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NBA draft-day rumors: BC’s Reggie Jackson may have promise from Thunder 06.23.11 at 2:29 pm ET
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In Sports Illustrated writer Sam Amick‘s draft notebook, he listed a few interesting tidbits about Boston College point guard Reggie Jackson.

The first bullet point stated that several NBA executives believe that Jackson has a promise from the Thunder that they will take him with the 24th pick should he still be left on the board at that point in Thursday night’s draft. According to Amick, Jackson and his representatives refused to work out for other teams and told them that the BC star “already has an NBA home somewhere.”

Amick also goes on to declare Jackson as “the runaway winner of the high-maintenance award in this draft class.” That’s because the guard not only pulled out of workouts but also because his camp refused to share medical records with teams following a report that he had undergone a minor knee procedure. One executive even told Amick “a lot of people don’t believe he was ever injured.”

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NBA draft-day rumors: Jameer Nelson to Portland for Andre Miller, 21st pick? 06.23.11 at 2:13 pm ET
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The Trail Blazers have been involved in lots of trade rumors heading into Thursday night’s NBA draft. The latest involves the team picking up Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson in exchange for current pointman Andre Miller and the 21st pick in the draft, according to a tweet from Jonathan Givnoy of Draft Express.

Miller has a non-guaranteed contract for 2012 while Nelson is owed $7.2 million for the upcoming season and has a player option for the year after that. If the Magic decided not to keep Miller, Gilbert Arenas, who was acquired in the middle of the 2010-11 season, could take over at the point guard spot for Orlando.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Tennessee G/F Scotty Hopson 06.17.11 at 3:52 pm ET
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Tennessee's Scotty Hopson was named to the All-SEC first team this past season but needs to be more consistent at the next level. (AP)

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).

Scotty Hopson

Position: Guard/forward

School: Tennessee

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 205 pounds

Stats: 17.0 ppg, 1.3 apg, 3.3 rpg, .376 3-pt%

What he brings: Hopson, who enters the draft following his junior year at Tennessee, has the perfect size and length to be a solid wingman at the next level, and the scoring potential is certainly there as well. He was named to the All-SEC team by conference coaches after finishing fifth in the conference with 17.0 points per game. He is considered to be extremely athletic and finally showed a better ability to get to the charity stripe last season after he increased his free throws per game from 2.30 in 2009-10 to 4.84 a year later. He is also not considered to be extremely strong off the dribble.

That being said, his biggest knock is his inability to play consistently on a game-by-game — and sometimes even possession-by-possession basis — especially on the defensive end. There’s no better example of this than in early December, when he went from a 27-point game in a win over Pittsburgh to a seven-point performance against Oakland in a loss when he went 1-for-7 from the floor. Any NBA team, Celtics included, that takes Hopson in the draft will have to coax a more consistent effort out of him.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: “That guy is not from the same planet as the rest of us.” — NBA general manager to Draft Express after Hopson gave an unflattering interview. (Decide for yourself by watching this interview.)

Notes: Hopson said that the postseason firing of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl “played a lot into my decision” and that new coach Cuonzo Martin tried to get him to stay. During that process of attempting to convince Hopson to stay, Martin told the press, “It’s always tough because you want to give these guys honest information, but you also understand that a part of their success is about ego, so it’s the way you go about saying what you’re saying without really saying it.”

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kentucky G DeAndre Liggins 06.16.11 at 7:15 pm ET
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Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins is known much for his defense than his offense after three years in school. (AP)

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).

DeAndre Liggins

Position: Guard

School: Kentucky

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 210 pounds

Stats: 8.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg

What he brings: As his stats would suggest, Liggins never was much of an offensive force over three years in Lexington. He scored his career high of 19 twice last season in home wins over Indiana and Tennessee but reached double digits in only 15 of his 38 games.

Where he really made a name for himself was as perimeter defender, thanks in part to his 6-foot-11 wingspan. Usually charged with covering the other team’s best guard, Liggins led the Wildcats in steals with 46 (1.2 per game) last season and even earned Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America and Yahoo! Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. Opposing coaches liked what they saw defensively as well, voting him to the SEC All-Defensive squad as well as the East Regional all-tournament team after helping the Wildcats reach the Final Four. But with Avery Bradley, a young guard whose strengths are on the defensive end, already on the roster, don’t be surprised to see the C’s pass on Liggins.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: “[Tony Allen] has transformed the Grizzlies. Everybody is looking at DeAndre Liggins, that he could guard multiple positions. He’s athletic, tough, comes up with balls — all the stuff they want in that position.” — Kentucky coach John Calipari on comparisons of Liggins and former Celtic stopper Allen

Notes: Calipari advised Liggins to stay in college, but the player decided that he and his family would best served by making the jump to the pro ranks after talking to NBA scouts. For what it’s worth, ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford tweeted that Liggins was one of the best-looking prospects at a Nets workout that did not include any big names.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Butler G Shelvin Mack 06.13.11 at 11:35 am ET
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Guard Shelvin Mack led Butler to two straight national championships. (AP)

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).

Shelvin Mack

Position: Guard

School: Butler

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 215 pounds

Stats: 16.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.4 apg

What he brings: Two years ago, it would have been surprising to say the least that one of the draft’s most popular names would come from Butler of all places. But after two consecutive NCAA championship game appearances, that’s what we have in Mack, who enters the draft after three years in school. At 6-foot-3, he’d be well-sized for an NBA point guard but with his score-first skill set, he might project more as a small shooting guard, a la Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry in Golden State.

As he took on more responsibility in the Butler offense last season, his efficiency numbers took a small hit (field goal percentage dropped from .454 to .408, 3-point percentage from .391 to .354) but he would not be asked to take as big of a load in his first few NBA seasons. On the defensive end, his height and strength allowed him to cover bigger small forwards in college, but he is not believed to have the quickness to cover professional point guards.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: “He’s a guy that can handle the ball, he can dribble, pass and shoot. He has great strength, he has an NBA body, and he’s going to be able to play throughout the course of an 82-game season. He also performs at his best against the highest level and always has.” – Butler coach Brad Stevens

Notes: Mack played second fiddle to Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard in college, so demanding the ball so that he might put up points shouldn’t be an immediate problem. Mack acknowledged in an Associated Press story that he is prepared to play as few as two minutes in the NBA or even head to Europe if he were to go undrafted.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Brazil C Lucas Nogueira 06.07.11 at 1:04 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).

Lucas Nogueira

Position: Center

Country: Brazil

Team: Estudiantes B (Spain)

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 225 pounds

Stats: 11.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.5 bpg

What he brings: Still 18, Nogueira is one of the youngest prospects in the draft. But with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he’s also one of the longest. Nogueira will make plenty of highlight reels wherever he plays because of his athletic blocks and thunderous dunks. His rebounding skills are also solid.

Nogueira has not yet been able to fill out his youthful frame. That will hurt him in position battles down low against stronger big men, and he can’t rely solely on his length under those situations. His points mostly come from over-the-top passes or put-back dunks on offensive rebounds because his skills with his back to the rim are still a work in progress.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round (or second)

What they’re saying: “Nogueira is a long, freakish athlete who has a chance to be the next Brazilian in the league.” – SLAM Online’s Rodger Bohn

Notes: Nogueira had his coming-out party in the U18 FIBA Americas tournament where he averaged 15.6 points, 10 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game against players that included Austin Rivers, the son of the Celtics coach. In the gold-medal game against the United States, Nogueira played 34 minutes and scored a team-high 22 points, along with 14 rebounds and three blocks. But the Americans bested the Brazilians 81-78. In that same game, presumed first overall pick Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Fresno State C Greg Smith 06.07.11 at 11:17 am ET
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Greg Smith (right) will have to work on his offensive skills, but he has the size to make it in the NBA. (AP)

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).

Greg Smith

Position: Center

School: Fresno State

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 250 pounds

Stats: 11.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg

What he brings: Any team that takes Smith will be taking a flier on a stereotypical developmental center. At 6-foot-10 and a solid 250 pounds, the 2009-10 WAC Freshman of the Year and 2010-11 WAC second-teamer certainly has the size to make it at the next level. His hands, which measured in at nearly a foot wide and were the biggest at the combine, especially have earned him some looks as a guy who can snatch the ball out of mid-air, whether it be on a rebound or on a pass through traffic in the post. Twenty rebounds against Nevada in his last NCAA game are testament to that fact.

But as much as you can’t teach size, you can teach skill, and Smith certainly needs more than some polish on that end. His offensive stats don’t jump off the page — his .544 free throw percentage last season might do so for the wrong reason — and he is considered to be a project offensively. With depth thin at the center position for the Celtics, Danny Ainge could be willing to give Smith a shot in the second round, but if that were the case, no one in green would expect the early entry to contribute much except for maybe a few boards in limited reserve time.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: “If I had to model a player, it would be Amar’e Stoudemire because he’s a very explosive player, and that’s where I’m at right now. But right now if I had to come in, I’d be more like an Al Horford, a physical post player down there that’s going to get you 10 and 10 a night, that’s going to be physical defensively and reboundingly. But as I get my career going, I’ll develop into an Amar’e Stoudemire type player.” — Smith on his pro prospects

Notes: The Fresno native almost went to Arizona when he made the jump to the college ranks in 2009 but instead chose to stay at home and play for Steve Cleveland and the Bulldogs. He said Cleveland’s resignation this offseason was a factor in his decision to leave for the potentially greener pastures of the NBA.

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