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NBA draft prospect profile: Athlete Institute PF Thon Maker 06.16.16 at 12:27 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.

THON MAKER

Position: Power forward

School: Athlete Institute (Canada)

Age: 19

Height: 7-foot-1

Weight: 225 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 11.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks

Scouting report: A 7-footer with a 9-foot-3 standing reach, Maker has the size NBA coaches dream of. His post moves aren’t overly impressive, but he can hit the 3-point shot often enough to be respected from deep. He is an intense, driven big man who’s shown good leadership throughout high school and likely will be able to provide instant help to a professional team.

Having just completed his fifth year at high school, Maker is eligible to enter the NBA draft this year despite not attending college. In an interview with DraftExpress, Maker said he hopes to end up with the right team to help him improve his game.

“It’s more important for me to be picked where I fit,” said Maker, who is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. “When I’m on an NBA team, I’m going to get my apartment 5-10 minutes walking distance to the practice facility. I’m going to live in the gym. I’m just ready to go to work every day.”

The knock on Maker is his lower-body strength; he doesn’t possess impressive explosiveness and he tends to get pushed around down low by stronger opponents. He also lacks some awareness on both ends of the floor, and his post defense is a concern with his previously mentioned lack of strength. It seems that Maker will be a true long-term project in the NBA, as he has the size and wingspan to thrive but still has ways to go in developing his game.

Notes: Maker played basketball for two years at the Carlisle School in Virginia before transferring to Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute in Canada. He was born in South Sudan before immigrating to Australia when he was 5, then moving to the United States in 2011. … He was given the MVP award at the 2014 adidas Nations camp.

Related articles:

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Thon Maker,
Jared Dudley proclaims interest to play for Celtics 06.16.16 at 12:13 pm ET
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Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley has been making a bit of a splash this offeseason — even prior to the beginning of the free agency window.

From challenging fans to games to responding to different rumors about where he would go this offseason, the 30-year-old has been making Twitter an entertaining forum to talk about his future. He recently joined CLNS Radio’s Larry H. Russell to talk about his future among other things.

In the discussion, he was exceptionally candid, letting Russell know that he thinks he would be a seamless fit into the Celtics system.

“I think I would be a pretty good fit for Boston in the sense that they need shooting,” said Dudley. “You can never have too much veteran leadership. They’re a team that’s obviously led by Brad Stevens who is a great coach and they’ve done well, but the key to a young team is developing that young talent. They have the number three pick here in the draft and you can never have (enough) people who know how to play the right way, know their role.”

And Dudley certainly isn’t far off on him being able to address the Celtics’ needs. Last season he appeared in 81 games (starting 41) averaging 7.9 points per game. He shot 47.8 percent from the field, however, and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc.

To compare, Kelly Olynyk was the Celtics top shooter from three in 2015-16, shooting 40.5 percent. The veteran is a character, for sure, but he would provide both veteran leadership and a reliable shot from the perimeter, a pair of traits the Celtics certainly need and would not have to give up much to attain.

For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.

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Kris Dunn denies claim he does not want to be drafted by Celtics 06.16.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Kris Dunn denied claims he doesn't want to play for the Celtics. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

Kris Dunn denies claim he doesn’t want to play for the Celtics. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

The narrative for nearly a month has been Providence’s Kris Dunn does not want to be drafted No. 3 overall to the Celtics.

His agent reportedly withheld his physical so that only specific teams could see in-depth the history behind his shoulder problem that sidelined him his sophomore season. He also reportedly did not want to play for a team that already had an established backcourt, eliminating the Celtics as well as the Suns at pick No. 4. But according to Dunn himself, that’s not necessarily true.

“I mean it would be unbelievable to be selected by the Celtics,” said Dunn in a phone interview with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “My dream is to just get drafted, and that I have the chance to be a top-five player, it’s a blessing.”

In regards to the rumor itself, Dunn addressed it as just that, stating, “That never came out of my mouth, that I didn’t want to play for any team.”

A native of New London, Connecticut, speculation rose about him wanting to play for his hometown team so he could be near family and in a familiar area, and Dunn has noted some admiration for the Celtics of late due largely to their development with Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart, the latter of whom, he has some familiarity with.

“[The Celtics] have great players … I don’t know Marcus Smart that well, but I played with Marcus Smart at multiple things, AAU at the time, and high school in the McDonalds All-American game. And Isaiah Thomas was an All-Star this year. You can see they’re on the rise and close to something special. I’m gonna be anxious to see what they do next year.”

Dunn averaged 16.4 points with 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game with Providence College last season. In the latest mock draft from Sports Illustrated, Dunn is projected to go to the Denver Nuggets at No. 7, down two from their previous mock that had him going fifth to the Timberwolves. The same draft has the Celtics going with Croatian Dragan Bender with the No. 3 overall pick.

For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Kris Dunn,
NBA draft prospect profile: Maryland SF Jake Layman 06.16.16 at 9:34 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.

JAKE LAYMAN

Position: Small forward

School: Maryland

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 210 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2015-16 stats: 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 84.6 free throw percentage

Scouting report: Layman has the build of a short power forward, but Maryland was full of big men last year, forcing him to adjust to the small forward position. He is quick and agile, and his explosiveness surprises both scouts and those defending him. Layman shot 39.9 percent from deep last season, suggesting he could be a valuable “3-and-D” role player in the NBA. He does a great job disrupting passing lanes and brings intensity on the defensive end.

As far as weaknesses, Layman does not have many go-to moves offensively. He’s not a playmaker whatsoever and becomes victim to tunnel vision when driving to the hoop. With a lack of scoring moves, Layman needs to improve his offensive versatility in order to increase space on his jump shot. Also, Layman gets pushed around down low far too often for a player who has been a power forward most of his career. He’ll need to bulk up and improve his strength.

He is projected to go late in the second round or be undrafted.

Notes: Layman starred at King Philip High School in Wrentham before attending Maryland. He also played AAU basketball with local powerhouse BABC. … An honorable Big Ten selection his senior year, Layman was third on the team in minutes (31.4) and helped lead the Terrapins to the Sweet 16.

Related articles:

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Jake Layman,
NBA draft prospect profile: Germany SF Paul Zipser 06.15.16 at 3:50 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.

PAUL ZIPSER

Position: Small forward

Country: Germany (Bayern Muenchen)

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 210 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 6.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists

Scouting report: Zipser has the perfect size for an NBA small forward, which he can use to defend both small forwards and shooting guards. His lateral quickness also helps him out on that end, and he has a knack for shot blocking. Defense may be his greatest attribute, but Zipser is also a versatile player on offense, able to slash his way to the basket as well as excel in catch-and-shoot situations. He’s a smart player who moves well off the ball and can contribute without touching the ball once on a possession. Zipser is a ferocious rebounder and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team.

”I’m all about the team. Team player,” Zipser said in an interview with Yahoo Sports in February. “Whatever the team needs: rebounding, helping out on defense, sharing the ball, playing together. That’s my style. That’s the best way you can play basketball. I’m also a really dangerous shooter.”

A prospect who didn’t get much playing time overseas, Zipser needs to work on his dribbling and shot creating. He often loses the ball or gets stripped when looking to score, something that will be easily exploited in the NBA. He also tends to force passes when pressured by two defenders. He may not yet be ready for the NBA yet, and at 22 years old, his potential to improve could be a question mark. He helped his cause with a strong showing at the EuroCamp earlier this month and is projected to go in the middle of the second round.

Notes: Zipser started alongside Dirk Nowitzki at the European Championships last summer. He ended up seeing more minutes last season than other Euroleague prospects Dragan Bender and Furkan Korkmaz. … He was an early entrant in the 2015 NBA draft but eventually withdrew his name from consideration.

Related articles:

Fansided: Meet Bayern Munich’s Jack of All Trades

Yahoo Sports: European Dispatch: Getting to know Paul Zipser

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Paul Zipser,
NBA draft prospect profile: Florida State SG Malik Beasley 06.15.16 at 12:40 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 on prospective picks. The Celtics have amassed eight picks: 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

MALIK BEASLEY

Position: Shooting guard

School: Florida State

Age: 19

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 190 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Scouting report: Beasley is a sharpshooter who hit 47 percent of his field goals as a freshman this past season. What is most impressive is the rate at which he was able to score. Against Louisville he scored 23 points on 16 shots, against Virginia he scored 17 points on 10 shots, and against Iowa he scored 20 points on 17 shots. 

“As a shooter Beasley is very sound mechanically, showing outstanding shot preparation before the catch, tremendous balance, quick elevation as he goes into his motion, and a clean wrist action at the top of his jump that produces a healthy amount of back spin,” Yahoo Sports’ Mike Schmitz wrote. “Beasley can shoot off the hop or after planting one foot after another, an important skill for shooting on the move and under duress.”

Beasley’s offensive skills are not limited to shooting. He is able to keep defenders guessing with his ability to finish at the rim. In transition, Beasley is able to use his high motor and speed to blow by defenders and finish strong. Before Beasley is NBA ready he will need to improve his ball-handling and his ability to create his own shot. What has NBA scouts most worried about Beasley is his size. Nonetheless, Beasley still projects to go in the middle to late first round.

Notes: Beasley, who was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and All-ACC honorable mention, is the first player to leave Florida State as a one-and-done. … Beasley comes from an entertaining family. His father, Michael, played basketball at Texas-Arlington and then professionally internationally before becoming an actor, appearing in “Eastbound and Down” among other projects. Beasley’s mother, Deena, also acts and has worked as a model and singer. His grandfather, John, is an actor as well and had a role as a Notre Dame assistant coach in “Rudy.”

Related articles:

Tallahassee Democrat: FSU’s Malik Beasley reflects on NBA decision

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Malik Beasley,
NBA draft prospect profile: Oregon State PG Gary Payton II 06.15.16 at 9:25 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.

GARY PAYTON II

Position: Point guard

School: Oregon State

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 184 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-8

Key 2015-16 stats: 16.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 3.0 steals, 1.3 blocks

Scouting report: A two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Payton uses his big wingspan and instincts to follow in his father’s footsteps. He possesses great leaping ability and explosiveness. These two skills have helped him develop into a prolific dunker and good rebounder (team-high 7.9 boards). These traits also help Payton on offense where he is at his best in transition. Offensively, Payton has shown good vision, but he doesn’t always connect on his passes. Payton also lacks a good jump shot. He is able to get in the paint to score, but opposing defenses usually were prepared for Payton to drive to the basket because of his inability to score from the perimeter.

“He’s got to shoot the ball better,” an NBA scout told Bleacher Report. “He’s also got to show possession after possession that he can get you into your offense and make the right reads.”

Payton, who led the Pac-12 in steals the past two seasons, is projected to go in the middle of the second round.

Notes: Payton twice was named first-team All-Pac-12. He led Oregon State in points, steals, rebounds and assists this past season. … Payton transferred to Oregon State for his junior season after playing at Salt Lake Community College, and as a senior he helped guide the Beavers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1990. … Payton is the son of former NBA star Gary Payton, who spent a season with the Celtics in 2004-05.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Gary Payton Jr. looks to create his own NBA legacy

NBA.com: Gary Payton II: Like father, not like son

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Gary Payton II,
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