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Report: Celtics trading up for USC’s Nikola Vucevic? 06.22.11 at 1:14 pm ET
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When we profiled University of Southern California center Nikola Vucevic as a potential Celtics NBA draft target two weeks ago, the 7-foot European was expected to be around when Danny Ainge and company picked at No. 25. Now, if the C’s want Vucevic, they may have to move up to select him, and one report indicated they may be willing to do just that.

Here’s the relevant nugget of the story from the Daily News in Los Angeles, where Vucevic played three seasons under USC head coach Kevin O’Neill:

NBA personnel said this week Vucevic will probably be drafted somewhere between the No. 9 and No. 17 picks, which makes it seem silly there were doubts he would turn pro a few months ago.

“He’s moved up drastically during his workouts,” said an NBA general manager who did not wish to be identified. “A lot of teams like him now.”

The Knicks are believed to be highly interested, along with the Houston Rockets. The Boston Celtics are even interested in trading up in order to select Vucevic, according to sources.

In Chad Ford’s latest mock draft on ESPN.com, Vucevic is slotted to go to the Bobcats with the 19th pick, and the Celtics are projected to select Jeremy Tyler at No. 25. Ford’s analysis:

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Jeremy Tyler, NBA Draft
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: BYU G Jimmer Fredette 06.21.11 at 11:54 am ET
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WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Jimmer Fredette

Position: Point Guard

Team: BYU

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 195 pounds

Stats: 28.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.4 rpg

What he brings: Holed up in his hideout with no Internet connection before he got shot in the face, even Osama bin Laden had probably heard of Fredette. When your first name is entered into Urban Dictionary as a verb (Jimmered: “to be repeatedly scored upon with a variety of off-balance 3-point shots, off-balance drives and amazing long shots”), you know you’ve arrived.

If Matt Christopher wrote a book about Jimmer, it’d be called “The Kid With Unlimited Range.” College basketball’s leading scorer, Fredette could put up points from anywhere on the floor — contested or uncontested, from mid-range to long-range, off the dribble or off screens, off-balance in the lane or squared up at the free-throw line. Didn’t matter, as evidenced by his 59.4 percent true shooting percentage despite defenses designed to stop him.

There’s no questioning his shooting ability, but there are serious doubts about how well Fredette’s game will translate to the next level. Despite a lightning-quick release and impressive passing ability, he’s undersized and unathletic (by NBA standards), so legitimate concerns exist about Fredette’s ability to get open looks on the perimeter and score at the rim.

And then there’s the issue of Fredette’s defense. Considering he wasn’t a great — or even good — defender at the collegiate level, it’s hard to imagine him stopping many guys in the association. How far Fredette falls in the first round will indicate the number of naysayers about his NBA potential, but at some point that shooting stroke will be too hard for any team looking for scoring punch off the bench to ignore.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round.

What they’re saying: “Jimmer is really a fun guy to watch. Jimmer’€™s a blast to watch. Jimmer is a terrific offensive player. He shoots deep. He scores in a variety of ways. He’€™s a really fun guy to watch play, because he’€™s a throwback. I don’€™t know who to compare him to. I haven’€™t really seen a player like Jimmer.” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge

Notes: Most NBA mock drafts have Fredette slotted to go to the Suns at No. 13, so it’s unlikely he could fall all the way to the Celtics at No. 25. … If he should drop a la Brady Quinn, there are the obvious BYU ties between Fredette and Ainge, as the former surpassed the latter’s school scoring record. … A fellow USA Basketball participant, Kevin Durant once tweeted: “Jimmer Fredette is the best scorer in the world.” … This profile of Fredette by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix — in which Jimmer compares himself to Steve Nash and Deron Williams — is probably the best out there.

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Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Boston Celtics, BYU, Danny Ainge
Report: Josh Smith eyes Celtics as trade destination at 9:00 am ET
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It’s splitsville for the Hawks and forward Josh Smith, or so Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski suggested on Tuesday, but could the 2010 NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection find happiness in Boston?

According to Wojnarowski, both Smith and his hometown Hawks may actually prefer the Celtics as a potential suitor for the 2005 slam dunk champ’s services …

Smith hasn’€™t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him. …

Hawks GM Rick Sund has long coveted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — two aging Celtics entering the final years of contracts — but Celtics GM Danny Ainge has yet to show an inclination to break up his core for next season.

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Read More: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: San Diego State F Malcolm Thomas at 7:53 am ET
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WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Malcolm Thomas

Position: Forward

School: San Diego State

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 220 pounds

Stats: 11.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2 bpg

What he brings: At 220 pounds, Thomas is a little scrawny to be a pure power forward. Glen Davis is as tall as Thomas but outweighs him by nearly 80 pounds. Even the taller Kevin Garnett has a 40-pound advantage. But Thomas uses his lighter body and long arms to block shots with incredible effectiveness. His mobility makes him a very active presence in the paint, as he’s able to shoot and pass from the post, maneuver around defenders to the basket and rebound. He has the shooting form to develop a complementary jump shot, and on defense he can box out and move laterally.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’€™re saying: “He’s long enough to play the 4. He can play in the high-post area, too. He can really pass it up there. He can put it on the floor from up there.” ‘€” Former San Diego State (now UNLV) assistant coach Justin Hutson

Notes: Thomas finished his senior year ranked second in rebounding, second in blocked shots, second in offensive rebounding, fourth in defensive rebounding and 16th in scoring in the Mountain West Conference.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Maryland F Jordan Williams 06.18.11 at 10:30 am ET
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WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Jordan Williams

Position: Forward

School: Maryland

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 247 pounds

Stats: 16.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg

What he brings: Williams is a hustle player with a wide frame. The Torrington, Conn., native is an exceptional rebounder, finishes well in transition, and always is the first on the floor for a loose ball.

His jumper needs work, but he has a good hands and a soft touch down low. If he can improve his conditioning, as well as his stroke, Williams could become an immediate contributor next season, especially if Glen Davis takes his talents elsewhere.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round

What they’re saying: ‘€œIn Jordan’€™s situation, I believe he needs another year. … There’€™s still things to do in terms of a jump shot, in terms of getting better athletically before you hit that next level. Because we all watch the NBA, and you see who’€™s playing out there. I mean, those guys are just some of the greatest athletes in the world.’€  ‘€” Recently retired Maryland coach Gary Williams

Notes: Williams adjusted his diet after his sophomore year. He used to eat a McDonald’s McGriddle every day before class, according to The Washington Post.

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Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Boston Celtics, Gary Williams, Jordan Williams
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Providence SG Marshon Brooks 06.14.11 at 9:54 am ET
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WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Marshon Brooks

Position: Shooting Guard

Team: Providence

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 195 pounds

Stats: 24.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.5 apg

What he brings: Any comparison to Kobe Bryant — good or bad — will grab the attention of scouts from every NBA team. And the wiry Brooks has been linked to both sides of Bryant.

An elite scorer who can create his own shot, as evidenced by his 24.6 points per game (second only to BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in the country), the Atlanta native also attempted 17.8 shots a game. Not only has Brooks’ shot selection been questioned, but he’s also been equated to a black hole for the basketball (98 turnovers vs. 80 assists).

Still, his production and efficiency (48.3 FG%, 34.0 3PT FG%, 77.2 FT%) as a senior are undeniable, and the struggling Friars (15-17) required Brooks to shoot in order to contend in the Big East. Just take a look at the box score from Providence’s 94-93 loss to Notre Dame. He scored 52 points on 20-of-28 shooting.

Defensively, Brooks hasn’t played much man-to-man in the Providence system, but his ridiculous 7-foot-1 wingspan along with his per-game rebounding (7.0), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.2) numbers from the two-guard position offer evidence of his potential on that end.

Brooks prefers comparisons to Jamal Crawford over Bryant, and that’s probably a better best-case scenario for him. Considering the Celtics are expected to be among the rumored destinations for the Hawks free agent and 2010 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Brooks offers a cheaper alternative if the Celtics decide to go that route.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: ‘€œI was very, very surprised. He’€™s an untamed talent. His size and ability to make shots will get him drafted. He’€™s crafty in his ability to create space for his game and with the right team he can help somebody in the league.’€ Attack Athletics (Chicago) trainer Mike Procopio, a transplanted Boston native whose current and former clients included Kobe BryantDwyane WadePaul Pierce and Kevin Durant among others

Notes: I’m always skeptical of guys in any sport whose stock rises — nay, soars — at draft combines, and Brooks certainly falls into that category, climbing all the way to No. 19 on ESPN’s latest Top 100 Draft Prospects chart. … I’m also wary of 22-year-old guys who blossomed late in college (14.2 points per game as a junior), and then never returned to school after Spring Break of his senior year despite needing only two classes to graduate. … Just think of the nickname possibility if the Celtics do draft Brooks: The Green Marshon!

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Read More: 2011 NBA Draft, Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Marshon Brooks
NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Wisconsin F Jon Leuer 06.13.11 at 11:56 am ET
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WEEI.com continues to provide daily insight and analysis on the 2011 NBA draft. This is one in a series of profiles of players who might be available for the Celtics to select with one of their two picks (25th and 55th overall).

Jon Leuer

Position: Forward

School: Wisconsin

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 228 pounds

Stats: 18.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg

What he brings: Leuer possesses a potent inside-outside game. With a growing arsenal of post moves and a high basketball IQ, he rarely forces bad shots. He lacks the size and strength to get good position on the block at the NBA level but has developed a respectable perimeter shot.

Leuer also is a capable ball-handler. He may not be able to beat his defender to the rim on a consistent basis, but he’s more than capable of getting his man going backward and taking the pull-up jumper. Leuer also has range that extends beyond the 3-point line.

His slender build and mediocre athleticism also presents a defensive liability. Leuer needs to become more explosive to hold his own against the elite forwards in the league and has shown improvement in his pro workouts, according to scouts.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: “He is an extraordinarily skilled guy for a guy his size, particularly on the perimeter. He handles it, goes to the basket strong and certainly shoots it with range. … This is a guy who has shown time and time again he knows how to score. And he knows also how to be able to play some defense on the perimeter despite being 6-10. … I think he’s got some skill and I think he is worth a strong look in the first round.”  ‘€” College analyst Len Elmore

Notes: Leuer started playing basketball in high school as a point guard, according to the Wisconsin athletics website. He has a workout scheduled with the Celtics on June 1.

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