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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kansas PG Tyshawn Taylor 06.19.12 at 9:15 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.

Tyshawn Taylor helped Kansas reach the NCAA championship game in 2012. (AP)

TYSHAWN TAYLOR

Position: Point guard

School: Kansas

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 177 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America third team (AP), 2012 All-Big 12 first team (media), 2012 Bob Cousy Award finalist

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.6 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 turnovers, 47.7 FG%, 38.2 3P%, 68.8 FT%

What he brings: Taylor has the size and athleticism to be successful at the NBA level but struggles with decision-making, ball-handling and hitting his outside shot with consistency.

Over four years at Kansas, Taylor steadily improved his perimeter shooting, but questions about his ability to run an offense and take care of the ball will hurt his draft stock, according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, who writes, “If Taylor showed any consistency as a decision-maker running the Jayhawks, he’d go 20 to 30 spots higher in the draft.”

However, his athleticism, scoring ability and willingness to play hard suggest he’ll likely find a taker in the first round and could end up becoming a valuable scoring threat off the bench.

Defensively, Taylor shows the both the tools and toughness to successfully defend the point guard position at the NBA level.

Where the Celtics could get him: Taylor is projected to be drafted late in the first round, but given the emergence of Avery Bradley, it’s unlikely the C’s will be interested.

Notes: Taylor, who attended St. Anthony High School in New Jersey, appeared in the 2009 film “The Street Stops Here,” a documentary about renowned coach Bob Hurley. That same year, Taylor lead USA Basketball in points and assists on the way to winning the 2009 FIBA U-19 World Championship.

Recent Articles:

Slam Onelin: Q&A: Tyshawn Taylor, Thomas Robinson

Sporting News: Final Four 2012: KU point guard Tyshawn Taylor a Shakespearean character

Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Taylor.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Tyshawn Taylor,
Michael Wilbon on D&C: ‘Superstar treatment was surely in effect’ for LeBron James 06.18.12 at 12:24 pm ET
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Michael Wilbon

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to talk about Game 3 of the NBA finals, the officiating, whether the Thunder would be better off with Rajon Rondo or Russell Westbrook, and more. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Asked whether LeBron James was getting superstar treatment after playing such aggressive defense and being called for zero fouls Sunday night, Wilbon said, “I’d have to go back and look at the game and just pay attention to what LeBron did. It could’ve been a bad night for the way LeBron was called, and also, we know that LeBron is physically superior. He can control his body in ways that even the other great players cannot in terms of avoiding contact and that sort of thing. And also, superstar treatment was surely in effect.”

As for whether Kevin Durant ought to be afforded the same treatment, Wilbon said Durant would, in time.

“People have to earn it,” Wilbon said. “And earning it in the NBA means, in the culture of this league for 60 years, so longer than any of these officials have been around, is seniority. And you get it when you’ve been a great player over time. And Durant had a couple of fouls called on him last night that in my opinion should not have been called.”

While he felt it was too early to say definitely, Wilbon said the Thunder look like a team that will win championships, just not this year.

“Every great player, except Magic Johnson, in the last, I don’t know, 35 years, has been crushed, usually in the finals, but certainly conference finals, multiple times even,” Wilbon said, pointing to Hall of Fame players such as Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwan and David Robinson. “They were crushed before they broke through. I don’t feel like Oklahoma City has gone through that right of passage yet. We know Miami has been through that. LeBron James personally has been through that, twice, already. And I feel like Miami has this sense that, ‘Oh no, no, no, we’re not going to have that happen again.’ It’s awful to go through that for an entire offseason and I don’t know that Oklahoma City is playing with that ‘hate to lose’ sort of mentality.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dennis & Callahan, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Miami Heat
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: French SG/SF Evan Fournier 06.18.12 at 9:25 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.

Evan Fournier is considered the top international player in the 2012 NBA draft. (Alexis Reau/Poitiers Basket)

EVAN FOURNIER

Position: Shooting guard/small forward

Team: Poitiers (France)

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 205 pounds

Achievements: 2011 French Pro A Rising Star Award, 2011 French Pro A Most Improved Player

Key 2011-12 stats: 14.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 42.5 FG%, 27.7 3P%, 75.4%

What he brings: Fournier is considered the top international prospect in the 2012 draft. A solid but not exceptional athlete, he has terrific shooting guard size and a varied offensive skill set. Though he does not have superior ball-handling skills, Fournier is an effective slasher, and while he doesn’t have great leaping ability, his size, strength and quick first step help him get to the rim. He is also very adept at driving and dishing.

From the outside, Fournier is still a below-average shooter, particularly from behind the arc where he is shooting just 27 percent in France’s Pro A league. Defensively, he has good footwork and positioning and has demonstrated an ability to grab both offensive and defensive rebounds.

According to NBAdraft.net, “the trademark to his game is his ability to score clutch baskets. He seems to live for crunch time.”

Overall, Fournier has no major defects to his game and at just 19 years old, his reputation for having an excellent work ethic and willingness to work on improving should boost his draft value.

Where the Celtics could get him: Fournier is expected to be drafted late in the first round, so the Celtics should have a shot at him with their 21st and 22nd picks. Fournier could certainly be an option for Boston as Avery Bradley and E’Twaun Moore are the only C’s shooting guards under contract for next season while the aging Paul Pierce is the only small forward.

Notes: In 2011, Fournier became the youngest player in French League history to score more than 20 points, surpassing Tony Parker’s record. … He has expressed an interest in playing in the NBA next season and was scheduled to work out with some NBA teams this week.

Video: Here are highlights from Fournier from March, when he was named Player of the Month in the French Pro A league.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Evan Fournier,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Mississippi State PF/C Arnett Moultrie 06.15.12 at 7:35 pm 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.

Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie led the SEC in rebounding last season. (AP)

ARNETT MOULTRIE

Position: Power forward/center

School: Mississippi State

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 233 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big Ten honorable mention

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 55 FG%, 78 FT%

What he brings: Moultrie’s most impressive feature is his jumping ability. After a recent pre-draft workout, ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote Moultrie “gets off the floor as fast as any big man I’ve seen this year, and during several drills he was getting his head above the rim.”

On the offensive end, Moultrie, who transferred to Mississippi State after his sophomore year at UTEP, is at his best working off the ball on cuts to the basket for alley oops and offensive rebounds. He is far less effective with his back to the basket but is an impressive perimeter shooter and has made tremendous strides in his free throw shooting, draining 78 percent from the line last season, compared to 65 percent as a sophomore and 54 percent as a freshman.

Moultrie is a capable defender both in the paint and on the perimeter but needs to get stronger and improve his shot-blocking to be effective at the next level.

His rebounding prowess probably remains Moultrie’s strongest selling point as he, not Anthony Davis, led the SEC in rebounds last season.

Where the Celtics could get him: Moultrie is projected to be a mid-first-round pick, so the C’s likely would need to move up to get in position to select him.

Notes: Moultrie recently told Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News he thinks the Pistons (who own the ninth overall pick) would be the best landing place for him. “I know they need a big, someone to play alongside Greg Monroe,” Moultrie said. “He had a pretty good year. I think it’s a perfect fit. He’s more of a skill guy. I can block shots, rebound, run the floor.”

Recent articles:

The Detroit News: Mississippi St. forward Arnett Moultrie thinks he’s perfect fit for Pistons

Slam Online: NBA Pre-Draft Tour: Arnett Moultrie

Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Moultrie.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Arnett Moultrie,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Illinois C Meyers Leonard 06.15.12 at 9:45 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.

Meyers Leonard's stock has been rising, and the 7-footer is being considered a candidate to go in the top 10. (AP)

MEYERS LEONARD

Position: Center

School: Illinois

Age: 20

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 250 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big Ten honorable mention (coaches, media)

Key 2011-12 stats: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 73.2% FT

What he brings: At 7 feet tall, with a long wingspan and a developing frame that he should continue to fill out, Leonard is an athletic big man who runs the floor well and shows promise that he will become an above-average NBA center.

Leonard showed a decent — and improving — offensive touch in his sophomore season at Illinois in 2011-12 and is an imposing defensive presence with his length and tremendous quickness and mobility.

The knock on Leonard is that he’s very much a work in progress. Physically, his conditioning could improve and he is still working on his understanding and getting a feel for the game.

Where the Celtics could get him: Leonard’s stock has been rising and he is projected to be a late lottery pick, so the C’s would need to trade up to have a shot at him.

Notes: Leonard is arguably the second-best center prospect in the draft, behind UConn’s Andre Drummond, though UNC’s Tyler Zeller might get drafted ahead of Leonard. With four years of experience at the college level, Zeller is considered a much more NBA-ready player while Leonard is regarded as a two- or three-year project.

Recent articles:

The Big Lead: Meyers Leonard is now being strongly considered in the top 10 of the NBA draft

Chicago Tribune: Leonard: ‘I’ve matured’

Michigan Live: Illinois 7-footer Meyers Leonard is considered raw project with tremendous potential

Video: Here’s a nice package of Leonard highlights, mainly focusing on his passing and low-post ability.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Meyers Leonard,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kentucky PG Marquis Teague 06.14.12 at 9:40 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.

Marquis Teague looks to follow in the footsteps of his brother, Jeff, who has developed into a solid NBA point guard for the Hawks. (AP)

MARQUIS TEAGUE

Position: Point guard

School: Kentucky

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 180 pounds

Achievements: One of five finalists for the Naismith Award as the national high school player of the year, 2011 McDonald’s High School All-American

Key 2011-12 stats: 10 points, 4.8 assists, 41.2 FG%, 32.5 3P%, 71.4 FT%

What he brings: Teague is a lightning-quick point guard with an excellent first step and an ability to attack and finish at the rim. He likes to push the tempo and excels in transition offense. As the season progressed, Teague also showed improvement in his ability to set up teammates.

Just 19 years old, Teague has yet to develop a consistent perimeter shot and struggles with decision-making, particularly in the halfcourt offense. He has all the tools to be an excellent defender but needs to work on his fundamentals to succeed at the next level, where he will not be able to rely as much on his natural athleticism.

Overall, Teague shows promise as a score-first point guard who also can set up teammates.

Where the Celtics could get him: Teague is projected to be drafted in the middle of the first round. Even if he should slide, it’s unlikely the Celtics would be interested in him given their backcourt combination of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley.

Notes: Teague’s older brother, Jeff Teague, who plays point guard for the Hawks, was a huge reason Atlanta gave the Celtics such a hard time in the first round of the playoffs. Marquis’s game is similar to that of his older brother. His father, Shawn Teague, played at Boston University under Rick Pitino.

Recent articles:

Hoops World: Marquis Teague says he can shoot, too

Sports Illustrated: After rocky start, Marquis Teague evolves into Kentucky standout

Video: Here’s a mix of Teague highlights.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Marquis Teague,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse SG Dion Waiters 06.13.12 at 1:30 pm 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.

Dion Waiters helped Syracuse reach the regional championship game in this year's NCAA tournament. (AP)

DION WAITERS

Position: Shooting guard

School: Syracuse

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 210 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big East third team, 2012 AP All-America honorable mention

Key 2011-12 stats: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 47.6 FG%, 72.9 FT%, 36.3 3P%

What he brings: Ranked by many scouts as the fourth-best shooting guard in the draft, Waiters is generally considered one of the draft’s best scorers and a guy who can get to the rim at will.

Waiters has been compared to Tyreke Evans. He’s a bit undersized for his position, given his lack of elite leaping ability, and could improve his outside shooting consistency, but he has the body, athletic ability and willingness to score at the next level. In his recently concluded sophomore season he also showcased an impressive ability to distribute the ball.

The biggest concerns, and the ones Waiters has made great strides to improve, are his character and his defense. Waiters came to Syracuse as one of the top high school recruits in the country but his reputation took a hit when he clashed with coach Jim Boeheim and publicly questioned whether the two could coexist after averaging only 16 minutes per game in his freshman season. Waiters showed up his sophomore year in excellent shape, agreed to come off the bench as the team’s sixth man, and played much more aggressive defense.

Where he ends up going in the draft depends largely on how effectively his performance has addressed team’s concerns about his defense and personality, because his talent is unquestioned.

Where the Celtics could get him: Waiters is expected to be a mid-to-late lottery pick, so the Celtics would have to make a sizable jump to have a shot.

Notes: There were reports this week that Waiters canceled all pre-draft workouts and interviews, often an indication that a prospect has a promise from a team to take him.

Recent articles:

CBSSports.com: Boeheim: Dion Waiters more ready for NBA than any guard I’ve ever had

MLive.com: Character issues surround shooting guard Dion Waiters of Syracuse

The Charlotte Observer: Waiters may have lottery pick promise

Video: Here are highlights of Waiters against Villanova and Marquette.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Dion Waiters,
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