|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Cincinnati F Yancy Gates||06.12.12 at 5:21 am ET|
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.
Position: Power forward/center
Weight: 287 pounds
Achievements: Only player in school history to lead team in rebounding for four consecutive seasons, Big East All-Tournament team (2012), Big East All-Rookie team (2009)
Key 2011-12 stats: 12.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 32.0 minutes
What he brings: Gates is a bruiser down low, and he proved to be one of the better rebounders in the Big East and the country. He noticeably improved his offensive rebounding ability, as he grabbed 3.2 per game last season. His combination of strength, size and good hands make him a valuable asset underneath the basket.
Gates possesses a solid post presence and has good footwork and an array of moves for a big man, but he’ll need to improve his shooting percentage at the next level. Offensively, Gates is a one-dimensional player who plays mostly under the basket. He only made 31 percent of his jump shots this season, according to Synergy, and he’ll have to work on jump shooting mechanics if he wants to develop into a capable shooter in the NBA.
Defensively, Gates is mobile and is able to deny his man and force him into difficult shots. For his size, he does a good job of fronting and contesting shots, which is clear from the fact that his foul rate improved each season at Cincinnati.
Gates’ rebounding ability would be a welcome sight for a Celtics team that ranked last in the NBA in that category in 2011-12. The C’s frontcourt was thin all season long, and with Kevin Garnett approaching the end of his career, a rebounding big man of Gates’ caliber will be sorely needed in the years to come.
Where the Celtics could get him: Gates is considered a second-round possibility who might not get drafted at all.
Notes: The character of Gates will be an area that will be heavily criticized leading up to the draft. In December, he was suspended six games for throwing punches in a bench-clearing brawl against rival Xavier, and he also was suspended in 2011 for mouthing off to an assistant during practice. In both instances, Gates returned and delivered strong late-season performances for the Bearcats, but his character undoubtedly will be monitored at the next level.
Video: Here’s a highlight reel of Gates during his first two seasons at Cincinnati.
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