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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Texas A&M SF Khris Middleton 06.17.12 at 7:15 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

KHRIS MIDDLETON

Position: Small forward

School: Texas A&M

Age: 20

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 215 pounds

Achievements: 2011 All-Big 12 second team, 2011 USBWA All-District VII, 2011 NABC All-District 8 second team

Key 2011-12 stats: 13.2 points, 5.o rebounds, 2.2 assists, 41.5 FG%, 28.8

What he brings: Middleton, who left school a year early, is a dynamic scorer who is still growing into his lanky frame. He’s a great jump shooter, with the ability to catch and shoot as well as shoot off the dribble. The small forward has a soft touch, is a solid passer, has a creative offensive game that sometimes even seems unorthodox, and rarely strays from the team’s offensive system. The 20-year-old is unselfish, seems very coachable and still has solid upside.

Despite being creative offensively, his lanky frame is still a problem when he encounters physical opponents. He struggles at times finishing around the rim and has a hard time fighting double teams. Defensively he’s middle of the pack, with on-ball defense being his biggest defensive weakness.

While his mediocre defense might not fit with Doc Rivers‘ defense-first philosophy, his ability to be coached will be attractive to the Celtics and his scoring ability could be a nice spark off the C’s bench.

Where the Celtics could get him: Middleton is pegged for the second round.

Notes: Middleton had surgery this past season to repair a partially torn meniscus and then re-injured it, forcing him to miss a total of 12 games.

Recent articles:

Columbia (M0.) Daily Tribune: A&M’s Middleton no longer a surprise

Video: Here’s Middleton participating in a pre-draft workout in Chicago.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Khris Middleton,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Duke PF/C Miles Plumlee 06.16.12 at 7:55 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

MILES PLUMLEE

Position: Power forward/center

School: Duke

Age: 23

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 252 pounds

Achievements: 2011 All-ACC Tournament second team

Key 2011-12 stats: 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 61.0 FG%, 20.5 minutes

What he brings: Plumlee is a strong, physical forward who is physically ready for the NBA. The athleticism he has for his size is impressive. He can run the floor well and works extremely hard. He also became a stronger rebounder in his senior season. Defensively, Plumlee improved in his senior campaign as well, showing increased strength combined with his already impressive lateral quickness.

While his size is attractive to NBA scouts, he is very raw offensively and has had a hard time finding any consistency in his game. His numbers are not that impressive, though his senior season was by far his best. He is looked at more as a big body and a project than a player that can come in and have any type of an immediate impact on an NBA game.

Plumlee’s tenacity and supreme work effort is a desired trait by NBA scouts. Doc Rivers would love a guy who can mimic the same intensity Kevin Garnett does. Plumlee, however, needs a lot of coaching in order to become a consistent NBA player.

Where the Celtics could get him: Plumlee is expected to go in the mid-to-late second round, although his strong pre-draft workouts might boost his stock. The C’s would need to be convinced he shows enough promise to be an upgrade over Greg Stiemsma or Ryan Hollins.

Notes: Plumlee teamed with his two younger brothers at Duke: Mason Plumlee, who is a year behind Miles, and Marshall Plumlee, who is a rising sophomore. The two older Plumlees played on Duke’s 2010 national championship team. … Plumlee reportedly recorded a 41-inch vertical leap at a pre-draft workout, placing him in elite company for big men.

Recent articles:

TheACC.com: Miles Plumlee realizes ‘you’ve got to make the most of it’

The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.): Miles Plumlee, Duke’s lone senior, is intent on closing strong

Video: Here’s Plumlee going through a pre-draft workout in Chicago.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Miles Plumlee,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UNC C Tyler Zeller at 4:38 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

TYLER ZELLER

Position: Center

School: North Carolina

Age: 22

Height: 7 feet

Weight: 250 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America second team (AP, Sporting News, NABC, USBWA), 2012 ACC Player of the Year, 2012 Academic All-American, 2011 All-ACC second team, 2011 Academic All-American

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 55.3 FG%, 28.2 minutes

What he brings: Zeller fits the mold of an NBA center and along with his size he has shown solid athleticism and an ability to run the court smoothly. He has shown to have an effective low-post game offensively and has a strong right-handed jump hook that is his go-to move.  Zeller has the speed and leaping ability to be a great pick-and-roll big man. He has also shown to be a good rebounder and solid shot-blocker.

Despite fitting the NBA center mold he isn’t strong enough to translate that size into success yet. He is too easily pushed around down low at times on both sides of the ball. His awareness both offensively and defensively isn’t the greatest. Zeller also is prone to turnovers.

Zeller would be a good fit in a fast-paced offense because of his speed and athleticism. However, in halfcourt sets he bogs down an offense. He needs to increase his offensive awareness as well as add strength.

Where the Celtics could get him: Zeller is considered to be a mid-to-low-end lottery pick, so the Celtics would need to trade up to get him.

Notes: Zeller’s brother, 6-foot-11 Cody Zeller, had an impressive freshman season at Indiana in 2011-12. Another brother, Luke Zeller, played at Notre Dame and now plays in the NBA’s D-League. … Zeller broke his left arm early in his freshman season but returned late in the season to help North Carolina win the 2009 national championship.

Recent articles:

USA Today: Tyler, Cody Zeller carry on basketball family tradition

Charlotte News & Observer: UNC’s Tyler Zeller takes tough loss with faith

New Orleans Times Picayune: Hornets take a good look at draft prospect Tyler Zeller

Video: Here’s a compilation of highlights from Zeller’s senior season.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Tyler Zeller,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Missouri SG Kim English at 1:35 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

KIM ENGLISH

Position: Shooting guard

School: Missouri

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 192 pounds

Achievements: 2010 All-Big 12 third team (coaches, media), 2012 Big 12 tournament Most Outstanding Player, 2010 All-Big 12 third team (coaches, media), 2010 USBWA All-District VI, 2010 USBWA All-District, 2010 USA Today All-Improved team

What he brings: English is good jump shooter who excels in perimeter shots. In his last season at Missouri, English recorded a field goal conversion rate of 52.1 percent, fourth-highest on the team. He also converted 45.9 percent of his 3-point attempts. English averaged 14.5 points per game, second to only teammate Marcus Denmon.

He improved greatly since his junior year, when he shot 36.6 percent both from the field and on 3-point attempts. Still, jump shooting is the best and only aspect of English’s game.

English isn’t very strong or fast, and he doesn’t get to the line very often. In his career he averaged 2.9 free throw attempts per game, converting on 72.7 percent of his tries. He also averaged 1.4 assists per game in his four years as a Tiger.

Where the Celtics could get him: English appears headed for an early-second-round selection, so the C’s have options if they want an outside-shooting threat to replace Ray Allen.

Notes: English almost left college a year earlier — he signed up for the 2011 NBA draft before withdrawing his name. He stayed for his senior year at Missouri and, under new Tigers coach Frank Haith, had his best college season. … The Baltimore native prepped one season (2007-08) at Notre Dame Academy in Fitchburg. … He lists his favorite player as Larry Bird.

Recent articles:

Fox Sports North: When to turn pro is never an easy decision

SB Nation: Missouri’s Kim English impresses at pre-draft workouts in New Jersey

Video: Here’s English talking basketball after a game on ESPN (with some highlights midway through).

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Kim English,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Syracuse SF Kris Joseph at 10:15 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

KRIS JOSEPH

Position: Small forward

School: Syracuse

Age: 23

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 215 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big East first team, 2012 Wooden Award finalist, 2012 Naismith Trophy finalist, 2010 Big East Sixth Man Award

What he brings: Joseph may not be the quickest forward in the draft, but he showed his worth in scoring through a four-year career with Syracuse. When the Orange went 34-3 in 2011-12, the small forward led his team in points. He averaged a team-high 13.4 points per game, had a field goal conversion rate of 42.1 percent and grabbed 4.7 rebounds per game.

Joseph also has the ability to find the free throw line and turn those chances into points. He took a team-high 157 shots from the line, finishing the season with a 74.5 percent conversion rate.

The 496 points he recorded his senior season helped him become a member of Syracuse’s 1,000-point club.

Where the Celtics could get him: Joseph is projected to go late in the first round, so the Celtics should have the option to use one of their two first-round picks on him.

Notes: Growing up in Montreal, Joseph played basketball in his house with his older brother, Maurice (who played two years at Vermont after transferring from Michigan State). Kris moved to Washington, D.C., after his sophomore year of high school to improve his basketball portfolio. … Joseph’s role with Syracuse increased over the course of his career, as he didn’t start many games as a freshman or a sophomore. Starting 37 games as a senior, he came a long way from the sophomore who started just four of 35 games.

Recent articles:

AP: Syracuse looks to senior Kris Joseph to lead

The Washington Post: NCAA Q&A: Kris Joseph, Syracuse

Video: Here’s a mix of Joseph highlights.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Celtics Picks, Kris Joseph
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Weber State PG Damian Lillard at 6:50 am ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

DAMIAN LILLARD

Position: Point guard

School: Weber State

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 185 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-America third team (AP, NABC), 2012 Big Sky Most Valuable Player, 2010 Big Sky Most Valuable Player, 2009 Big Sky Freshman of the Year

Key 2011-12 stats: 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 46.7 FG%, 34.5 minutes

What he brings: Lillard is a phenomenal scorer who attacks the rim consistently and finishes strong He also is a superior shooter from mid-range to deep-3-range and he doesn’t need much room to get off his shot. The 21-year-old likes to push the tempo and creates for his teammates with kickout passes off of his explosive drives. He also is a strong locker room presence.

While his scoring ability is his strength, it is also his crutch. Lillard too often looks for his own shot and isn’t a true point guard because of it. He also has shown a tendency to overshoot when he is in rhythm.

The biggest knock on Lillard is that he didn’t face elite competition playing in the Big Sky. He is considered to be a top-15 pick, but his lack of experience against top-tier teams makes him a risk for any lottery team.

Where the Celtics could get him: The C’s would need to trade up to acquire Lillard, which is unlikely because they are set at point guard with Rajon Rondo.

Notes: Lillard played the first nine games of the 2010-11 season but then suffered a foot injury that forced him out for the rest of the season.

Recent articles:

Tough-minded Lillard leaps from mid-major to potential top-10 pick

Weber State boasts the nation’s top scorer in Lillard

Video: Here are highlights of Lillard’s 2011-12 season.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Damian Lillard,
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Mississippi State PF/C Arnett Moultrie 06.15.12 at 7:35 pm ET
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As part of WEEI.com’s coverage of the 2012 NBA draft, we are profiling all players considered likely candidates to be drafted June 28. The Celtics own three picks: 21, 22 (from the Thunder in the Kendrick Perkins trade) and 51.

ARNETT MOULTRIE

Position: Power forward/center

School: Mississippi State

Age: 21

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 233 pounds

Achievements: 2012 All-Big Ten honorable mention

Key 2011-12 stats: 16.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 55 FG%, 78 FT%

What he brings: Moultrie’€™s most impressive feature is his jumping ability. After a recent pre-draft workout, ESPN’€™s Chad Ford wrote Moultrie ‘€œgets off the floor as fast as any big man I’ve seen this year, and during several drills he was getting his head above the rim.’€

On the offensive end, Moultrie, who transferred to Mississippi State after his sophomore year at UTEP, is at his best working off the ball on cuts to the basket for alley oops and offensive rebounds. He is far less effective with his back to the basket but is an impressive perimeter shooter and has made tremendous strides in his free throw shooting, draining 78 percent from the line last season, compared to 65 percent as a sophomore and 54 percent as a freshman.

Moultrie is a capable defender both in the paint and on the perimeter but needs to get stronger and improve his shot-blocking to be effective at the next level.

His rebounding prowess probably remains Moultrie’s strongest selling point as he, not Anthony Davis, led the SEC in rebounds last season.

Where the Celtics could get him: Moultrie is projected to be a mid-first-round pick, so the C’s likely would need to move up to get in position to select him.

Notes: Moultrie recently told Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News he thinks the Pistons (who own the ninth overall pick) would be the best landing place for him. “I know they need a big, someone to play alongside Greg Monroe,” Moultrie said. “He had a pretty good year. I think it’s a perfect fit. He’s more of a skill guy. I can block shots, rebound, run the floor.”

Recent articles:

The Detroit News: Mississippi St. forward Arnett Moultrie thinks he’s perfect fit for Pistons

Slam Online: NBA Pre-Draft Tour: Arnett Moultrie

Video: Here’s a highlight mix of Moultrie.

Read More: 2012 NBA Draft, 2012 NBA Draft's Potential Celtics, Arnett Moultrie,
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