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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse PG Tyler Ennis 06.06.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

TYLER ENNIS

Position: Point guard
School: Syracuse
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-2.5
Weight: 181 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2013-14 stats: 12.9 points, 5.5 assists, 2.1 steals

Scouting report: Pure point guards are an endangered species in the NBA, but Ennis is one of them. He’€™s a pass-first pure point guard that utilizes excellent ball-handling skills to create space, which usually leads to open looks for teammates.

Ennis had a highly efficient 3.22 assist-to-turnover ratio, but his statistics probably would’€™ve been even more impressive had better perimeter shooters surrounded him. Of course, he probably will have that in the NBA, which bodes well for his potential as a distributor.

That increased spacing will also create opportunities for him as a scorer, since he is quite a solid shooter, at 35.3 percent from 3 last year. The Syracuse product is impressive off the dribble, which is normal for point guards, but he can also shoot off the catch, allowing him to play off-ball in a number of different situations.

Ennis is only an average defender and lacks a spectacular first step, so he probably won’€™t ever become one of the NBA’s top point guards, but he’€™s going to be a good backup, at worst, with the ceiling of a high-end starter.

How he fits: Ennis would give the Celtics an immediate upgrade at the backup point guard position, and a potential heir apparent to Rajon Rondo, if he’€™s traded.

Related articles:

Toronto Sun: Dream come true for Tyler Ennis working for the Raptors

ZagsBlog: Boeheim discusses Ennis’ decision to go pro

Video: Here is a highlight reel of Ennis’€™ game versus Duke.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, NBA, Tyler Ennis
Irish Coffee: Rajon Rondo wakes up America 06.05.14 at 12:57 pm ET
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Promoting the NBA Finals, Rajon Rondo appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday wearing a jean vest of some sort and addressed a few fan questions for the show’s Instagram account.

The biggest thing we learned — other than the fact Channing Tatum may be a better Pop-A-Shot player than the Celtics point guard — is that Rondo finally made his desire for “big changes” this summer public. He’s skirted similar questions about this offseason’s supposed “fireworks” in recent interviews, so there’s that.

“Hopefully this summer we’re going to make some big changes, get the ball rolling and get back in the finals pretty soon,” said Rondo. “I know [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge is doing his job, and I’m going to go out every summer, do my job and get better.” (Might want to work on that Pop-A-Shot game, too.)

Here are Rondo’s responses to some more questions submitted by fans on Twitter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Rajon Rondo,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Croatia F Dario Saric 06.05.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

DARIO SARIC

Position: Forward
Country: Croatia
Age: 20
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 223 pounds
Wingspan: 6-foot-10

Key 2013-14 stats (Adriatic League): 16.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 58.9 TS%

Scouting report: Fans of the NBA are scarred forever over the growing number of international busts during the last decade, but they should feel confident knowing Saric is a relatively safe pick. He does so many of the “little things” well, even though he lacks the elite upside of some others.

Only 20 years old, Saric led Cibona to the Adriatic League championship, capturing league and finals MVP honors in the process. This success is unheard of, and he likely would be considered one of the consensus top picks had he done that in March Madness.

Saric’€™s greatest attribute is his playmaking potential. He’€™s arguably the most versatile player in the draft because of his ability to score from inside, mid-range and the perimeter. His 3-pointer is still improving, but he added the “hop”€ (a technique allowing shooters to get shots off more quickly) to his arsenal, which improving his productivity.

Already an efficient scorer inside, he has the ability to get to the hole with either hand. Most impressive is Saric’€™s ability to pass off the dribble, a trait that could translate well in the pick-and-roll heavy NBA.

Even though Saric’€™s average athleticism and short wingspan will hold him back from ever becoming a true superstar, he has all the physical and mental tools necessary to be on a tier right below that. Of course, he must first stay in the draft for that to happen, as there is a chance he withdraws before the June 16 deadline.

How he fits: Saric has go-to scoring potential and is a proven winner. If the Celtics decide to go international with one of their draft picks, he could be the best player available.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: Adriatic League final four analysis: Dario Saric leads Cibona to championship victory

ProBasketballTalk: Dario Saric will join NBA next season if Celtics or Lakers draft him

Video: Here is a video scouting report of Dario Saric.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Dario Saric, NBA
Irish Coffee: The Celtics’ Carmelo Anthony conundrum 06.04.14 at 12:55 pm ET
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As a disclaimer, “an insider at RealGM.com” isn’t a source worth lending any credence, so let’s take Bert A. Ramirez’s bizarre rumor bringing both Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony to Boston with enough salt to warrant Seabass spitting in your burger, but we might as well examine whether it’s even possible under the NBA salary cap.

Using the Bill Simmons trade proposal as a jumping off point (both 2014 picks, both 2015 picks, Jared Sullinger, Keith Bogans and Brandon Bass for Love), here is the imaginary Celtics salary structure for 2014-15.

Kevin Love: $15.7M
Rajon Rondo: $12.9M
Gerald Wallace: $10.1M
Jeff Green: $9.2M
Avery Bradley: $6.3M (RFA hold)
Joel Anthony: $3.8M
Vitor Faverani: $2.0M
Kelly Olynyk: $2.0M
Chris Johnson: $0.9M
Phil Pressey: $0.8M
Chris Babb: $0.8M
TOTAL: $64.5M

That number exceeds the projected salary cap of $63.2 million, so the Celtics could not sign Anthony, even if he opts out, relinquishing an additional $33.2 million in potential guaranteed money from the Knicks. In this scenario, the Celtics would have to clear $23.8 million off the books in order to give Melo the maximum contract of four years and $95.9 million (2014-15: $22.5M; 2015-16: $23.5M; 2016-17: $24.5M; 2017-18: $25.5M). Here goes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, NBA
NBA mock draft roundup: Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh popular potential Celtics selections 06.04.14 at 11:58 am ET
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Just three weeks from Thursday, the Celtics will have some important decisions to make regarding their future. The June 26 NBA draft is quickly approaching. And with pre-draft workouts in full swing, the rumors and predictions surrounding each team are growing.

Kevin Love became the story in Boston this week after his surprise visit to the city over the weekend. But what can’t be ignored is the arrival of some of the top college players in the country for the Celtics‘ workouts in Waltham this week.

The C’s have the No. 6 and 17 picks in this year’s draft. While many fans would like to see Boston trade one — or both — of these picks for a star addition such as Love, there are some names gaining traction in mock drafts as potential Celtics selections.

No. 6 — There’s no question the Celtics frontcourt could use a boost. And of the 13 mock drafts reviewed, nine of them expect the C’s to address that concern by selecting either Kentucky’s Julius Randle or Indiana’s Noah Vonleh.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Randle is predicted to fall to the Celtics in five mock drafts, including one by CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish. Parrish writes: “Think of all of the great freshmen who have played at Kentucky, then understand Randle recorded more double-doubles [24] this past season than any of them. His upside isn’t that of [Andrew Wiggins] or [Joel Embiid]. But Randle still projects as a possible future All-Star.”

Four mock drafts have Boston selecting the 6-foot-9, 247-pound Vonleh. A Haverhill native, Vonleh is not a finished product after just one year at Indiana, but he is considered by some to be a rim-protector with the ability to shoot. The Sports Network’s Jim Brighters writes: “The Celtics seems to have a glut of big men with Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green, but the reality of this slot is that Vonleh is the best available player. Boston needs help shooting and maybe even a replacement for Rajon Rondo, if Danny Ainge moves him. Vonleh’s body needs work, but there are a lot of intangibles in his lean frame. Truthfully, this Indiana product is not that far from being ready, as he has a versatile game.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kentucky PF Julius Randle 06.04.14 at 9:00 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’€™s coverage of the 2014 NBA draft, here is one in a series of profiles of players who could be available to the Celtics when they make their two selections in the first round.

JULIUS RANDLE

Position: Power forward
School: Kentucky
Age: 19
Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 250 pounds
Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2013-14 stats: 15 points, 10.4 rebounds, 24.5 PER

Scouting report: Randle is arguably the toughest player in this year’€™s draft because of his hard-nosed style on offense and his tenacity attacking the offensive and defensive boards.

He averaged 4.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes by constantly boxing out and overpowering his opponents, but also by hustling and racing to the spot of 50/50 balls. The 19-year-old constantly battles and will likely see this skill translate to the pros.

The Kentucky product also is an advanced ball-handler for his age, though he tends to only use his left hand. He’€™s a bull with the ball and utilizes spins and crossovers, which is unusual for a 250-pounder. In college, this allowed him to get to the rim at a high rate, though he’€™ll need to add a jumper to find that kind of success at the next level.

However, Randle is one of the poorest defenders in the draft. He constantly misses rotations off-ball and is unable to protect the rim because of his average wingspan and low basketball IQ. If Randle doesn’t develop offensively, it’€™s unlikely he’€™ll ever bring enough on the defensive end to carve out significant playing time.

Randle typically struggled in games with NBA-sized bigs, so his transition to the pros will take a little longer than most expect, but he probably does enough as a scorer and rebounder to find his niche.

How he fits: If the Celtics are looking to unload Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk, then Randle could potentially be an upgrade at the big man position. However, the number of mock drafts sending him to Boston is a bit curious considering the team’s current logjam at the position.

Related articles:

CelticsBlog: The Randle Problem: Analyzing Julius Randle’s weaknesses on defense

Dean on Draft: Visibility bias and Julius Randle’€™s defense

Video: Here is a video explaining Randle’€™s lapses on defense.

(Kevin O’€™Connor also covers the Celtics for SB Nation and can be reached on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.)

Read More: 2014 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Boston Celtics, Julius Randle, NBA
Chris Mannix on MFB: ‘Kevin [Love] knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston’ 06.03.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix joined Middays with MFB on Tuesday to discuss the Celtics and Kevin Love. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Love’s name has sparked trade rumors since the power forward made it clear that he does not plan to re-sign with Minnesota after next season. The Celtics are one of those teams that appear to be interested, which is why Mannix said it’s no coincidence he was spotted in Boston this past weekend.

“I think it’€™s worth getting excited about,” Mannix said. “I think that Kevin knew exactly what he was doing when he went to Boston. I grew up there, I love the town, but nobody vacations in Boston this time of year. The guy just finished a long season, why wouldn’t he go home to Washington state or go back to Southern California to take a break? I think there was a reason for that trip.

“Look, he’€™s made it clear through his representatives to Minnesota that he has no intentions of re-signing there after next season. They’€™re going to opt out of the contract and they’€™re going to look elsewhere for better opportunities. … I don’€™t think it happens before the draft, but sometime this offseason I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Love is moved.”

Mannix said he doesn’t expect Love to be dealt before the draft due to “salary cap ramifications.” But, he said Love’s trip to Boston was meant to “put a little more pressure on Minnesota to make a move.”

“I think there’€™s a subliminal message there. He’€™s putting it right in Flip Saunders‘€™ face,” Mannix said. “Look, Flip reacted to it somewhat negatively. … I don’€™t think they were entirely pleased with Kevin’€™s trip to Boston, the fanfare that it received. I guess if he wanted to he kind of could’ve flown under the radar, but he was at moments pause taking pictures with people, showing up at Red Sox games, taking a picture with Rajon Rondo, bumping into Rajon Rondo in the stadium. What are the odds that was a coincidence?” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chris Mannix, Kevin Love, Middays with MFB,
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