|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Buffalo PF Mitchell Watt||06.14.12 at 5:47 pm 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
Weight: 225 pounds
Achievements: 2012 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, 2012 All-MAC first team
Key 2011-12 stats: 16.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 blocks
What he brings: Watt is a big-time shot blocker who earned the nickname ‘SWatt’ during his junior season at Buffalo. For his college career, he averaged 1.5 blocks per game and he averaged 2.2 blocks over his final two years. For his big size, Watt is very mobile, is explosive and possesses a range from having an array of low-post moves to a mid-range jumper. In fact, much of Buffalo’s offense last year centered around Watt and his back-to-the-basket, low-post game.
While Watt has a skilled offensive game, he could improve his rebounding, which may be a reason he isn’t projected to be picked higher than he is. He averaged only 7.5 rebounds per game against a considerably weak MAC and he’ll need to improve in that area if he wants to see time as a role-playing NBA big man.
Watt displays potential to mold into a good defensive player as well. While he did block a lot of shots, it wasn’t against strong competition. For the most part he’s very raw athletically. Watt is extremely active — on both ends of the floor — and has the right size and tools to develop into a good NBA defender under coaching. Watt overall is a work in progress who has the potential to grow at least into an effective big man off the bench.
Where the Celtics could get him: Watt is likely to go late in the second round if he is drafted at all. He helped his cause with an impressive performance at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament in April.
Notes: Before his sophomore season Watt was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neuromuscular disorder that causes the immune system to attack itself, but he didn’t tell anyone until his senior season. The disease was potentially career-threatening as he suffered from double vision and pain in his head and neck and had to learn to walk and run again.
Video: Here are highlights from Watt’s 2011-12 season in which he was named MAC Player of the Year.
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