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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UNC PG Kendall Marshall 06.12.12 at 8:39 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.

Kendall Marshall set the ACC single-season assist record this past season. (AP)

KENDALL MARSHALL

Position: Point guard

School: North Carolina

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 198 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Bob Cousy Award (nation’s top point guard), 2012 All-America third team (AP), 2012 All-ACC second team, 2011 All-ACC third team, 2011 first-team Freshman All-America (Sporting News)

Key 2011-12 stats: 8.1 points, 9.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 46.7 FG%, 33.0 minutes

What he brings: Marshall, who leaves UNC after his sophomore season, is a taller point guard, and his height allows him to see the floor more easily. Add that height to his supreme offensive awareness and you have a point guard who can really control his team. He is a phenomenal passer who has great timing and a solid amount of creativity without turning the ball over often. Marshall handles the ball well and can penetrate and kick out with the best of them.

Despite having great offensive awareness, Marshall struggles to create for himself and is not a scorer at all. Because he is slow-footed, Marshall isn’t a great defender and doesn’t have much of a defensive ceiling despite his size.

Marshall’s high basketball IQ will be very attractive to teams looking for a point guard to simply run an offense, but his lack of foot speed will force him to adjust immediately in the faster NBA game.

Where the Celtics could get him: It seems unlikely the C’s would tab Marshall, considering they already have Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. Marshall also is regarded as a top-20 pick, so he’d need to slide a little for the C’s to have a shot at him.

Notes: Marshall fractured his wrist falling to the floor in a win over Creighton in the NCAA tournament and missed the Tar Heels’ last two tournament games. Two months later, it was determined that he also fractured his elbow on the same play. … Marshall handed out 351 assists last season, setting the ACC single-season record.

Recent articles:

Fayetteville Observer: Kendall Marshall says he also fractured his elbow as a sophomore

Slam: A rehabbing Kendall Marshall is ready to bring his unique game to the league

NBA.com: UNC point guard Marshall out to prove he can shoot straight

Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Marshall at UNC.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kansas PF Thomas Robinson 06.11.12 at 5:25 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.

Thomas Robinson helped Kansas get to the national championship game in April. (AP)

THOMAS ROBINSON

Position: Power forward

School: Kansas

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 244 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America first team (AP, Sporting News, NABC, USBWA), 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year, All-Big 12 first team

Key 2011-21 stats: 17.1 points, 11.9 rebounds, 50.5 FG%

What he brings: Robinson has the combination of power and athleticism to excel at the NBA level. He is a solid post presence, helped out by his strength and quick feet. He gets to the line a lot thanks to his high motor. His go-to post move is a solid right hook from the left block, and he has shown to be a solid jump shooter. Thanks to his relentless effort, leaping ability and strength, Robinson is a tremendous rebounder.

Robinson, who enters the draft a year early, isn’t that versatile in the post and while his jump shot is solid, he needs to work on making it more consistent. On the defensive end he isn’t a great shot-blocker despite the great effort he puts forth. The biggest knock on his game is that he turns the ball over a lot due to a lack of control on offense.

Where the Celtics could get him: Robinson is projected to be a top-five pick — perhaps as high as No. 2 — so the C’s would need to make a major trade to get in position to select him.

Notes: Robinson is a native of Washington, D.C., who prepped at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. During his sophomore season at Kansas, Robinson’s mother died of a heart attack less than a month after his maternal grandmother and grandfather died.

Robinson helped the Jayhawks reach the 2012 national championship game, a loss to Kentucky. He never averaged more than 15 minutes a game before his junior season, which he finished by averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds over 31.8 minutes per game.

Recent articles:

Slam: Thomas Robinson thinks he should be the top draft pick ‘easily’

2012 NBA draft combine: Thomas Robinson holds his head (and nose) up high

Video: Here are highlights of Robinson from last season.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UConn C Andre Drummond 06.11.12 at 11:58 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.

Andre Drummond is just 18 years old with one year of college experience at UConn. (AP)

ANDRE DRUMMOND

Position: Center

School: UConn

Age: 18

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 279 pounds

Achievements: 2012 Big East All-Rookie team

Key 2011-12 stats: 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 53.8 FG%, 28.4 minutes

What he brings: Drummond, a one-and-done for the Huskies, is a physical specimen, with a magnificent combination of strength and athleticism that makes him one of the top prospects in the draft. He’s a great finisher around the rim with a quick spin move with his back to the basket. Because of his size and leaping ability it is easy for guards to get him the ball. He runs the floor very well and is a great passer and an effective rebounder. He also is a great shot-blocker.

The 18-year-old relies mostly on his athleticism, as his post game is relatively unpolished. Drummond has been known to disappear at times if his playmakers can’t get him the ball. He doesn’t have much of a shot and is a terrible free throw shooter (29 percent). Drummond has lacked complete commitment to the game and has maturity issues.

Where the Celtics could get him: Drummond is considered to be a high-risk, high-reward pick with huge upside, but his immaturity could be a turn off to lottery teams. The Celtics still would almost assuredly have to trade up for a shot at him.

Notes: Drummond attended high school at St. Thomas More in Oakdale, Conn., and led his team to the national prep championship as a senior. He had disclosed plans to spent a postgraduate year at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., last summer before making a surprise announcement to instead attend UConn.

Recent articles:

Hartford Courant: After NBA lottery, experts detail Andre Drummond’s future

Sporting News: Andre Drummond bust like Darko or boom like Dwight Howard?

Video: Here’s a mix of Andre Drummond highlights from his lone season at UConn.

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Dan Le Batard on M&M: ‘It’s been real hard to have trust’ in LeBron James 06.07.12 at 12:46 pm ET
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Dan Le Batard

Miami Herald writer and ESPN personality Dan Le Batard joined the Mut & Merloni show Thursday to discuss the Heat’s issues late in games, Miami’s future and Erik Spoelstra. To hear the interview go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Heat have had immense pressure on them since the beginning of last season, but Le Batard said Game 6 is different.

“Game 5 you feel like you’ve still got a cushion. There is no safety net now. Now the safety net is absolutely gone, Le Batard said. “There is no, ‘Hey, maybe America won’t be able to laugh at us. Maybe we can come back in the next game and stop the laughter with one good game.’ This is different kind of pressure from any other kind of pressure.”

Le Batard noted that there are a number of factors contributing to Miami’s issues.

“You have got a lot of things in play that makes this a very difficult game for the Miami Heat and create that doubt,” he said. “One, you don’t know what you’re going to get from one of your All-Stars. Chris Bosh has been hurt. Two, Dwyane Wade has not been himself, he’s a little banged up. He’s the only one with a proven track record. And three, you’ve got LeBron James, who, while he’s been great this postseason and been great this season, the last time he was in this particular spot, lose and you die, lose and your season is over, he’s not been good in those spots. It’s been real hard to have trust [in him].”

Le Batard was uncertain of the Heat’s future, but he offered up an interesting trading piece if the Heat were to break up their Big Three.

“While that’s the noise that surrounds the franchise, Pat Riley prides himself on loyalty, and really that would be an extraordinary cold thing to do,” Le Batard said. “The piece you would trade is the older piece whose has the redundant skill set to LeBron James’. So you’d basically be trading Dwyane Wade, who put this whole thing together. I’m not sure how fair that is to Dwyane Wade when he put the whole thing together and two years after putting it together he’s playing in Golden State. I don’t know whether Pat Riley is capable of that.”

When asked about Spoelstra’s job status if the Heat lose, Le Batard minimized NBA coaches’ effect on games.

Said Le Batard: “I don’t believe that while Boston does have a coaching advantage in this series, I don’t believe a coaching advantage usually matters very much in this sport. … The way I’d ask you guys the question is this: Did Erik Spoelstra outcoach Doc [Rivers] last year in the playoffs? I don’t think he did. I think Boston just lost in five games because [Rajon] Rondo was hurt. And Erik Spoelstra is not afforded the same thing when I say Miami will lose in six or seven because Bosh was hurt.”

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Ian Thomsen on D&C: Dwyane Wade ‘giving up’ on Heat’s system 06.07.12 at 10:41 am ET
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Ian Thomsen

Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about the Celtics’ confidence, maligned Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and his predictions for Game 6. To hear the interview go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

“I think the Celtics go into this game with a lot more faith, with a lot more confidence than Miami,” Thomsen said.” I think Boston says to themselves, ‘If we play our way, if we do what we want to do, we’re going to win.’ I don’t think Miami goes into this game feeling that way at all. Maybe they feel like they have to do something that isn’t like themselves in order to win. Because everything else they’ve been trying lately has not been working — the last two years it it’s not been working in big games against this team, when [Rajon] Rondo‘s been healthy.”

When Thomsen was asked to predict Game 6, he was confident in the Celtics finishing the series.

“I think it’s going to be a tight, tough game all the way through,” Thomsen said. “In the end, Boston is going to win like they have before. In the end, Rondo is going to make some plays and Miami won’t have anybody that can make those plays.”

Thomsen said the Heat have been unwilling to display their emotions, even after the Game 5 loss.

“They’re just trying to show nothing,” he said. “They look like golfers after they walk off the green and they’ve three-putted or something. That’s how they looked.”

James has been under scrutiny for his and Miami’s fourth-quarter failures dating back to last season, and Thomsen has a theory as to the dismal late-game efforts.

“When he came into the league he was eventually cast as Michael Jordan and he always wanted to be Magic Johnson,” Thomsen said. “By signing with Miami he wanted to be Magic Johnson and he was making that clear. People saw that as a weakness. So now he was accused of being irresponsible or not up to the task. … I think that’s just messing with his head.”

Wade also has had a tough time this series. Thomsen is surprised with Wade’s play.

“He’s feeling pressure to score because Boston’s defense isn’t giving him any position,” Thomsen said. “But he’s also feeling frustration maybe with the plays that are being called, with the coaches. He’s going one-on-one because he doesn’t trust the plays. When I watched the game the other night, that’s what I was thinking, was: He’s giving up, not on the team and not on trying to win, but on the system. That’s where the Celtics have to feel like, ‘Now we’ve got him.’ ”

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Sixers TV analyst Marc Jackson on D&C: Celtics made ‘terrible mistake’ by not winning Game 6 05.25.12 at 9:48 am ET
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Marc Jackson

Sixers TV analyst Marc Jackson joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Friday morning to talk about the Game 7 matchup between the 76ers and Celtics coming up on Saturday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Jackson said Kevin Garnett needs to make a change in his game for the Celtics to emerge victorious.

“For Boston to win this game, KG has to get back on that block,” Jackson said. “Not necessarily settling for pick and pops or jump shots. But if you noticed the games that Philadelphia struggled with Boston were when KG imposed his will on the lower block. KG may be older in age, but he still has incredible skill on that block and he’s one of the best at seeing out of double teams. Even though Lavoy Allen has played tremendous defense on KG, KG has to go back to the old KG and put him in the grinder and get it done.”

Jackson said Philadelphia will be up to the challenge of a Game 7 in Boston.

“Yes, Philadelphia towards the end of the year was winning more games on the road then in their own arena,” Jackson said. “They are young so they don’t really know what’s at stake here almost to a fault. But even if they are playing in Boston or playing in Philadelphia, it’s all the same to them. I think Boston has made a terrible mistake by not trying to finish the Sixers off early, because the longer you let the young guys stay around the more confident they get. And I know the 76ers are extremely confident that they can go into this game and win against the Boston Celtics in their own court.”

Asked who he thought was going to be the one guy to step up for the Sixers, Jackson responded with Andre Iguodala.

“I’m going to say Andre Iguodala because of his defense, his swarming defense and the way he’s played defense on Paul Pierce, and before Paul it was Luol Deng,” Jackson said. “I know Paul made the comment earlier in the series that it’s not because Andre’s shutting him down but because the Sixers are playing great team defense. Paul, I love you to death, but I don’t want to hear that. Andre Iguodala has played great defense on you.”

Turning his attention to the bench, Jackson said coach Doug Collins deserves a majority of the credit for the eighth-seeded Sixers’ success.

“He imposed his philosophy on defense first, sharing the ball, commitment to doing the right thing at all times … and that team has taken that philosophy and ran with it,” Jackson said. “If you hear everyone speak about Philadelphia, the first thing they say is that they like each other. Now, for people from the outside world who have never played professional sports, that’s a major key, because a lot of teams, believe or not, do not like each other. … The 76ers have no [bitterness].”

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