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Celtics win NBA draft lottery, will choose first overall for first time in the lottery era 05.16.17 at 8:59 pm ET
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Washington guard Markelle Fultz (left) and UCLA counterpart Lonzo Ball (right) are considered the two best prospects in the NBA draft. (Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports)

Washington guard Markelle Fultz (left) and UCLA counterpart Lonzo Ball (right) are considered the two best prospects in the NBA draft. (Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports)

The ping pong balls finally smiled on the Celtics.

Snakebitten in previous trips to the NBA lottery, the Celtics on Tuesday finally cashed in some major luck when they claimed the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft on Tuesday night.

This is the first time in the modern draft era that the Celtics have earned the No. 1 pick.

“This is pretty good,” Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck told ESPN. “It’s a good time to be a Celtics fan.”

The C’s entered Tuesday night’s lottery as the team with the best chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick via their trade with Brooklyn, and they cashed in. The C’s have never moved up in the lottery, but there was no possibility of that this year, since the best they could hope for was remaining steady at No. 1.

The Celtics entered the lottery with a 25 percent chance of picking first and a 46.5 percent chance of choosing in the top two. They could pick no worse than fourth, thanks to a trade that allows them to swap draft positions with the Brooklyn Nets, who finished with the worst record in the NBA.

This is considered a deep draft with no shortage of talented players in the top five or six positions. The consensus No. 1 pick is Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, an explosive 6-foot-4 scorer and floor general with the most complete game in the draft.

Beyond Fultz, there’s UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, who might be the best pure passer to enter the NBA since Jason Kidd left Cal nearly 25 years ago. Beyond those two are forwards Josh Jackson of Kansas and Jayson Tatum of Duke. (For more on this quintet, click here.) Kentucky guards De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk are also expected to go in the top 10.

What this means for the Celtics is they now know what options they have this summer. One option is to sign a free agent like Utah’s Gordon Hayward to a max contract and then augment that acquisition with a young piece in the draft such as Fultz.

The other is to push their chips to the center of the table and attempt to trade the pick for a player like Chicago’s Jimmy Butler or Indiana’s Paul George, thereby accelerating the rebuilding process.

What’s clear is the C’s have options, and that’s never a bad place to be.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Markelle Fultz, NBA Draft
Celtics go international again at No. 23 by selecting Croatian center Ante Zizic 06.23.16 at 10:19 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Ante Zizic, Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Celtics rumors
Celtics use 3rd pick in NBA draft to select Cal forward Jaylen Brown at 7:52 pm ET
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The Celtics selected Cal forward Jaylen Brown with the third pick in the draft. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

The Celtics selected Cal forward Jaylen Brown with the third pick in the draft. (John Hefti/USA Today Sports)

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Celtics draft Jaylen Brown, Jaylen Brown
Report: Celtics talking deal with Bucks for Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe at 5:05 pm ET
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Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton

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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics rumors, Celtics trade rumors, Greg Monroe
Nets trade Thaddeus Young to Pacers for draft picks, increasing likelihood they’ll be terrible again next year at 4:48 pm ET
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Thaddeus Young

Thaddeus Young

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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics Brooklyn picks, Celtics rumors, NBA Draft
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
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The Celtics could choose between Jaylen Brown (left) and Kris Dunn at No. 3. (USA Today Sports)

The Celtics could choose between Jaylen Brown (left) and Kris Dunn at No. 3. (USA Today Sports)

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.

The verdict

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.

Previous entries

June 9: Buddy Hield vs. Jamal Murray
June 7: Dragan Bender vs. Kevin Love
June 2: Al Horford vs. DeMar DeRozan
May 31: Buddy Hield vs. Avery Bradley
May 26: Kevin Love vs. Paul George
May 24: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Blake Griffin
May 23: Bradley Beal vs. Gordon Hayward
May 20: Buddy Hield vs. Jaylen Brown
May 19: Jahlil Okafor vs. Dragan Bender

Read More: Boston Celtics, Celtics draft, Celtics rumors, Danny Ainge
Report: Jazz forward Gordon Hayward wants out of Utah, Celtics making push to acquire him 06.22.16 at 1:06 pm ET
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Gordon Hayward became a household name under the tutelage of Brad Stevens at Butler. Could they be reunited in the NBA?

According to one report from Brian Geltzeiler of HoopsCritic.com and Sirius radio, Hayward wants out of Utah, and the Celtics are trying to figure out a way to get him:

The 6-foot-8 Hayward has improved over his five NBA seasons, averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game last season. He can opt out of his contract after next season, however, which makes him a risk to leave in free agency after just one season in Boston.

Stevens, who now coaches the Celtics, joined forces with Hayward to lead Butler within a rimmed-out halfcourt shot of defeating Duke in the 2010 NCAA title game.

Read More: Celtics rumors, Gordon Hayward, NBA Draft, NBA trade rumors
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