thin and will get pushed around. Satoransky needs to improve his outside shooting as well, and tends to be beaten off the dribble by quicker, smaller guards. Satoransky still has plenty of work ahead but could be a backup guard at the next level after a couple of additional years in Europe.

Where the Celtics could get him: Satoransky is projected to be taken late in the second round.

Notes: Satoransky made a name for himself with his performance at the 2009 Eurocamp, when he shined as a 17-year-old playing against mostly older players. But he hasn’t shown enough consistency, especially with his jump shot, playing professionally in Spain.

Recent articles:

CSN Washington: NBA Draft Profile: Tomas Satoransky

Truth About It: Who the heck is Tomas Satoransky

Video: Here is a package of Satoransky highlights from last year’s Eurocup final.

Rockets get 18th overall pick for Chase Budinger, Lior Eliyahu

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The Rockets have acquired the 18th overall pick in the NBA draft from the Timberwolves in return for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu according to multiple reports.

The deal gives the Rockets the 14th, 16th and 18th overall picks in Thursday’€™s draft, which gives them plenty of ammunition for more trades. The Rockets have been linked to a potential deal involving the Kings’€™ fifth overall pick in the draft, as well another deal involving the Raptors’€™ eighth overall pick.

The Rockets are reportedly using these trades to make a strong push towards acquiring Dwight Howard from the Magic despite the fact that Howard intends to become a free agent at the end of the season.

Budinger, who was the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft, averaged 9.6 points in 22.4 minutes per game last season. The 6-foot-7 small forward shot 40.2 percent from three-point range last season and is likely to help a Timberwolves team that struggled to score from the wing. Eliyahu is a 6-foot-10, 232 pound forward who was originally  taken with the 44th overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Magic and plays professionally in Israel.