|Celtics mock draft: Going big with Cheick Diallo, Ante Zizic, getting a steal with DeAndre Bembry||06.16.16 at 12:43 pm ET|
A week before the Celtics hold the most significant draft in the last ten years, it’s a good time to take a look at how the Celtics might approach their picks (if they keep all eight).
In this mock, we propose the Celtics use a bulk of their picks on bigs, both versatile and international in flavor.
No. 3 – Buddy Hield: The most-proven pure scorer available in the draft after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. Very rarely do players improve dramatically between their junior, and senior years of college, but Oklahoma senior, Buddy Hield has taken his game to the next level during his 4th collegiate season … Always a strong outside shooter, Hield improved his 3-point percentage to 52.3 percent on 7.9 attempts per game in his senior season at Oklahoma. He has definite NBA-quality range, and even beyond, making him a legit threat to be guarded out to 26 feet away from the hoop. Here’s more on Hield.
No. 16 – Cheick Diallo: Celtics get their rim protector here. A definite project as an offensive player, he is NBA-ready defensively in the post. He can run the floor the way Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge envision a big man running with the Celtics. Diallo has great speed up and down the court and has shown a definite intensity that all defensive forces in the paint need. He LOVES to run the court. Cheick also has good length. With a 7-foot-4 wingspan and a standing reach of just over nine feet, he projects as a solid NBA post presence. Scouts don’t consider him to be a great jumper to block shots but scouts love his timing as a shot blocker, especially from the weak side. His biggest area of growth will be in picking up NBA schemes, especially in a league where defending the pick-and-roll effectively is a must. He struggled at times at Kansas to stay on the floor, mainly because of his ability to pick up offense. Here’s the WEEI.com scouting report on Diallo.
No. 23 – Taurean Prince: Another versatile forward. At 6-foot-7, Prince is a 215-pound slightly shorter version of Diallo. He has long arms, and very good lateral quickness. Prince saw more playing time at Baylor than Diallo did at Kansas and has more maturity, as he played four years for the Bears. While Diallo is a post presence, Prince’s physical tools in addition to his defensive instincts and intensity projects him as a player capable of guarding both shooting guards, and a large portion of small forwards at the NBA level. Scouts love his developed skills while general managers sense a very high defensive IQ. Prince is the type of player who could transition from zone to the varied man-to-man schemes in the NBA. Here’s the WEEI.com scouting report on Prince.
No. 31 – DeAndre Bembry: A flashy 6-foot-5 athletic wing from St. Joe’s in Philadelphia, with a flare for making highlight plays. This is an explosive player with a big wingspan that could electrify fans at the Garden. Very fast and thrives in transition … A smooth athlete who excels in the open floor, both with the ball or filling the lane. Has the shake and wiggle to get by defenders in ISO and create shots in the lane or at the rim … Quick first step … Excellent finisher. Very similar to Kris Dunn in his ability to finish at the basket. If the Celtics say goodbye to Evan Turner, Bembry is the kind of athlete who could step in and fill that role. Scouts like his ability to get his feet organized quickly when attacking the basket and his ability to get around the defense. He also possesses a mean Euro-step, a must for any player from 10 feet and closer to the bucket in today’s NBA. Vision and passing skills also strong. If he’s available here, this is a steal for the Celtics.
|Draymond Green assessed Flagrant 1 from Game 4, suspended for Game 5 Monday||06.12.16 at 2:24 pm ET|
This time, Draymond Green went too far.
The Golden State bad-boy forward was assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 on Sunday for his entanglement and swipe to the groin of LeBron James with under three minutes left in Game 4 Friday night in Cleveland. The announcement was made Sunday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.
“The incident occurred when Green made unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James with 2:48 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 108-97 win in Game 4 of The Finals at Quicken Loans Arena,” the league said in its press release.
“In accordance with NBA rules, Green will serve a one-game suspension without pay for accruing his fourth Flagrant Foul point of the 2016 postseason. He will serve his suspension Monday, June 13 during Game 5 of The Finals at Oracle Arena.”
The video clearly shows Green setting a high screen on James. When Green fell to the ground, James appeared to deliberately straddle Green’s head in an effort to draw the confrontation. By the decision handed out from the NBA Sunday, it worked.
The Warriors, who took a 3 games to 1 lead with a win Friday night in Cleveland, have a chance to clinch their second straight NBA title Monday night. But now they will have to do so without their best rebounder and best low-post defender.
Green, after run-ins with the likes of Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in Game 3 of the Western finals, has built up negative points with the league during the Warriors’ playoff run, and it culminated with discipline on Sunday.
Under league rules, any player who accumulates four flagrant foul points over the course of the playoffs will be automatically suspended for one game, and every additional flagrant foul will result in either a one-game suspension (for a Flagrant Foul 1) or a two-game suspension (for a Flagrant Foul 2).
“The cumulative points system is designed to deter flagrant fouls in our game” said VanDeWeghe in the league statement. “While Draymond Green’s actions in Game 4 do not merit a suspension as a standalone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension for Game 5.”
James was also assessed a technical foul upon league office review for his role in the altercation, which included a physical taunt.
To view the play, click on the following link:
Meanwhile, the league also docked Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue $25,000 for criticism of the officials after Friday’s game. Lue went off when asked how LeBron James is being officiated during the series.
“He never gets calls. I mean, he attacks. Outside of Russell Westbrook, he’s one of the guys that attacks the paint every single play. And he doesn’t get a fair whistle all the time because of his strength and because of his power and guys bounce off of him,” Lue said. “But those are still fouls and we weren’t able to get them. But we’ve got to play through officiating.”
|Full Court Press: C’s consider draft and stash, legend of Togo Palazzi continues with Zach Auguste||06.11.16 at 7:51 pm ET|
When the Philadelphia 76ers and then-GM Sam Hinke entered the 2014 NBA draft, they had their sights set on a 6-foot-10 Croatian forward by the name of Dario Saric. The Orlando Magic drafted him twelfth overall and the Sixers made a deal with with the Magic to drop down two spots, acquire Saric, a 2015 second-round pick and a first-round selection in 2017. And all it cost them was Elfrid Payton.
The move was one of the few bright spots of the Hinke era in Philadelphia, as it produced something for the future.
But the deal, an hour after Philly drafted Joel Embiid third overall, did something else. It asked the Philadelphia fans to put their faith in the “draft and stash” approach to the lottery. Just days earlier, Saric signed a multi-year deal in Turkey, a deal he may finally break this offseason to finally come to the states and play for the Sixers. Saric was stashed away in Europe developing his skills as a 19-year-old power forward. It’s very debatable as to whether Saric would have been ready to step in and contribute significantly right away, even on a team that had precious little talent.
The Saric case is not the typical “draft and stash” example, as NBA teams usually employ this strategy for second-round draft picks whom they don’t feel command NBA contracts. The Celtics have five picks in the second round, and certainly could use this approach multiple times if they feel they can reach an agreement with a player and his representative on what’s best for the player’s career in the long term, saving NBA roster spots while holding their future playing rights.
Could the Celtics take Dragan Bender with the third overall pick and allow him to continue to play in Europe? Perhaps. It really depends on how ready they feel he is to enter the NBA after not even playing that much this season for Maccabi in Israel.
“I think that all of those things are on the table and we need to look at all of those,” Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge said this week. “I think Brad [Stevens] asked in his contract extension to not have eight rookies this year. I think that was specifically written in.”
All kidding aside, would the Celtics avoid drafting a player like Bender, if he doesn’t want to stay overseas and would rather play in the NBA now?
“If we really like the guy, no, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker,” Ainge added. [Draft-and-stash talks] will be finalized kind of after you draft a kid, sit down and determine a plan of action, but those discussions go on all the time, year-round, contract situations, age, different levels of maturity and in the players’ game, all those come into play. But it’s a partnership with the player, his representatives and the team to try to make the best decisions for him.”
|Isaiah Thomas wants Team USA to look at him for Olympics: ‘I wish I could get a chance’||06.10.16 at 7:28 pm ET|
Isaiah Thomas is nothing if not honest.
He spent the last couple of weeks pushing hard for Kevin Durant to come to Boston and join him on the Celtics.
Now, the 5-foot-9 dynamo is making another pitch. He wants to play on Team USA in Rio.
“I wish I could get a chance to play on the USA team!” Thomas tweeted Friday evening. “Looking at the history of it, I’ve never seen a small guard selected 2 even try out.”
Of course, the most famous “Dream Team” snub involved Thomas’ namesake in 1992 in Spain, when the Pistons’ Isiah Thomas was not offered a spot. Many theories have been suggested over the years. The most common involves Thomas burning a bridge with Michael Jordan when he led a walk-off against Jordan and the Bulls at the end of the 1991 Eastern finals, a move that struck a raw nerve with Jordan.
This Thomas has no such intention of burning a bridge.
USA Basketball will have a 12-man roster in Rio. ESPN reported Friday that Kings forward (and a player perpetually tied to the Celtics) DeMarcus Cousins has been selected.
There’s a who’s who list of NBA stars who have already turned down Team USA, including NBA MVP Stephen Curry, LaMarcus Aldridge Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and John Wall.
The Celtics’ point guard would seem to be a natural fit to replace the likes of Curry, Wall or Paul.
I wish I could get a chance to play on the USA team! Looking at the history of it I’ve never seen a small guard get selected 2 even try out
— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) June 10, 2016
|Jamal Murray out to prove he’s ‘best player’ in draft: ‘I can score on anybody’||06.08.16 at 2:14 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Jamal Murray doesn’t lack for confidence.
The 6-foot-4 guard out of Kentucky is rated by some as the best pure shooter and scorer available after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram in the draft.
“I have the mind of a 1 in a 2 guard’s body,” Murray said. “I believe I can score on anybody. In college I got better at playing the 2, kind of got a feel for it coming off screens, found my rhythm. Before that I was a natural point guard. I’m a big guard, whether a 1 or 2.”
Does Murray think he’s the best player in this draft?
“Yeah, I think so. That’s not a knock on anybody, I’m just looking back on the work I’ve put in, how far I’ve come, how quickly I learn, how quickly I adapt to my surroundings and how easy I fit into a team. I believe I’m the best player in the draft, but every team needs what they need,” he said. “I just want to go to the right team. The team that wants me. The team that believes in my potential and [couldn’t make out] I have right now. Someone who is going to use down the stretch and have faith in me.”
On Wednesday, he spent the morning working out for the Celtics, proving that and setting a record of sorts.
The guard made 79 of 100 shots from 3-point range in a drill around the arc. The previous mark was 77 this spring. The drill involved taking 10 shots from beyond the arc at five spots on the court and going twice around.
“They told me ahead of time it was a record. I was at 71. They kind of had one more spot to go,” Murray said. “I didn’t know. They just kind of told me I was at 71.”
|A crazy busy Zach Auguste comes home for a Celtics workout: ‘I’ve got 19. All downhill from here’||06.08.16 at 12:40 pm ET|
Zach Auguste "nothing makes me prouder than to put this jersey on and have a workout" on his Celtics workout Weds pic.twitter.com/CZoJX3WFO9
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) June 8, 2016
WALTHAM – There are few, if any, players who have the pre-draft workout schedule that Notre Dame’s Zach Auguste has.
The Marlboro, Mass. native stopped by Waltham Wednesday morning for a workout with the Celtics as part of a journey that is set to take him to 18 different teams.
“This is my 14th workout. So I’m kind of a vet,” Auguste said with a hearty smile. “I’ve got 19 scheduled. Yeah, I’m a 14, so I’m almost there. All downhill from here.
“This is actually my third one in a row this week. Just came from Houston and L.A., with the Lakers and the Rockets. And I’m going to have a couple days off, about four days off, and then head down to Washington for the Wizards. Then I’ve got Sacramento, Golden State, and then Detroit.”
“It takes a toll on you and you definitely get fatigued, but the most important thing is just kinda get as much rest as you can, stay hydrated. The trainer will say to me, ‘Always have a Gatorade or water bottle in your hands at all times.’ Then you just use a recovery system. Each organization has a recovery room you can get some ice, heat, whatever you need to do. So utilizing that is the most important thing.”
What was it like for him to stop by home and work out for the team that he rooted for growing up.
“It feels great. I had an opportunity to come here for this organization, work out for a team that I grew up my whole life watching and cheering for,” the 6-foot-10 Auguste said. “Nothing makes me prouder than being able to put this jersey on and have a workout, even if it’s just for one workout.”
So the Celtics were his favorite team?
“Of course. It’s funny to see Walter McCarty down there, helping us out, you know, someone I used to watch with his tube sucks all the time running up and down the court,” Auguste said. “So, it’s always good to see that, especially Danny Ainge as well.”
He did not, however, scream, ‘I love Waltah.’
|Jamal Murray, Cheick Diallo part of busy workout day Wednesday for Celtics||06.08.16 at 11:32 am ET|
WALTHAM – Several potential first-round choices came to Waltham Wednesday as the Celtics gear up their scouting and preparations for the NBA draft two weeks from Thursday.
Jamal Murray (Kentucky) and Cheick Diallo (Kansas) were invited to the Celtics’ practice facility.
Also attending were Zach Auguste (Notre Dame), Farad Cobb (Cincinnati), Adam Pechacek (Czech Republic), Adam Smith (Georgia Tech), Terry Allen (Richmond) and Domanatas Sabonis (Gonzaga).
Murray and Sabonis were invited for individual workouts while the rest worked in a group, concentrating on 3-on-3 and other drills.
Wednesday marked the second of three workout days in a busy pre-draft week for the Celtics.
There was no word from the team as to whether Dragan Bender would be working out on Thursday after it was reported Tuesday that the 7-foot-1 big man from Croatia would be taking part in workouts for three NBA teams, including the Celtics.
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