|Celtics go international again at No. 23 by selecting Croatian center Ante Zizic||06.23.16 at 10:19 pm ET|
Another pick, another foreigner for the Celtics.
Seven picks after selecting French big man Guerschon Yabusele with the 16th overall pick, the Celtics tabbed Croatian center Ante Zizic at No. 23.
Zizic, 19, averaged 14.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game with Cibona overseas. He could end up being another draft-and-stash player for the C’s, continuing his development in Europe. He is considered a banger inside who possesses legitimate NBA toughness.
No idea if this is an joke account, but it sounds plausible that former Celtics big man Dino Radja would be on board with this pick.
Ante Zizic! Another son of Croatia will soon playing for the Celtic. Dino weeps tears of happy!
— Dino Radja (@DinoRadja40) June 24, 2016
|Jaylen Brown learned first-hand about NBA intensity during recent 1-on-1 game with Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler||at 9:48 pm ET|
Jaylen Brown learned about NBA intensity from a name Celtics fans lusted after — Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler.
Because Brown and Butler share a trainer, they worked out together before the draft. A workout turned into a game one of one-on-one. They planned to play three.
“We went tooth and nail at it. … I guess he thought it would be easy, and then somebody won the first game and then he wanted to keep going,” Brown told reporters in New York. “And so we kept going after that, then he won the second, then he won the third, then I won the fourth, and we ended up playing all the way to 21.”
Brown wouldn’t reveal who won, but he’ll have a chance to renew acquaintances with Butler and the rest of the NBA’s most versatile swingmen after being selected third overall by the Celtics in Thursday’s NBA draft.
“Boston is a great city full of culture, full of life, education, things that mean a lot to me,” Brown said. “I’m super excited. I cannot wait to get there and can’t wait to get everything started, can’t wait for the season to start, and I’m happy to be a part of the family.”
After taking Jaylen Brown with the third overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Celtics used the 16th pick on Guerschon Yabusele, a relatively unknown 20-year old prospect from France. Yabusele is a 6-foot-8 forward who last played for Rouen Métropole Basket in the French A division. With his outside shooting ability and athleticism, Yabusele projects to be a small-ball four.
In most mock drafts, Yabusele was not projected to be selected until the second round. The Celtics already have a relatively full roster, and according to Yahoo Sports, the team will likely stash Yabusele in France as he continues to develop. Rouen was relegated to the French B division, so there is a chance that Yabusele will use this as an opportunity to make the jump to the NBA. The Celtics still have the 23rd pick in the first round, as well as five second-round picks.
Yabusele, 20, averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds last year. He’s considered a more advanced offensive player than defender, with NBA 3-point range and the ability to finish at the rim.
“Nobody was expecting,” Yabusele said when asked if he thought he’d be picked so high. “I see them coming close to me, see my name. So I was really surprised to be in here, but I was so happy.”
As for remaining in Europe for a year or two, Yabusele sounded open to the possibility.
“It’s not a problem for me,” he said. “Even if I got to go one year, two years in Europe, in another country and play, I’ll go. I just want to play in the NBA and try to be better, so it’s great.”
After months of speculation, the Celtics finally have an answer: Jaylen Brown.
The C’s selected the Cal forward with the third pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night after being unable to move the pick for a satisfactory return of veteran players.
Though the C’s were rumored to be in talks with the Bulls for Jimmy Butler and the Sixers for Nerlens Noel and a package of draft picks, they elected to keep the pick and used it on Brown, one of the best pure athletes in the draft.
Brown is expected to step right in and play NBA defense. His offensive game remains a work in progress, though he’s an excellent finisher at the rim. His jumper needs development, but at 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, he has the potential to wreak havoc on the perimeter as a defender.
“I honestly had no idea,” Brown told ESPN after being selected. “I was sweating bullets over there, so nervous. I’m glad I ended up where I am.”
Brown averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds and will represent himself in negotiations, with help from Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who advised Brown thusly:
“Be a kid, by yourself, never compromise your values,” Brown told ESPN. “Always remember who you are and where you came from.”
According to a report from Racine (Wisconsin) Journal-Times columnist Gery Woelfel, the Celtics and Bucks are discussing a deal that would send the Nos. 16 and 23 picks, plus a player, to Milwaukee in return for shooting guard Khris Middleton and big man Greg Monroe.
The deal frankly makes zero sense from a Bucks perspective, since Middleton, 24, is a 6-foot-8 swingman who averaged a career-high 18.2 points a game last year and is also a lifetime .400 3-point shooter. Middleton alone is worth at least the No. 3 pick in the draft from a Bucks perspective.
Monroe, meanwhile, is entering the second year of a three-year, $50 million max deal. The 6-foot-11 center isn’t really a fit for the Celtics roster, because he’s a pure post player who averaged 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds last year.
But it’s silly season as far as rumors go, so throw this one on the pile.
|Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers for draft picks, increasing likelihood they’ll be terrible again next year||at 4:48 pm ET|
The Nets just keep on helping the Celtics.
On Thursday, Brooklyn traded forward Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft and a protected second-rounder.
This helps the Celtics because it removes one of the few talented players from Brooklyn’s roster and replaces him with a rookie. The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round picks in 2017 and 2018, and this trade increases the chances that those picks will be high again.
Young, 28, averaged 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds last year and is signed through 2018, with a player option for 2019.
The trade does give Brooklyn roughly $50 million in cap space, but without a roster to entice a legitimate star player.
|Celtics Choice: C’s reportedly narrow No. 3 pick to Providence point guard Kris Dunn or Cal forward Jaylen Brown||at 11:56 am ET|
And down the stretch they come . . .
With the NBA draft set for Thursday night and the Celtics still unable to move the No. 3 pick, focus has narrowed on whom they might select at that spot, with draft insiders focusing on two names — Providence College point guard Kris Dunn and Cal forward Jaylen Brown.
ESPN’s Andy Katz reported on Twitter that the Celtics are leaning towards Dunn, a better, more explosive version of Marcus Smart. Katz’s colleague, Jeff Goodman, said on the network that he hears the Celtics will either take Dunn or Brown, an athletic wing player.
Both Dunn and Brown are considered NBA-caliber athletes, with Brown more advanced defensively and Dunn a more gifted offensive player.
With that in mind, we present our final Celtics Choice: Kris Dunn vs. Jaylen Brown.
The case for Dunn
See if this sounds familiar: the Providence guard is powerfully built and physically gifted for his position, with the ability to defend multiple positions and a toughness NBA GMs like Danny Ainge love. If that sounds like Smart, it’s because Dunn shares many characteristics with the Celtics guard. Where he separates, however, is on the offensive side of the ball. Dunn is a better ball handler, passer, and scorer than Smart. At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and with a 6-9 wingspan, Dunn possesses tremendous defensive instincts and court vision. He’s a terror in the open court and can finish at the rim authoritatively with either hand. He’s a true playmaking point guard who can also score (37.2 percent on 3-pointers). Just call him Smart 2.0.
The case against Dunn
In the delicate ecosystem of an NBA locker room, one malcontent can lead to disaster, and it’s fair to question Dunn’s fit when his agents have suggested he won’t play for a team — including the Celtics — with an established point guard. There are also reports that he “desperately” wants to play for the Sixers. He can’t stop anyone from drafting him, but his health could be an issue because Dunn required two shoulder surgeries during his PC career. On the court, there’s also the question of Dunn’s stroke — his inconsistent jumper includes a lot of moving parts — and his occasionally sloppy and reckless ball-handling.
The case for Brown
Brown is all about projection. He’s a raw athlete with explosive leaping ability, but an unpolished offensive game. The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder could excel in one of Brad Stevens’ small-ball lineups as an undersized but athletic power forward who creates matchup problems on both ends while defending multiple positions. He’s got Draymond Green potential as a versatile athlete wreaking havoc at both ends, especially on defense. He’s a tremendous finisher on the break and at the rim, and a good rebounder for his size. He averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds a game as a freshman.
The case against Brown
His offense is limited. He shot just .294 on 3-pointers and .654 on free throws. He also disappeared down the stretch, shooting a combined 5-for-29 in his conference tournament and NCAA tourney games. Cal was a one-and-done against Hawaii in the Big Dance, and Brown finished his career with just four points and two rebounds while committing seven turnovers. He’s got a little bit of Jared Sullinger to his offensive game in that he’ll pound the ball and take contested jumpers. If his offensive game fails to develop, it will severely limit his upside as an NBA player.
This is a tossup. Dunn is the more polished player, but Brown the better athlete with the higher upside. Dunn is the safer pick, even if he’d require moving some parts off the roster. But Brown should be an impact wing defender, and if his offensive game develops, those players are at a premium. We’ll take Brown.
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