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NBA mock draft: Will Celtics trade out of first round? 06.22.11 at 6:02 pm ET
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The 2010-11 NBA season is over. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks denied LeBron James a ring as Dallas ousted Miami in six games. Now everyone (excluding DeShawn Stevenson) appears focused on the draft.

Brazilian prospect Lucas Nogueira withdrew from the draft. Nogueira was slated to be picked by Portland at No. 21 in our first mock. No other high-profile players have pulled out. The pre-draft workouts have helped teams get a closer look at the prospects, but very few players who are expected to go in the draft lottery (first 14 picks) have played against other lottery-caliber players.

The best example of this has been the elite point guards. Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette have been scheduling and rescheduling workouts for various teams as their agents don’€™t want any of them to hurt their stock. For the same reason, sure-fire No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving doesn’€™t even need to work out for teams.

The Blazers appear eager to trade up in the first round (possibly for Walker), while the Celtics are believed to be looking to trade out of the first round. All that and more in our NBA mock draft 2.0.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving, Duke, Fr., PG, 6-2, 180

Trade rumors and speculations have been swirling about every pick except this one. The Cavaliers reportedly are interested in acquiring the No. 2 overall pick to draft Derrick Williams. Regardless, expect Cleveland to take Irving here and build its future around him.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves

Derrick Williams, Arizona, So., SF/PF, 6-9, 241

The question that should be asked regarding the No. 2 overall pick is not who will be picked with it, but rather who will take Williams, the top forward in the class. Minnesota already has an overloaded frontcourt and general manager David Kahn is no stranger to draft-day deals. However, assistant general manager Tony Rozone indicated the Wolves may keep the pick. This may be due in part to Ricky Rubio‘€™s decision to come over from Spain.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Richmond F Justin Harper 06.17.11 at 7:49 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Richmond F Justin Harper 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).

Justin Harper

Position: Forward

School: Richmond

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 225 pounds

Stats: 17.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg, 44.8 3pt%

What he brings: Harper is that valuable breed of forward that provides size inside and shooting range on the perimeter. The senior’s stats may have been a bit inflated because Richmond plays in the Atlantic 10, but advanced statistics ranks him as one of the most efficient scorers in the nation, near the likes of Derrick Williams and Kyrie Irving. With Harper’s fluid movement and ability to get inside, some draft experts say he is the closest thing college basketball has seen to Kevin Durant since the former Texas star left for the NBA. While that assessment probably is a stretch, Harper’s size will allow him to shoot over most defenders, even at the next level.

Still, some critics say Harper hasn’t taken full advantage of his potential. While seven rebounds a game is a solid count, scouts expect a few more blocks from a player of Harper’s size and athleticism. He’s also been accused of “falling in love” with his jump shot, and he will have to show more toughness in the paint to compete in the pros. At the very least, Harper could have success in the NBA running a pick-and-pop and knocking down 18-foot jumpers, but he’ll need to develop an inside game to break into a consistent starting role.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round

What they’re saying: ‘€œI think when teams get to see how well he moves, how well he dribbles, just how effortless his shooting is, it’s really going to impress people. There aren’t many guys his size ‘€” it’s not even close ‘€” that are that fluid. It’s a very rare for a player to have all of those abilities. … He’s clearly one of the best shooters in the country, and again, it’s so unique given his size.’€ ‘€” Richmond coach Chris Mooney

Notes: Harper led the Spiders to an A-10 title and Sweet 16 berth in the 2011 NCAA tournament after upsetting fifth-seeded Vanderbilt in the second round. He scored 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting in Richmond’s season-ending, 20-point loss to top-seeded Kansas. Harper’s father, Ollie, scored 1,300 career points for Niagara in the 1970s and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.


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