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Austin Ainge: Celtics have No. 3 pick down to ‘three or four guys’ 06.18.16 at 2:17 pm ET
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WALTHAM – If the Celtics hold onto their first first-round pick, they have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to do. 

Austin Ainge, director of player personnel, acknowledged Saturday during pre-draft workouts that they have a good sense of the players they want to pick. He just wouldn’t identify them. 

The obvious candidates are Buddy Hield, Dragan Bender and Kris Dunn, with maybe a Jamal Murray or Jaylen Brown getting some attention in discussions in the war room. 

“We’ve been narrowing at this point. We have them in groups more than specific (players). Maybe for our first pick we have it narrowed to these three or four guys, the second group a little bigger – eight or 10, because you don’t know whose going to be there. You do your best at guessing and debating the groups,” Ainge said. 

Ainge said Saturday that he hasn’t heard from Dunn’s camp as to when or if the Celtics will get a chance to see the two-time Big East defensive player of the year in person or what may come of Tuesday’s private (closed to media) get-together with Bender. 

Identifying what the Celtics are going to do with their picks at No. 16 and 23 is a lot trickier because, as Ainge pointed out Saturday, not even the Celtics are sure what they’re going to do.

“It’s hard to guess what other teams are going to do, especially after the first couple of picks,” Ainge said. “It gets harder. All the media reports and discussions we’ve had with other teams, we still don’t know how the draft is going to go. Other teams [don’t know]. For instance, we don’t know who we’re going to take at 16, so how can I anticipate what another team is going to do? So these things are hard. So, you’ve just got to take the player you like the most and not outsmart yourself.

“Historically, those assumptions get proven wrong all the time. So, I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I think last year was a case of that. There’s always surprises. We’re doing this all the time. How are you feeling? Let’s write it up. Let’s go to 20 names today, or 50 names, or 100 names, 10 names. We do those exercises all the time. It happens a lot.

“There are those types of discussions. Sometimes you do overall, sometimes you do by position. We’ll do guys that have certain skill sets – try to break ties. We were all in the office watching video late last night. Talking about it, trying to figure it out.”

The tie-breaker? Well, naturally it’s Danny Ainge, who has stockpiled three picks in the first round and five more in the second. 

“For every pick range there’s guys we’re fighting between and trying to figure it out. We have a lot of picks,” Austin Ainge said. 

Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge,
Austin Ainge recalls Marcus Smart ‘was horrible in his workout’ before callback 06.18.16 at 2:08 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

WALTHAM – The Celtics are dotting their ‘I’s’ and crossing their ‘T’s’ this week. 

Some of those last-minute preparations for Thursday’s draft include calling players back for a second look. 

Austin Ainge, director of player personnel, reminded everyone Saturday, during the final media availability of group workouts in Waltham, that there is a certain value to bringing a player back for a second look, also known as a callback. 

Perhaps, the most recent example of this on a significant scale is Marcus Smart, the guard out of Oklahoma State taken sixth overall by the Celtics in the 2014 draft. 

“Marcus it was more like he was the guy we kinda wanted to take. And we all liked him a lot. Then he was horrible in his workout,” Ainge said. “And so when we went back and we watched film, we were like, ‘We do like this guy. Let’s give him another chance.’ So, that was the instance with that. We’ve done callbacks in years past where we didn’t end up taking the guy.

There have been callbacks where the guy was banged up or tired and so we said, ‘Alright, let’s look at you again.’ Or sometimes it’s as much as we found some things out in their background check and we want to talk to them about it. Or our doctor wants to take another look. All of these are reasons to have a guy come back.”

How different did Smart look the second time around?

“Significantly. He made shots. He was the Marcus that — he had more fire, just was the Marcus we had seen all season,” Ainge added. “Both of Marcus’ workouts were competitive workouts.

“It’s just case by case. Some guys are just really scheduled all the way up and some guys have room to come back and it just depends on everybody.”

Read More: Austin Ainge, Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart,
NBA draft prospect profile: UNLV SG Patrick McCaw 06.18.16 at 12:32 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.

PATRICK MCCAW

Position: Shooting guard

School: UNLV

Age: 20 (turns 21 on Oct. 25)

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 181 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2015-16 stats: 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 steals

Scouting report: McCaw is the kind of athlete NBA coaches dream of. He uses his quickness and length to be a ball hawk and cover ground on the defensive end, causing NBAdraft.net to call him “one of the nation’s best on-ball defenders.” That quickness and speed of his also helps him excel in transition. He can be a versatile scorer, and his jump shot form is top-notch. His height as a shooting guard helps him as a passer, and he shines at the game’s biggest moments.

What’s really holding him pick back is his thin frame. He has problems with being physical, as he gets knocked around when coming off screens or battling for a rebound. He has to get stronger and build some muscle in order to better compete in the paint at the next level. He is also sometimes careless with the ball, lacking advanced ball-handling skills.

“I feel like I have such an unselfish game,” McCaw recently told Nuggets.com. “My ability to create for my teammates, knock down open shots and defend. I think that translates to the NBA; I know I have to get stronger. In a couple years, I know my body is going to continue to fill out. People will see the progression.”

McCaw is projected to go late in the first round or early in the second.

Notes: McCaw made All-Mountain West second team and the conference’s all-defensive team after leading the Mountain West in steals. He enters the draft after his sophomore season.

Related articles:

Fansided: Is Patrick McCaw the best 3-and-D prospect in the 2016 NBA draft?

Bleacher Report: Breaking down pro future of UNLV’s Patrick McCaw

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, patrick mccaw,
NBA draft prospect profile: California PG Tyrone Wallace 06.18.16 at 9:37 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.

TYRONE WALLACE

Position: Point guard

School: California

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 198 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists

Scouting report: Wallace played for defensive-minded Cal coach Cuonzo Martin, which was perfect for him. Wallace’s size allows him to guard more positions than just point guard, while also getting in the way of opposing players to contest shots. Further helping Wallace on defense is his basketball IQ.

On offense, Wallace is much more of a liability. He is able to get in the paint and convert on a floater, but his jump shot is in need of a lot of work before he can become productive at the next level. In his sophomore year he hit a career-high 1.2 3-pointers a game and in his senior year he hit just 0.9. Further hurting Wallace is that he missed the NCAA Tournament with a broken right hand, his non shooting hand, which was the second time he broke that hand.

Wallace might get selected late in the second round or go undrafted.

Notes: Wallace helped lead Cal to a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament this year, the highest seeding in program history. … Wallace is the only player to rank in the top 10 in Cal’s all-time scoring, assists and steals records. … He was first-team All-Pac-12 his junior year and made honorable mention his senior year.

Related articles:

Bleacher Report: Breaking down pro future of Cal’s Tyrone Wallace

Nuggets.com: Prospect Q&A: Tyrone Wallace

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Tyrone Wallace,
NBA draft prospect profile: Virginia SG Malcolm Brogdon 06.17.16 at 3:48 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.

MALCOLM BROGDON

Position: Shooting guard

School: Virginia

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 223 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2015-16 stats: 18.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists

Scouting report: During Brogdon’s college career at Virginia, he proved that he was a complete player. Last month at the NBA combine, he reaffirmed that notion to NBA scouts.

“The 23-year-old two-guard looked like the best pure basketball player among all four 5-on-5 teams as he was able to distribute as the primary ball handler, knock down open shots, and finish over length and through contact all while locking up on the defensive end,” noted DraftExpress.com.

In 24.4 minutes per game Brogdon had 17 points, six assists, four rebounds, four steals and three turnovers. Brogdon consistently improved his jump shot over his four years at college. This past season he hit 45.7 percent from the field, and 46 percent of his shots came off of ball screens. While Brogdon has improved his shot, there still are some mechanics that will need to be smoothed out in order for him to become a consistent scorer in the NBA. Brogdon is limited in terms of athleticism and explosiveness, but he found ways to score because of his high basketball IQ and ability to play handle the ball even when pressure is applied. On defense, Brogdon’s lateral quickness has been called into question, but he uses his large frame and grit to make it difficult for opposing players to get around him. When Brogdon guarded Duke star Brandon Ingram, who is predicted to be one of the top two picks in this year’s draft, Ingram didn’t score, going 0-for-4.

Brogdon’s age (23) as well as questions about his ability to be a dominant scorer, have hurt his draft stock. He is projected to go somewhere in the middle of the second round.

Notes: Brogdon was the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a unanimous first-team All-American. He also was a finalist for the John Wooden Award and Jerry West Award (top shooting guard in the country). … Brogdon was named to the 2016 USA men’s select team roster. The select team will train with the USA basketball team from July 18-21 before the National Team heads to the Olympics.

Related articles:

The Denver Post: The book on Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, and how he’d fit with the Nuggets

NBA.com: Virginia’s Brogdon ready to do special things on, off the court

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Malcolm Brogdon,
NBA draft prospect profile: Saint Joseph’s SF DeAndre’ Bembry 06.17.16 at 12:58 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.

DEANDRE’ BEMBRY

Position: Small forward

School: Saint Joseph’s 

Age: 21 (turns 22 on July 4)

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 207 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-9

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists

Scouting report: The term that consistently comes up in analysis of Bembry is “Swiss army knife.” Although the roster may say small forward, Bembry has been used in every position from guard to power forward during his college career. In addition to being versatile, Bembry is a team-oriented player.

“With my unselfishness I just like to play that way,” Bembry said (via CBSSports.com). “I like making great reads, getting my teammates involved. Some guys like scoring more than passing and I’m one of those guys that likes to pass more than score.”

Bembry averaged 4.5 assists this past season and has been praised for his ability to see the court and envision plays before they happen. On the other hand, Bembry has been criticized for sometimes seeming disinterested while playing.

“We had scouts come in this preseason who said, ‘You know what separates him? He practices harder than almost all the first-round picks or any other player in his position would,’” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli said in defense of his player. “There’s not one day in three years where I would have said to someone that he coasted. Playing hard, that ain’t an issue, man. If you’re deciding on whether or not to pick him based on how hard he plays and winning and competing? Check that box. Forget that. You’ll be sadly mistaken if that’s the reason you don’t take him.”

Another knock against Bembry is his 26.6 3-point percentage and his 65.7 free throw percentage, however, Bembry did hit 122 3’s in 102 college games. He is projected to go late in the first round, which means that he most likely will be headed to a team with a winning culture.

Notes: Bembry was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. In the conference championship game against VCU, Bembry was 13-for-16 for 30 points with five rebounds and four assists. … Three players in the country averaged at least 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and four assists this season: LSU’s Ben Simmons, Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Bembry. In addition, Bembry played the third-most minutes in the nation (1,341).

Related articles:

NBA.com: Saint Joesph’s Bembry taking his old-school game to NBA

SB Nation: DeAndre Bembry is one of this draft’s best-kept secrets

CBS Sports: Mutli-faceted DeAndre’ Bembry steps into spotlight

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, DeAndre Bembry,
NBA draft prospect profile: China C Zhou Qi 06.17.16 at 9:35 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s 2016 NBA draft coverage, 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.

ZHOU QI

Position: Center

Country: China (Xinjiang Flying Tigers)

Age: 20

Height: 7-foot-2

Weight: 218 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-7

Key 2015-16 stats: 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Scouting report: Zhou Qi (pronounced Joe Chee) is thought to be one of the best prospects coming out of China since Yi Jianlian was drafted by the Bucks sixth overall in 2007. Because of his height, Zhou also has drawn comparisons to Yao Ming, who was taken first overall by the Rockets in 2002. Zhou is projected to go anywhere from the late first round to middle second round.

Scouts have been impressed with Zhou’s ability to protect the rim. This past season he led the Chinese Basketball Association with 3.2 blocks in 34 minutes per game. Despite being 7 feet tall, Zhou is able to stretch defenses because he is able to shoot like a guard. At the combine he hit 14-of-25 3-pointers, and for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, his team in China, Zhou hit 60 percent of his shots this past season. Zhou also was solid from the free throw line, hitting 76 percent of his attempts. NBA teams would like to see Zhou bulk up before he comes to the NBA. There is concern that his 218-pound frame would allow defenders to push him around. The good news for Zhou is that he reportedly has put on 10 pounds in recent weeks.

Notes: Jazz center Rudy Gobert is the only current NBA player to have a longer wingspan than Zhou. … Zhou worked out for teams at the combine, but he only worked out for the Grizzles, Celtics and Suns individually. He then returned to China to work out with the Chinese national team in preparation for the Olympics. … In the title game of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships, Zhou had 21 points and eight rebounds in China’s 76-73 win over Korea. 

Related articles:

The Denver Post: Zhou Qi’s potential could lead to much NBA draft intrigue

FIBA.com: Zhou Qi return boosts China’s Rio preparations

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Zhou Qi,
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