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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.”

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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
Celtics Choice: Dragan Bender vs. Kevin Love 06.07.16 at 4:24 pm ET
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In the days leading up to June 23’s NBA draft, we examine what the Celtics could do with the No. 3 overall pick and how they should approach this pivotal offseason. In that spirit, we present “Celtics choice.”

Today: Using the third pick on Croatian big man Dragan Bender or trading it as part of a package to land Cavaliers forward Kevin Love.

The case for Bender

In a word, potential. Seven-foot-1 athletes with 3-point shooting range and the quickness to defend inside and out don’t come along very often, and the immediate success of Kristaps Porzingis in New York will undoubtedly have an NBA team hoping lightning can strike twice with Bender, who spent the season playing limited minutes in a reserve role for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel’s top professional league. That kind of experience against veteran competition should only help Bender transition to the NBA, but even the most optimistic assessment doesn’t have him making an impact for at least a couple of years. NBA scouts love his lateral quickness, 9-foot-3 reach, and feel for the game. He’s considered a gifted passer with the kind of shooting stroke that suggests he’ll have NBA range in due time.

The case against Bender

In a word, potential. While Bender could end up being Porzingis or (best-case scenario) Dirk Nowitzki, he could also go the route of Darko Milicic. No one knows for certain how he’ll handle NBA competition, if he’ll add enough strength to compete on the boards, if he’ll take his game to another level. There’s also his lack of playing time in Israel this year, which has produced modest stats (5.5 points, 3 rebounds per game). Still only 18 years old, Bender is a mystery even to teams that have scouted him extensively overseas. He will require time to develop when he arrives, and a team like the Celtics, with an ownership and fan base that expects to win now, might not have the stomach to endure the inevitable growing pains. There’s a chance he gets completely swallowed up by the strength of NBA players at the point of attack, leaving him as a Brad Lohaus-type, which definitely isn’t worthy of the third pick.

The case for Love

In a word, experience. There are no mysteries about Cleveland’s third wheel. He’s a proven All-Star in the NBA with the ability to lead an offense as an elite scorer — he twice averaged over 26 a game in Minnesota — and he can score in any number of ways. A traditional post presence early in his career, Love has since added legit NBA 3-point range to emerge as one of the best stretch-4s in the game, even if he hates that term. He made just 2-of-19 3-pointers as a rookie in 2008-09, but saw those numbers increase to 190-for-505 during his final season in Minnesota before joining the Cavaliers last season. Add tremendous rebounding ability (11.5 per game lifetime), excellent vision to pass out of double teams, and the title of the game’s best outlet passer, and Love is a legit superstar.

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Read More: Celtics, Celtics choice, Dragan Bender, Kevin Love
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