Archive for June, 2012

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Marquette SF/PF Jae Crowder

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.

JAE CROWDER

Position: Small forward/power forward

Team: Marquette

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 241 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Big East Player of the Year, 2012 All-America second team (AP, Sporting News)

Key 2011-12 stats: 17.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 32.9 minutes, 2.5 steals

What he brings: Crowder is an undersized forward who will likely struggle defensively at the NBA level due to his lack of size and quickness. Crowder is not athletic enough to be a consistent performer at the next level and lacks explosiveness.

However, what Crowder lacks in size and quickness he has in effort and toughness, as he is strong for a player his size and will be an energy player off the bench. He is a smart player who will fight through contact to finish his shot and has decent range as a shooter. He will never be a star at the NBA level, but Crowder could be an undersized sparkplug off the bench.

Where the Celtics could get him: Crowder is projected to be selected in the back half of the second round.

Notes: Crowder was named the 2012 Reese’€™s College All-Star Game MVP. … Before joining Marquette in 2010, Crowder led Howard County Junior College to its first NJCAA men’€™s college basketball title and was named 2010 NJCAA Player of the Year. ‘€¦ His father, Corey Crowder, played briefly in the NBA for the Jazz and Spurs.

Recent articles:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Crowder, DJO try to make the most of Chicago Combine

Chicago Tribune: Marquette’€™s Crowder finishes strong

Video: Here is a quick look at what Crowder has to offer.

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kentucky SF/PF Terrence Jones

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.

TERRENCE JONES

Position: Small forward/power forward

Team: Kentucky

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 252 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-SEC second team (coaches), 2012 All-SEC Tournament team, 2011 All-SEC first team (coaches), 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year

Key 2011-12 stats: 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 29.3 minutes, 50.0 FG%

What he brings: Jones is an inconsistent, raw prospect who played two seasons under John Calipari at Kentucky. However, Jones has the build and the athleticism to become an impact starter in the NBA.

His size (6-foot-9, 7-foot-2 wingspan) makes him a versatile forward, and he can play in the post and as more of a point forward. He is a crafty defender whose length and lateral quickness make him a very good on-ball defender. That same athleticism and length makes him a high quality rebounder as well.

Offensively he finishes well at the rim, is a smooth ball-handler and is a good passer. However, he has to improve his consistency from 3-point range and shot selection to reach his full potential on the offensive end.

Where the Celtics could get him: Jones is projected to be taken in the mid-to-late first round. He might be there for the Celtics at either one of their first-round picks.

Notes: Jones is a cousin of former NBA players Damon Stoudamire and Salim Stoudamire. ‘€¦ He led Jefferson High School in Portland, Ore., to three consecutive state championships, something no 5A or 6A Oregon school had ever accomplished.

Recent articles:

ESPN Dallas: Draft Preview: Terrence Jones

Yahoo! Sports: Terrence Jones surprised his mom with a new car on Mother’€™s Day

Video: Here is a highlight clip of Jones at Kentucky.

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Norfolk State PF/C Kyle O’Quinn

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.

KYLE O’€™QUINN

Position: Power forward/center

Team: Norfolk State

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 240 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Lou Henson Award (Mid-Major Player of the Year), 2012 MEAC Player of the Year, 2012 All-MEAC first team, 2012 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, 2012 MEAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2011 All-MEAC first team, 2011 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year, 2010 All-MEAC second team

Key 2011-12 stats: 15.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, .573 FG%

What he brings: O’€™Quinn has an NBA-ready build, and he uses his size and strength to dominate the boards. The New York City native has good length, including a freakish 7-foot-5 wingspan, and is impressive in the low post as he is physical enough to score near the hoop as well as block shots. O’€™Quinn also possesses a decent mid-range jump shot and is a crafty passer.

However, playing at Norfolk State leaves him relatively unproven against top competition. He is not the best athlete and needs to improve his shot selection as well as his pick-and-roll defense.

Where the Celtics could get him: Early projections pegged O’€™Quinn for the middle of the second round, but he has been climbing up draft boards since his strong showing at the combine. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he went late in the first round to a team willing to be patient with his development.

Notes: O’€™Quinn played a big role in Norfolk State’€™s upset of second-seeded Missouri in the NCAA tournament, recording 26 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in the win.

Recent articles:

Virginian Pilot: NSU’s Quinn in hurry to impress before NBA draft

NBC Sports: Kyle O’Quinn talks about the NBA Draft

Video: Here is a highlight package of O’Quinn’s senior season.

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: New Mexico PF Drew Gordon

Monday, June 25th, 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.

DREW GORDON

Position: Power forward

School: New Mexico

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 240 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Mountain West Conference first team, 2012 MWC Tournament MVP, 2011 All-MWC second team, 2011 MWC Newcomer of the Year

Key 2011-12 stats: 13.7 points, 54.2 FG%, 11.1 rebounds

What he brings: Gordon is a large presence on the floor and plays very aggressively on defense. He led the team with 11.1 rebounds — 8.0 defensively — his senior year and added 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocked shots per game. Gordon also is quick and can traverse the floor well despite his size and is aware of where the basketball is, even when he doesn’t have it. Gordon, who can convert mid-range shots, averaged a double-double both of his seasons at New Mexico.

Gordon started his collegiate basketball career at UCLA, where he reportedly didn’t get along with coach Ben Howland. He played six games with the Bruins in 2009-10 before transferring to New Mexico. The San Jose native was included in a Sports Illustrated article this year that targeted behavioral problems within the UCLA team. The article alleged Gordon had gotten into multiple fights, smoked marijuana and drank. Gordon told the San Jose Mercury News the SI article was inaccurate, although he acknowledged that he did make some “ill-advised” choices as a freshman at UCLA.

Where the Celtics could get him: Gordon is expected to be drafted toward the middle of the second round.

Notes: Gordon needed surgery in October 2010 for a torn meniscus in his knee, suffered a concussion in 2009 that caused him to miss the first game of the NCAA tournament and missed playing time his senior year of high school due to an ankle injury.

Recent articles:

San Jose Mercury News: Drew Gordon works to repair reputation for NBA draft

San Francisco Chronicle: Prep phenom Drew Gordon aims to return to spotlight

Video: Here are some highlights of Gordon (32) shooting and defending.

2012-13 Celtics free agent options at center

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Eleven of the 15 players on the roster against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals can begin negotiating with the Celtics or any other team as NBA free agents on July 1. More importantly, they can sign anywhere on July 11 once an audit determines the salary cap. That figure is expected to be close to the 2011-12 number of $58 million, and a large chunk of that will be dedicated to one of the C’€™s biggest needs: Centers.

The Celtics started last season with two true centers (Jermaine O’Neal, Greg Stiemsma), mixed in a little Chris Wilcox early and settled on Kevin Garnett, who finished the year as the best remaining center in the playoffs. Now, a year later, nobody remains from that list. While Garnett, Stiemsma and Wilcox are all options depending on their mindset, health and value, respectively, the C’€™s may need anywhere from 0-3 guys who can play the five.

The Celtics have four players under contract in 2012-13 for a combined $34.5 million (Paul Pierce, $16.8M; Rajon Rondo, $11.0M; Avery Bradley, $1.6M; JaJuan Johnson, $1.1M). Pending decisions on or by Garnett, Ray Allen, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Mickael Pietrus, Keyon Dooling and Stiemsma, 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 center, separating the current free agent players into four categories.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: St. Bonaventure PF/C Andrew Nicholson

Monday, June 25th, 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.

ANDREW NICHOLSON

Position: Power forward/center

School: St. Bonaventure

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 234 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America honorable mention, 2012 Atlantic 10 tournament MVP

Key 2011-12 stats: 18.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 57.1 FG%, 43.4 3P%, 77.6 FT%

What he brings: The 22-year-old Canadian has a very effective post game, and in his four years at St. Bonaventure he developed an ability to step out and knock down shots from the perimeter as well. While Nicholson is at his best with his back to the basket, his mid-range game projects to be a valuable asset for him against larger competition in the NBA. Though he’€™s slightly undersized, his 7-foot-4 wingspan and huge hands also allow him to play much larger.

He has a very high basketball IQ and moves extremely well without the ball, knowing how to space the floor and finding gaps in the defense. Not an exceptional athlete, Nicholson was a solid but unspectacular  rebounder at both ends of the floor in college, while his instincts and timing also made him a very good shot-blocker. He’ll need to get a lot stronger and improve his conditioning to be able to hold his ground in the paint at the next level.

Where the Celtics could get him: Nicholson was initially projected to go precisely where the Celtics are drafting in the first round, but his impressive showings in pre-draft workouts might lead to an earlier selection.

Notes: Nicholson graduated in May with a degree in physics. … He ranks second in St. Bonaventure history in points (2,103), field goal percentage (57.5) and blocked shots (244), while sitting fourth in total rebounds (887).

Recent articles:

The Toronto Star: Canadian prospect Andrew Nicholson impresses at NBA draft combine

New York Times: Rebirth of the Bonnies; Andrew Nicholson leads St. Bonaventure into NCAA tournament

Video: Here’s a look at Nicholson starring for the Bonnies.

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Memphis SG/SF Will Barton

Monday, June 25th, 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.

WILL BARTON

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

School: Memphis

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 175 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Conference USA Player of the Year, 2011 All-Conference USA third team, 2011 Conference USA All-Freshman team

Key 2011-12 stats: 18.0 points, 50.9 FG%, 8.0 rebounds

What he brings: Barton has long strides that allow him to traverse the court quickly, and he can power his way past defenders to get to the net. He shot 50.9 percent from the field, but his 3-point shooting can be improved. He converted 34.6 percent of his tries from the arc.

At 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds Barton isn’t small, but he’s not the strongest player on the court. He’s very skinny, which may be a concern for some teams.

Where the Celtics could get him: Barton is expected to be picked late in the first round or early in the second.

Notes: Barton, who is from Baltimore, prepped one season in New Hampshire at Brewster Academy, leading the team to a 35-4 record and the 2010 national prep title. … He is leaving Memphis after two seasons.

Related articles:

San Francisco Chronicle: Draft prospect Will Barton has chip on shoulder

HoopsWorld: Will Barton doesn’t lack confidence

Video: Here’s a lengthy package of highlights of Barton.