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NBA draft prospect profile: Gonzaga PF/C Domantas Sabonis 06.23.16 at 11:50 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

DOMANTAS SABONIS

Position: Power forward/center

School: Gonzaga

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 240 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 60.6 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Sabonis is a true center — a premier rebounder with exceptional post moves who has solid fundamentals, runs the floor well and gives maximum effort. The concern is that at 6-foot-10 and with a wingspan of only 6-foot-11 he might not be able to continue his success against bigger and more athletic players in the NBA.

A lefty, Sabonis runs the pick-and-roll well, and on the other end of the court he defends it well. His great footwork around the basket leads to him getting fouled a lot, and he can finish with contact. He also converts at a 76.8 percent rate at the free throw line. His mid-range jumper is just OK, and that’s something he’ll need to refine in order to have success in the pros.

He finished his two-year Gonzaga career with a school-record 63.2 field goal percentage.

“[Domantas] is as impressive of a person and player as I’ve ever coached,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said in a statement after Sabonis declared for the draft. “He has an insatiable desire to get better.”

While he defends the post well, it’s not clear if Sabonis will be able to protect the rim with as much success at the next level due to his lack of length and athleticism.

Sabonis might not have as much potential upside as some other draft candidates, but he’s a safe pick in that he’s a reliable low post presence who will give an honest effort every time out. The problem for the Celtics is it would be too much of a reach to take him at No. 3, and he’s unlikely to remain on the board at No. 16 as he’s projected to be a late lottery pick.

Notes: Sabonis was born in Portland, Oregon, when his father, Hall of Fame center Arydas Sabonis, was playing for the Trail Blazers in the latter part of his career. Sabonis went to Spain and played for Unicaja Malaga’s junior and senior teams (without signing a contract so he could remain eligible for the NCAA) before returning to the Northwest to play at Gonzaga. … Playing for Lithuania at the FIBA Europe U20 Championship last July, Sabonis set a tournament record by grabbing 28 rebounds. Later that month, he became the youngest player ever to play for the Lithuanian national team and went on to win a silver medal at the FIBA Europe 2015 Championship. … Sabonis declined an offer to participate in the draft combine, and he only worked out for four teams — the Celtics among them.

Related articles:

Seattle Times: Where will Gonzaga’s Domantas Sabonis go in the 2016 NBA draft?

SB Nation: Domantas Sabonis, the next big thing from Lithuania

Toronto Star: Domantas Sabonis revels in his father’s name

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Domantas Sabonis,
NBA draft prospect profile: Serbia SF Rade Zagorac 06.08.16 at 3:42 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

RADE ZAGORAC

Position: Small forward

Country: Serbia (Mega Leks)

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Aug. 12)

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 205 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 13.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.7 steals

Scouting report: Zagorac is the less heralded of the three Mega Leks players expected to be drafted this month (Timothe Luwawu and Ivica Zubak are the others). Not surprisingly, Mega Leks won the Serbian Cup this season, and Zagorac was a key reason why. With his long wingspan, Zagorac rebounded well for a small forward and defensively was able to disrupt the passing lanes, coming up with 1.7 steals per game. He is strong at finishing on the fast break and taking the ball to the basket against smaller players — changing speed and direction well — although there are questions if he will be athletic enough for the NBA game.

Zagorac hit just 27.8 percent on 3-pointers this past season, which is another concern. He shot 45.1 percent from the field overall, and 83.3 percent from the free throw line.

Zagorac is projected to be drafted in the middle or later part of the second round by a team willing to give him some time to develop his game and his body.

Notes: Zagorac broke his hand during the first game of the season last October and played through the injury for the last few minutes of the contest, but he ended up missing the next three months. He was on the Serbian team that won the gold medal at the U20 European Championship last year in Italy, averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in that tournament.

Related articles:

Kosarka: Rade Zagorac: NBA is my dream

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Rade Zagorac,
NBA draft prospect profile: Louisville C Chinanu Onuaku 06.07.16 at 3:42 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

CHINANU ONUAKU

Position: Center

School: Louisville

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Nov. 1)

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 245 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 62.0 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Onuaku is a true center, but he’s a tad undersized to play that position in the NBA. However, he’s just 19 years old, so there’s certainly a chance that he could grow another inch or two. On the plus size, he has a good wingspan and is build solidly — and knows how to use his physicality, creating problems in the post, rebounding well and setting wide screens. He showed promise in the pick-and-roll at going to the basket, using his good hands to haul in passes and finishing with confidence, but he did not do as well in the pick-and-pop, as he does not display good range.

Onuaku showed strong improvement this past season as a sophomore, seeing the floor better, but his decision-making needs to get better. He impressed at the NBA combine scrummages, protecting the rim and playing solid team and individual defense. Not a great shooter nor someone who can create offense, Onuaku could be a solid role player in the NBA. He’s expected to go in the middle of the second round.

Last month Onuako underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart issue known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, in which a person can have periods of abnormally rapid heart rate. “After an extensive physical with the NBA doctors over the last few days, they noticed a situation that will require a minor procedure that will keep me off of the court for approximately 7 to 10 days,” Onuaku said in a statement from Louisville. “After the 7-10-day window, I will be ready to start my workouts again in pursuit of my NBA dreams.”

Notes: Onuaku helped the U.S. team win gold at the U19 World Championship last summer. In the championship game, a 79-71 overtime victory over Croatia, he recorded six points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in 28 minutes. … A 55 percent free throw shooter, Onuako resorted to shooting underhanded in February. … His brother Arinze played at Syracuse from 2005-10 and has had three brief stints in the NBA. Arinze played last season for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel and then for the Meralco Bolts in the Philippines.

Related articles:

SI.com: Exploring Louisville center Chinanu Onuako’s NBA draft decision

WAVE3.com: Chinanu Onuaku to undergo heart rhythm correction procedure

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Chinanu Onuaku,
NBA draft prospect profile: Spain F Juan Hernangomez 06.07.16 at 9:24 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

JUAN HERNANGOMEZ

Position: Forward

Country: Spain (Estudiantes)

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Sept. 28)

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 220 pounds

Wingspan: n/a

Key 2015-16 stats: 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 35.8 3-point field goal percentage

Scouting report: Hernangomez had a solid season in 2015-16 that catapulted his draft stock. Playing in the highly regarded Spanish ACB league, he displayed impressive numbers for a player his age. He sometimes struggled to defend in the ACB, but he was facing older opponents who had physical advantages. He also played a lot of center, while he’s projected as more of a stretch four or perhaps even a small forward in the NBA.

Playing on one of the ACB’s weaker teams, Hernangomez took advantage of his opportunity for playing time, demonstrating an ability to hit the outside shot but also showing excellent mobility. He was especially effective in the pick-and-roll, either popping out for a jumper, driving to the basket or distributing the ball. He averaged 5.6 free throw attempts per 40 minutes, a solid average for a big.

Critics point to Hernangomez’s sometimes questionable decision-making — throwing risky passes and trying to do too much offensively, while gambling too much on defense — and question whether he projects to be anything but a role player in the NBA.

Hernangomez is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. With the Celtics having picks to spare, he’s exactly the type of gamble worth taking — a promising youngster they can stash in Europe for another year or two while he continues to develop. His contract with Estudiantes is up, so he has the option of heading to North America now (likely starting in the D-League) or staying in Europe and perhaps signing with a stronger team for a year or two.

Notes: Hernangomez’s father, Guillermo Hernangomez Heredero, was a power forward in the ACB in the 1980s, and his brother, Willy, is a 6-foot-10 backup center for Real Madrid who was selected 35th overall last year — by the 76ers, who then traded him to the Knicks — and is expected to head to the States in the next year or two. Hernangomez was named to the all-tournament team at the U-20 European Championships last summer.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Juan Hernangomez will find a role

CBS Sports: Getting to know the top 10 international players

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Juan Hernangomez,
NBA draft prospect profile: Maryland PF Robert Carter Jr. 06.05.16 at 8:03 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2016 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

ROBERT CARTER JR.

Position: Power forward

School: Maryland

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 250 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 12.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 55.4 field goal percentage

Scouting report: A redshirt junior in 2015-16, Carter led the Terps in rebounding and was third in scoring, shooting 62.9 percent on shots inside the arc. He has a reputation as a hard worker and vocal leader. “I’ve never had anybody as consistent as Robert in terms of his effort and his enthusiasm,” Maryland director of basketball performance Kyle Tarp said (via WTOP.com) early this past season when commenting on Carter’s dedication to getting in top shape. “He’s one of the most fun athletes I’ve been around. He’s the strongest guy on the team right now in the traditional sense, but he can do a lot of things that 6-9, 235-pound guys can’t usually do.”

Carter did not help his cause with his performance in the NCAA Tournament, as he averaged just 7.3 points in his team’s three-game run as he struggled to stay out of foul trouble.

During one of the five-on-five scrimmages at the NBA combine Carter was impressive, scoring 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from a variety of spots — especially standing out in the pick-and-pop — and recording seven rebounds and foul steals while playing strong defense. In two games at the combine he finished with 35 points and 14 rebounds in 45 minutes of action. He went into the combine as someone who was considered a fringe second-rounder but came out with analysts predicting he was sure to get drafted — possibly even sneaking into the late first round if one team finds him appealing enough.

Carter does not have explosive athleticism, but he’s helped by his 7-foot-3 1/4 wingspan. He has drawn comparisons to Jared Sullinger, and, like Sullinger, his weight has fluctuated a bit, which could concern NBA executives. After starting this past season at 235 pounds — dropping 18 pounds and 6 percent body fat in a year — he weighed in at 250 pounds at the combine with a body fat percentage of 12.5, ranking him fourth worst of those tested. However, with the Celtics owning eight picks, this could be the kind of player on whom they might gamble.

Notes: Carter was named All-Big Ten honorable mention in his lone season at Maryland. He also won the conference’s sportsmanship award. A Georgia native, Carter started his college career at Georgia Tech, averaging 10.5 points and 7.4 rebound as a sophomore before transferring to Maryland. He reportedly was not happy that Georgia Tech used him mainly in the post and did not give him a chance to show his range. “I just felt like I needed to put myself in a better position to accomplish the goals that I set for myself, and that’s it,” he explained.

Related articles:

Fansided: Robert Carter impresses at NBA scouting combine

WTOP.com: How Robert Carter Jr. transformed himself into Maryland’s most complete player

Bleacher Report: Breaking down future of Maryland’s Robert Carter Jr.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Robert Carter Jr.,
Report: 76ers discuss sending Nerlens Noel to Hawks for Jeff Teague 06.03.16 at 11:37 am ET
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Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel

There has been speculation that the Celtics are interested in 76ers center Nerlens Noel, and they previously were linked to Hawks guard Jeff Teague when he was said to be available at the trade deadline.

Now those two players might end up getting traded for each other.

According to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, the Sixers recently had discussions with the Hawks about sending Noel to Atlanta so Philadelphia could fill its hole at point guard with the veteran Teague.

Noel, known for his defense, averaged 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks this season. The 6-foot-11 product of Everett was selected sixth overall in 2013 out of Kentucky and sat out his rookie season due to an ACL team. He is about to enter the third and final year of his rookie contract and then will be a restricted free agent.

The Sixers also are said to be willing to move center Jahlil Okafor, who is coming off a promising rookie season, but that would seem unlikely if they trade Noel.

Teague, who turns 28 next week and can be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 79 games this season, his seventh with the Hawks. He was an All-Star last season, but 22-year-old Dennis Schroder started taking some of his minutes this year.

Read More: Jeff Teague, Nerlens Noel,
Celtics reportedly have talked to Rockets about Dwight Howard 02.03.16 at 8:59 am ET
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The rumor mill continues to churn out interesting stories regarding the Celtics and their pursuit of a marquee player. The latest has the C’s talking to the Rockets about veteran center Dwight Howard.

Writes Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: Meanwhile, the Celtics have engaged the Houston Rockets in talks about a possible deal for Dwight Howard, the Daily News has learned. Howard can opt out of his contract this summer, and considering his back and knee issues, it doesn’t make much sense for Boston GM Danny Ainge to use the assets on a player with declining skills and a battered body.

The oft-injured Howard, who was suspended by the league for Tuesday’s game after making contact with an official in Saturday’s loss to the Wizards, is averaging 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this season.

The 30-year-old, who previously played for the Magic and Lakers, is making $22 million. He has a player option for next season.

Howard is an eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Read More: Dwight Howard,
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