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Report: Josh Smith eyes Celtics as trade destination 06.21.11 at 9:00 am ET
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It’s splitsville for the Hawks and forward Josh Smith, or so Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski suggested on Tuesday, but could the 2010 NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection find happiness in Boston?

According to Wojnarowski, both Smith and his hometown Hawks may actually prefer the Celtics as a potential suitor for the 2005 slam dunk champ’s services …

Smith hasn’€™t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him. …

Hawks GM Rick Sund has long coveted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — two aging Celtics entering the final years of contracts — but Celtics GM Danny Ainge has yet to show an inclination to break up his core for next season.

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Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett
25th anniversary of Len Bias’ tragic death 06.19.11 at 10:07 am ET
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R.I.P. 1986 Celtics first-round draft selection Len Bias (Nov. 18, 1963 ‘€“ June 19, 1986)

NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Providence SG Marshon Brooks 06.14.11 at 9:54 am ET
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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).

Marshon Brooks

Position: Shooting Guard

Team: Providence

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 195 pounds

Stats: 24.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.5 apg

What he brings: Any comparison to Kobe Bryant — good or bad — will grab the attention of scouts from every NBA team. And the wiry Brooks has been linked to both sides of Bryant.

An elite scorer who can create his own shot, as evidenced by his 24.6 points per game (second only to BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in the country), the Atlanta native also attempted 17.8 shots a game. Not only has Brooks’ shot selection been questioned, but he’s also been equated to a black hole for the basketball (98 turnovers vs. 80 assists).

Still, his production and efficiency (48.3 FG%, 34.0 3PT FG%, 77.2 FT%) as a senior are undeniable, and the struggling Friars (15-17) required Brooks to shoot in order to contend in the Big East. Just take a look at the box score from Providence’s 94-93 loss to Notre Dame. He scored 52 points on 20-of-28 shooting.

Defensively, Brooks hasn’t played much man-to-man in the Providence system, but his ridiculous 7-foot-1 wingspan along with his per-game rebounding (7.0), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.2) numbers from the two-guard position offer evidence of his potential on that end.

Brooks prefers comparisons to Jamal Crawford over Bryant, and that’s probably a better best-case scenario for him. Considering the Celtics are expected to be among the rumored destinations for the Hawks free agent and 2010 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Brooks offers a cheaper alternative if the Celtics decide to go that route.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: ‘€œI was very, very surprised. He’€™s an untamed talent. His size and ability to make shots will get him drafted. He’€™s crafty in his ability to create space for his game and with the right team he can help somebody in the league.’€ Attack Athletics (Chicago) trainer Mike Procopio, a transplanted Boston native whose current and former clients included Kobe BryantDwyane WadePaul Pierce and Kevin Durant among others

Notes: I’m always skeptical of guys in any sport whose stock rises — nay, soars — at draft combines, and Brooks certainly falls into that category, climbing all the way to No. 19 on ESPN’s latest Top 100 Draft Prospects chart. … I’m also wary of 22-year-old guys who blossomed late in college (14.2 points per game as a junior), and then never returned to school after Spring Break of his senior year despite needing only two classes to graduate. … Just think of the nickname possibility if the Celtics do draft Brooks: The Green Marshon!

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Impromptu Irish Coffee: Celtics awesome at high-fiving 06.10.11 at 9:59 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

With only Northeastern product J.J. Barea‘s role in the demise of the Heat left for Boston NBA fans to root for, I’m not sure the news that the Celtics were the best team in the league at touching each other is any consolation.

But a recent study by researchers at the University of California indicated that the C’s are not only among the league’s elite in skill but also in chemistry, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The study analyzed the number of times NBA teammates touched each other, and the Celtics are some of the best high-fivers in the league.

After reviewing broadcasts of games from the 2008-09 season, they concluded that good teams tend to be much more hands-on than bad ones. Teams whose players touched the most often were more cooperative, played better and won more games, they said.

While there’s no evidence that an NBA team can touch its way to victory, the two touchiest teams in the study, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, finished the season with two of the NBA’s top three records.

So, where do they hang the banner: 2008-09 NBA Touchy-Feely Champions? Or is it a trophy of two players in a James Posey-Paul Pierce-like embrace? Does this make Brian Scalabrine Hall of Fame eligible as one of the great high-fivers in league history? So many questions.

And obviously Danny Ainge cost the Celtics another high-five title by trading Kendrick Perkins.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeff Green, nenad krstic
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UCLA SF Tyler Honeycutt 06.08.11 at 12:29 pm ET
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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).

Tyler Honeycutt

Position: Small Forward

Team: UCLA

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 190 pounds

Stats: 12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.7 apg

What he brings: A 6-foot-8 wing with elite athletic ability who has yet to realize his tremendous potential. A guy who could provide depth behind Paul Pierce and defend the likes of LeBron James and Luol Deng for spells. Sound familiar? That’s what Celtics fans have heard about Jeff Green for a few months now, so the selection of Honeycutt — who is most often compared to Tayshaun Prince — might be a bit redundant.

Still, the UCLA would-be junior small forward is an intriguing option. He can cause problems for opponents on the defensive end (1.6 blocked shots per game last season) and facilitate on the offensive end (2.8 assists per game). However, he’s prone to turnovers (3.0 per game) and battled injuries throughout his two college seasons (shoulder, elbow, tibia and spinal issues) in addition to being criticized for his aggressiveness and shooting woes.

His numbers aren’t spectacular (his field-goal percentage dropped from 49.6 percent as a freshman to 40.6 percent as a sophomore), but the same could be said for recent UCLA-turned-NBA standouts Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, Aaron Afflalo and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The simple fact that Honeycutt (along with college teammate Malcolm Lee) is the latest product from Ben Howland‘s system makes him worth a long look.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: “It won’t surprise me if he goes top 10 in the draft, not at all, because of his talent. I know what he can do, so if he goes seven or eight it won’t surprise me at all. As a matter of fact, it would probably surprise me if he went 20-30. That would surprise me. Because once people really see how talented he is, then they will understand my crazy comment.” – Sylmar (Calif.) High head coach Bort Escoto (Honeycutt’s high school coach)

Notes: There are two more peripheral things that would give me pause if I were Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge: 1) The professional athlete the Los Angeles-born Honeycutt admires most? Kobe Bryant; and 2) When a member of the Cavaliers brass asked him who he would choose if he had to pick between his girlfriend and his dog, Honeycutt was stumped. “I just didn’t even answer,” Honeycutt told Sports Illustrated. “I said I couldn’t answer that. It’s too hard to pick.” Ouch.

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Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Boston Celtics, Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: USC C Nikola Vucevic 06.06.11 at 12:11 pm ET
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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).

Nikola Vucevic

Position: Center

Team: University of Southern California

Height: 7-foot

Weight: 260 pounds

Stats: 17.1 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg

What he brings: Nikola Vucevic may be a European center, but unlike many before him he’s not an unknown commodity. He played his senior year of high school at Stoneridge Prep (Simi Valley, Calif.) before earning a scholarship to USC.

After averaging just 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman, he captured Pac-10 Most Improved Player honors in his sophomore campaign and produced 17.1 points (50.5 FG%, 34.9 3-PT FG% & 75.5 FT%), 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 blocks before declaring for the draft after his junior season.

The tallest player at the 2011 NBA combine, Vucevic possesses a lot of qualities generally associated with European bigs — touch around the rim, a reliable mid-range jump shot (as well as developing 20-foot-plus range) and a lack of athleticism. He’s been criticized for his failure to play “above the rim” and his lack of success against athletic NBA-caliber big men. However, his high motor, particularly on the defensive glass, has separated him a bit from the stereotype.

More skilled than a guy like Semih Erden, Vucevic is expected to be a valuable backup center in the NBA — a role the Celtics most definitely need to fill. Touted for his high character, Vucevic has hinted that he may play in Europe for a year should a lockout threaten the 2011-12 NBA season, and such experience could actually serve the still-developing center well.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: “His strength, his conditioning, and the key, for me, for Nik to make it in the NBA, he has to become a proficient NBA 3-point shooter, which is a much harder shot than the college 3. And he’€™s not a totally proficient college 3-point shooter, yet. He’€™s got to be shooting four times a week, 1,000 NBA 3s a day. That’€™s what he needs.” — USC coach Kevin O’Neill

Notes: The Swiss-born Vucevic was raised in Belgium before moving to Montenegro as a teenager. Both of his parents — father Borislav and mother Ljiljana — played both professionally and for the Yugoslavian men’s and women’s national teams, as chronicled in this LA Times piece. Vucevic himself has played for the Montenegro U20 national team, averaging 15.5 points and 10.8 rebounds during the 2009 European Championships. Oh, and Vucevic, who said he would want to be an actor if he weren’t a basketball player (hence, USC), learned English partly as a result of watching “Love & Basketball” over and over.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Tokyo Apache PF/C Jeremy Tyler 06.01.11 at 2:48 pm ET
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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).

Jeremy Tyler

Position: Power Forward/Center

Team: Tokyo Apache

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 262 pounds

Stats: 9.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg

What he brings: It’s been a wild ride for a kid who’s only 19 years old. Tyler reneged on a commitment to play for Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville and signed with the Israeli league’s Maccabi Haifa for $140,000 — foregoing his senior year of high school. He then left Maccabi over a playing time dispute. From there, he signed in Japan to play for Bob Hill and the Tokyo Apache (if you’ll remember, Hill is the last man not named Gregg Popovich) to coach the Spurs .

Tyler is a project, no doubt, but it’s not like an American has never made the leap from overseas to the NBA (see: Jennings, Brandon). As a junior at California’s San Diego High, he averaged 28.7 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks per game, vaulting himself to a top-five national recruit ranking in the Class of 2010 alongside guys like Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Knight. Whether or not Tyler still belongs in that conversation depends on who you ask.

Athletic, physical, defensive-minded guys with top-five upside who are 6-foot-11 aren’t easy to find, so somebody will take a chance on him. Tyler is said to have matured as a result of Hill’s tutelage and his experience in Japan. That and his 7-foot-5 wingspan may have played his way into the first found at the recent NBA Draft Combine.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: “It’€™s a case-by-case basis. Some [overseas players] will be successful and others won’€™t. But Brandon Jennings didn’€™t hurt his draft stock at all. … I have a hard time with that because I believe people should have a right to earn a living. But if you’€™re not doing it for financial reasons, you should definitely go to college.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Notes: The trials and tribulations of Tyler are many. A Google search of “Jeremy Tyler” and “NBA” returns 89,900 results. But these three articles from The New York Times chronicle Tyler’s unique path better than most.

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