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Jamal Murray out to prove he’s ‘best player’ in draft: ‘I can score on anybody’ 06.08.16 at 2:14 pm ET
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Mar 19, 2016; Des Moines, IA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Jamal Murray (23) shoots the ball against Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) in the second half during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray, a possibility for the Celtics at No. 3, is not short on confidence as the draft approaches. (Steven Branscombe/USA Today Sports)

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.” 

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Jamal Murray, John Calipari
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
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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.’

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Notre Dame, Pat Connaughton
NBA draft prospect profile: Vanderbilt PG Wade Baldwin IV 06.08.16 at 12:28 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.

WADE BALDWIN IV

Position: Point guard

School: Vanderbilt

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 202 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists

Scouting report: One NBA team will be hoping that Baldwin’s combination of enormous wingspan, height and 10.45-second lane agility time (tied for the second fastest at the combine this year) is the right formula for him to become an elite defender. At Vanderbilt, Baldwin sometimes was caught not paying attention while playing off-ball defense, but scouts believe that in the NBA he will be able to guard just about anyone. “I’ve been advised that I could possibly guard the 1 through 3 positions, because of my length,” Baldwin said at the NBA combine. “I think that’s what makes me unique in this draft.”

Offensively, Baldwin is at his best in transition, but in half-court offense Baldwin struggled to get around defenders to get inside the paint and score. Baldwin did excel at drawing contact when driving in the lane (he drew 7.7 fouls per 40 minutes). When running the offense, Baldwin showed that he is willing to pass, but he also made questionable decisions with the ball. He also proved to be an inconsistent shooter. This past season he shot a solid 40.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line, however his lack of elevation and low release point made it difficult for him to shoot consistently off the dribble. Baldwin was somewhat easy for opposing teams to guard against because he was only dangerous in transition or shooting off the catch.

Teams that are in need of a point guard will be coveting Baldwin for his defensive prowess and room to grow. He is projected to go anywhere from late lottery to early second round.

Notes: Baldwin was a high school teammate of reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns. Baldwin, who is forgoing his final two years of college eligibility, was named to the All-SEC second team this past season, one year after being tabbed for the SEC All-Freshman team.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Wade Baldwin IV has the body of an NBA point guard. Can his game catch up?

Arizona Republic: Wade Baldwin IV brings rare point guard look to draft

USA Today: Wade Baldwin hopes combine performance helped draft stock

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Wade Baldwin IV,
Jamal Murray, Cheick Diallo part of busy workout day Wednesday for Celtics 06.08.16 at 11:32 am ET
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Feb 29, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Cheick Diallo (13) shoots against Texas Longhorns forward Connor Lammert (21) during the second half at the Frank Erwin Special Events Center. Kansas won 86-56. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas Jayhawks forward Cheick Diallo (13) shoots against Texas in Big-12 action this season. (Brendan Maloney/USA Today Sports)

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.

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, Boston Celtics, Cheick Diallo, Cincinnati
NBA draft prospect profile: Weber State PF Joel Bolomboy 06.08.16 at 9:28 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, 58. The draft will be held June 23 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

JOEL BOLOMBOY

Position: Power forward

School: Weber State

Age: 22

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 224 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-1

Key 2015-16 stats: 17.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.1 blocks

Scouting report: When examining Bolomboy’s stats, what jumps off the page is the 12.6 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 power forward was a rebounding machine for Weber State this past season, setting the school’s single-season (415) and career (1,312) rebounding marks. His career total also is a Big Sky Conference record. He also owns school records for career blocked shots (179) and free throws attempted (651) and is seventh in points (1,484).

When playing offense, Bolomboy typically had his back to the basket — according to Synergy Sports Technologies, in 34.5 percent of Bolomboy’s possessions he had his back to the basket — but there is concern that in the NBA against bigger, stronger defenders Bolomboy will not have the same success with that style. Another major concern about Bolomboy is his lack of basketball IQ. Bolomboy was willing to pass, but he didn’t display good court vision, which often led to turnovers. On defense, Bolomboy’s lack of basketball instincts also were apparent.

Bolomboy is projected to go in the second round and likely will need to improve his shooting mechanics before he can emerge as a contributor in the NBA, but a team might be willing to take a chance on him because of his rebounding ability and high character.

Notes: Bolomboy was named the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year and Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year. He is the only player ever to receive both awards in the same season. He also was an All-America honorable mention. … Bolomboy, also the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, helped Weber State make NCAA Tournament appearances in 2014 and 2016. … Bolomboy was born in Russia to a Congolese father and Russian mother, but he grew up in Texas.

Related articles:

CBS Dallas/Fort Worth: Joel Bolomboy: My life as an NBA draft prospect

Standard Examiner: Joel Bolomboy continues team workouts as draft approaches

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Joel Bolomboy,
Celtics Choice: Dragan Bender vs. Kevin Love 06.07.16 at 4:24 pm ET
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In the days leading up to June 23’s NBA draft, we examine what the Celtics could do with the No. 3 overall pick and how they should approach this pivotal offseason. In that spirit, we present “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the third pick on Croatian big man Dragan Bender or trading it as part of a package to land Cavaliers forward Kevin Love.

The case for Bender

In a word, potential. Seven-foot-1 athletes with 3-point shooting range and the quickness to defend inside and out don’t come along very often, and the immediate success of Kristaps Porzingis in New York will undoubtedly have an NBA team hoping lightning can strike twice with Bender, who spent the season playing limited minutes in a reserve role for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel’s top professional league. That kind of experience against veteran competition should only help Bender transition to the NBA, but even the most optimistic assessment doesn’t have him making an impact for at least a couple of years. NBA scouts love his lateral quickness, 9-foot-3 reach, and feel for the game. He’s considered a gifted passer with the kind of shooting stroke that suggests he’ll have NBA range in due time.

The case against Bender

In a word, potential. While Bender could end up being Porzingis or (best-case scenario) Dirk Nowitzki, he could also go the route of Darko Milicic. No one knows for certain how he’ll handle NBA competition, if he’ll add enough strength to compete on the boards, if he’ll take his game to another level. There’s also his lack of playing time in Israel this year, which has produced modest stats (5.5 points, 3 rebounds per game). Still only 18 years old, Bender is a mystery even to teams that have scouted him extensively overseas. He will require time to develop when he arrives, and a team like the Celtics, with an ownership and fan base that expects to win now, might not have the stomach to endure the inevitable growing pains. There’s a chance he gets completely swallowed up by the strength of NBA players at the point of attack, leaving him as a Brad Lohaus-type, which definitely isn’t worthy of the third pick.

The case for Love

In a word, experience. There are no mysteries about Cleveland’s third wheel. He’s a proven All-Star in the NBA with the ability to lead an offense as an elite scorer — he twice averaged over 26 a game in Minnesota — and he can score in any number of ways. A traditional post presence early in his career, Love has since added legit NBA 3-point range to emerge as one of the best stretch-4s in the game, even if he hates that term. He made just 2-of-19 3-pointers as a rookie in 2008-09, but saw those numbers increase to 190-for-505 during his final season in Minnesota before joining the Cavaliers last season. Add tremendous rebounding ability (11.5 per game lifetime), excellent vision to pass out of double teams, and the title of the game’s best outlet passer, and Love is a legit superstar.

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Read More: Celtics, Celtics choice, Dragan Bender, Kevin Love
NBA draft prospect profile: Louisville C Chinanu Onuaku 06.07.16 at 3:42 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.

CHINANU ONUAKU

Position: Center

School: Louisville

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Nov. 1)

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 245 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-3

Key 2015-16 stats: 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 62.0 field goal percentage

Scouting report: Onuaku is a true center, but he’s a tad undersized to play that position in the NBA. However, he’s just 19 years old, so there’s certainly a chance that he could grow another inch or two. On the plus size, he has a good wingspan and is build solidly — and knows how to use his physicality, creating problems in the post, rebounding well and setting wide screens. He showed promise in the pick-and-roll at going to the basket, using his good hands to haul in passes and finishing with confidence, but he did not do as well in the pick-and-pop, as he does not display good range.

Onuaku showed strong improvement this past season as a sophomore, seeing the floor better, but his decision-making needs to get better. He impressed at the NBA combine scrummages, protecting the rim and playing solid team and individual defense. Not a great shooter nor someone who can create offense, Onuaku could be a solid role player in the NBA. He’s expected to go in the middle of the second round.

Last month Onuako underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart issue known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, in which a person can have periods of abnormally rapid heart rate. “After an extensive physical with the NBA doctors over the last few days, they noticed a situation that will require a minor procedure that will keep me off of the court for approximately 7 to 10 days,” Onuaku said in a statement from Louisville. “After the 7-10-day window, I will be ready to start my workouts again in pursuit of my NBA dreams.”

Notes: Onuaku helped the U.S. team win gold at the U19 World Championship last summer. In the championship game, a 79-71 overtime victory over Croatia, he recorded six points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots in 28 minutes. … A 55 percent free throw shooter, Onuako resorted to shooting underhanded in February. … His brother Arinze played at Syracuse from 2005-10 and has had three brief stints in the NBA. Arinze played last season for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel and then for the Meralco Bolts in the Philippines.

Related articles:

SI.com: Exploring Louisville center Chinanu Onuako’s NBA draft decision

WAVE3.com: Chinanu Onuaku to undergo heart rhythm correction procedure

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Chinanu Onuaku,
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