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NBA draft prospect profile: Michigan State SG Denzel Valentine 06.22.16 at 2:44 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.

DENZEL VALENTINE

Position: Shooting guard

School: Michigan State

Age: 22 (turns 23 on Nov. 16)

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 210 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists

Scouting report: Valentine was a do-it-all type of player his senior year under Spartans coach Tom Izzo, often flirting with triple-doubles and taking over games. His best attribute is his passing, making extraordinary passes and keeping his offense running smoothly. He has a tremendous basketball IQ, which makes up for his lack of size and length. Projected to go in the middle or latter part of the first round selection, Valentine is a superb shooter and hustles on the glass. He really plays more like a point forward then anything else. NBA teams will also love his leadership abilities on the court.

Valentine participated in the NBA draft combine, but it was discovered that the guard had a rather significant knee issue. However, Valentine claims that his right knee is not a problem at all.

“I’ve only missed four games in my career,” Valentine told mlive.com last month. “If they want to hold that against me, that’s on them. All I can do is control what I can control. I’m healthy right now, I have workouts, I’ve been going about my business no problems.”

Despite his success last season, many don’t expect Valentine to flourish in the NBA due to his lack of physical abilities. He’s not very athletic or explosive, and he was able to get by in college, but likely will need to improve in order to generate open looks at the professional level. Valentine also is a liability on defense, as he’s too slow and not long enough to consistently stay in front of his man. He’ll also turn 23 in November, meaning his potential might be completely tapped out. Valentine is one of the most difficult prospects to figure out heading into the draft.

Notes: A consensus All-American and the 2015-16 Big Ten Player of the Year, Valentine is the only college basketball player in the last 30 years to average over 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game. … His father, Carlton, was a four-year letterwinner at Michigan State in the ’80s, after starring at the same high school Denzel attended. Valentine’s brother Drew played basketball at Oakland University in Michigan.

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Mlive.com: Denzel Valentine says he feels healthy as NBA teams ask about his knee

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Report: Jazz forward Gordon Hayward wants out of Utah, Celtics making push to acquire him 06.22.16 at 1:06 pm ET
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Gordon Hayward became a household name under the tutelage of Brad Stevens at Butler. Could they be reunited in the NBA?

According to one report from Brian Geltzeiler of HoopsCritic.com and Sirius radio, Hayward wants out of Utah, and the Celtics are trying to figure out a way to get him:

The 6-foot-8 Hayward has improved over his five NBA seasons, averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game last season. He can opt out of his contract after next season, however, which makes him a risk to leave in free agency after just one season in Boston.

Stevens, who now coaches the Celtics, joined forces with Hayward to lead Butler within a rimmed-out halfcourt shot of defeating Duke in the 2010 NCAA title game.

Read More: Celtics rumors, Gordon Hayward, NBA Draft, NBA trade rumors
NBA draft prospect profile: California SF Jaylen Brown 06.22.16 at 11:41 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.

JAYLEN BROWN

Position: Small forward

School: California

Age: 19 (turns 20 on Oct. 24)

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 223 pounds

Wingspan: 7-foot-0

Key 2015-16 stats: 14.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists

Scouting report: The best thing Brown has going for him is his physicality, as NBAdraft.net writes that the small forward “has been blessed with a man’s body at a very young age.” He has the size and quickness to cover the opposing team’s best scorer, and the strength to muscle his way into the paint. It’s possible that Brown has one of the highest ceilings in this draft, and he’s expected to go in the lottery, as high as No. 3.

“For me, it’s about being in the right situation,” Brown said. “I want to be on the right team, where I can show what I’m capable of.”

Despite all the physical advantages that Brown has, there is still much for him to improve upon. He did most of his scoring either in transition or on spot-up opportunities. Brown will have to work on creating his own looks, which means improving his ball handling. He committed over three turnovers per contest with Cal last season. If Brown can work on his off-hand dribbling and stop trying to do too much on the floor, he should develop into a top offensive threat in a few years.

Notes: Brown was awarded Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was given a spot on the All-Pac 12 first team. He led the Pac-12 in usage percentage (31.4 percent) and helped Cal earn a 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Related articles:

SB Nation: Jaylen Brown NBA draft watch: Could he be the right fit for Brad Stevens?

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Report: C’s stymied in attempt to deal No. 3 overall pick for established vet 06.22.16 at 9:37 am ET
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The Celtics’ attempts to deal the No. 3 overall pick as part of a trade that would include bringing an established veteran to Boston has apparently been rebuffed, according to ESPN.

Per Marc Stein, the C’s have been offering the third pick in the draft to a variety of teams, with the Bulls (Jimmy Butler), Jazz (Gordon Hayward) and Bucks (Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton) being he four primary targets. But to this point in the process, no one has expressed an interest in making that deal with Boston.

According to the same story, the Sixers have been working on the C’s to agree to a deal that would see Boston give up the No. 3 pick in a trade that would have Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel come to the Celtics. For more Celtics news, check out weei.com/celtics.

NBA draft prospect profile: Russia C Andrey Desyatnikov 06.22.16 at 8:51 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.

ANDREY DESYATNIKOV

Position: Center

Country: Russia (Zenit St. Petersburg)

Age: 22

Height: 7-foot-3

Weight: 230 pounds

Wingspan: n/a

Key 2015-16 stats: 7.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 0.3 assists

Scouting report: A projected late second-round pick, Desyatnikov is a player more noticeable for his height than anything else. He has good footwork and soft hands, helping him score with ease on smaller defenders in the post. He is an average rebounder, which is somewhat disappointing considering his height. He is a horrid free throw shooter, and it seems he may never be a mid-range player. He does have some upside on defense, thanks to his mobility and ridiculous length. However, he can get pushed around by bigger, stronger opponents at times. Desyatnikov will need to increase his aggressiveness while limiting his foul trouble. At 22 years old, he may not have much potential left, but at 7-foot-3, Desyatnikov likely will hear his name called on the night of the draft. Of course, he will need time to carve out his role in the league.

Notes: Desyatnikov almost entered his name in the 2015 draft before withdrawing. … He helped his team to a 41-15 record and was a member of the Russian adidas Nations team in 2013.

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Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, andrey desyatnikov,
NBA draft prospect profile: Miami SG Sheldon McClellan 06.21.16 at 8:12 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.

SHELDON MCCLELLAN

Position: Shooting guard

School: Miami

Age: 23 (turns 24 on Dec. 21)

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 198 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-7

Key 2015-16 stats: 16.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 40.6 3-point percentage

Scouting report: McClellan is your typical athletic guard who could find success in the “3-and-D” role in the NBA. His size isn’t anything special, but he has above-average explosiveness and quickness that he uses to burn his defenders. A projected late second-round pick, McClellan also greatly improved his perimeter shooting during his four collegiate years, using a quick release and impressive range to get open looks. Even when his shots are contested, he keeps his composure and still can knock it down. His ability to hit shots both off the dribble and off screens gives him plenty of opportunities to get his points.

Originally an alternate for the NBA draft combine in May, McClellan was able to attend after Kansas guard Wayne Selden pulled out due to injury. The Miami product believed at the time that his desire to prove people wrong would help his draft stock.

“If you want to be in the NBA and you want to have a chance to be drafted, you have to work hard and that’s what I’m doing,” McClellan told the Sun Sentinel. “I’m kind of a self-motivated guy just because I love the game of basketball, but when I hear [what critics have said] it makes me want to jump three inches higher to prove them wrong and prove myself right. There’s a lot of added motivation for me right now.”

A big question mark for McClellan is his defensive game. His focus and intensity tends to waver when defending, as he often loses this intensity when he’s having an off shooting night. He doesn’t always hustle to stay on his man, and when things aren’t going his way, he’s been accused of sporting a poor attitude that’s not conducive to winning. On offense, McClellan will get tunnel vision while driving, only looking to make plays for himself, yet will shy away from contact down low. He has to work on his playmaking skill, as well as his drive on the defensive end, if he wishes to find a suitable NBA team.

Notes: McClellan made All-ACC second team and led the Hurricanes to a Sweet 16 berth in March. … He transferred to Miami from Texas before his junior season. He played 141 collegiate games in his career.

Related articles:

Sun Sentinel: Ex-UM star Sheldon McClellan looks to silence critics at NBA draft combine

The Wichita Eagle: Miami’s Sheldon McClellan thrives after transfer from Texas

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NBA draft prospect profile: Serbia SG Timothe Luwawu 06.21.16 at 5:27 pm ET
By   |  Filed under General  |  Comments Off on NBA draft prospect profile: Serbia SG Timothe Luwawu

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.

TIMOTHE LUWAWU

Position: Shooting guard

Country: Serbia (Mega Leks)

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 205 pounds

Wingspan: 6-foot-11

Key 2015-16 stats: 14.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists

Scouting report: Luwawu enters this year’s draft as one of the more athletic guards available. NBAdraft.net writes that his athleticism and physical attributes give him “good speed and solid leaping ability, combined with a long wingspan.” Complement that with his improved outside scoring and his ability to draw contact on drives, and Luwawu should be an efficient offensive player in the NBA almost immediately. Luwawu, projected to go toward the back end of the lottery or later in the first round, also uses his quick feet and physical length well on defense, as he is able to guard either the opposing team’s point guard or small forward.

“I improved everywhere this season,” Luwawu told DraftExpress.com. “Passing, shooting, going to the basket with contact, without contact, defense also. I improved everywhere, and I think everybody sees it.”

However, Luwawu’s driving ability could be improved by building his upper body strength. He may often draw fouls, but Luwawu needs to keep from getting bumped off course on his drives. Also hurting his driving ability is his 69.percent shooting from the charity stripe. Perhaps the most concerning weakness of Luwawu’s is his ball handling. He averaged almost three turnovers per game this season, and must work on dribbling with his off-hand in order to better protect the rock.

Notes: Luwawu was named to the All-ABA team for the 2016 season and helped Mega Leks win the Serbian Cup. He finished second on the team in points (14.6) and 3-point field goal percentage (37.2).

Related articles:

SB Nation: Timothe Luwawu is the type of wing player every team wants in the 2016 NBA draft

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SB Nation: Timothe Luwawu, international man of mystery

Hardwood paroxysm: Timothe Luwawu scouting report: March 2016

Read More: 2016 NBA draft, 2016 potential celtics, Timothe Luwawu,
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