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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Richmond F Justin Harper 06.17.11 at 7:49 am ET
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WEEI.com 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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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kentucky G DeAndre Liggins 06.16.11 at 7:15 pm ET
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WEEI.com 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).

DeAndre Liggins

Position: Guard

School: Kentucky

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 210 pounds

Stats: 8.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg

What he brings: As his stats would suggest, Liggins never was much of an offensive force over three years in Lexington. He scored his career high of 19 twice last season in home wins over Indiana and Tennessee but reached double digits in only 15 of his 38 games.

Where he really made a name for himself was as perimeter defender, thanks in part to his 6-foot-11 wingspan. Usually charged with covering the other team’€™s best guard, Liggins led the Wildcats in steals with 46 (1.2 per game) last season and even earned Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America and Yahoo! Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. Opposing coaches liked what they saw defensively as well, voting him to the SEC All-Defensive squad as well as the East Regional all-tournament team after helping the Wildcats reach the Final Four. But with Avery Bradley, a young guard whose strengths are on the defensive end, already on the roster, don’t be surprised to see the C’s pass on Liggins.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: ‘€œ[Tony Allen] has transformed the Grizzlies. Everybody is looking at DeAndre Liggins, that he could guard multiple positions. He’€™s athletic, tough, comes up with balls — all the stuff they want in that position.” ‘€” Kentucky coach John Calipari on comparisons of Liggins and former Celtic stopper Allen

Notes: Calipari advised Liggins to stay in college, but the player decided that he and his family would best served by making the jump to the pro ranks after talking to NBA scouts. For what it’€™s worth, ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford tweeted that Liggins was one of the best-looking prospects at a Nets workout that did not include any big names.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Purdue G E’Twaun Moore 06.15.11 at 12:35 pm ET
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WEEI.com 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).

E‘Twaun Moore

Position: Guard

School: Purdue

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 190 pounds

Stats: 18 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.2 apg

What he brings: Moore is a solid all-around player who knows how to score. He is most effective when taking the ball to the basket, rather than settling for jump shots. Although he has improved his shooting during his time at Purdue, he still is not considered a great outside shooter.

Moore would probably be a point guard in the NBA, as he is too small to be a shooting guard. He needs to work on his ballhanding and passing skills but has shown improvement in those areas of the game. He is also a very good defender and a very strong defensive rebounder for a guy his size.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round (or second)

What they’re saying: “I know once he gets that rhythm going and steps back and hits a 3 and once he smiles, you know he has it going.” ‘€” Purdue guard Lewis Jackson

Notes: Moore became the fourth player in Big Ten history to tally 2,000 points (2,136), 500 rebounds (611) and 350 assists (400) in a career. He also is Purdue’€™s third all-time leading scorer. He also holds records at Purdue for most minutes played (4,517), 3-point field-goals made (243), games won (107), games played (140) and starts (137).

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Georgia F Trey Thompkins 06.14.11 at 6:53 pm ET
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WEEI.com 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).

Trey Thompkins

Position: Forward

School: Georgia

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 240 pounds

Stats: 16.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg

What he brings: Thompkins is a solid big man who has good hands and a nice touch. He lacks athleticism but makes up for it with his solid offensive game. He is most effective in the halfcourt offense, where he can knock down a jump shot or post up on the block. He is also very comfortable with the pick-and-pop play. He isn’t much of a shot blocker but uses his length and soft hands to rebound well.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round

What they’re saying: “He’€™s got a high basketball IQ, but I think it’€™d be fair to say that most people in the league want to make sure that he’€™s ready for the physicality of the NBA on a nightly basis as a power forward. I think he went a long way today to show us he can do that.’€ ‘€” 76ers director of player personnel Courtney Witte, after Thompkins worked out for the team in early June

Notes: In 2009, Thompkins was the the second-leading scorer on USA Basketball’s U-19 team, which went 9-0 and won the World Championships in New Zealand. In 2010, he was part of the U.S. select team that scrimmaged for two weeks against the national team, which was made up of NBA players. The Hawks drafted his father, Howard Thompkins Jr., in 1981.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Marquette G/F Jimmy Butler at 6:40 pm ET
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WEEI.com 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).

Jimmy Butler

Position: Guard/forward

School: Marquette

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 220 pounds

Stats: 15.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg

What he brings: Butler does not have one particular part of his game that will blow anyone away, but he is a solid all-around player. He is very versatile as he can play guard and forward, but he will, in all likelihood, be a guard in the NBA. He is most known for being an active defender and understanding the game well. He has a good mid-range game but needs to work on his 3-point shooting. He also posts up well for a guy of his size but does struggle with creating his own shot.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round (or second)

What they’re saying: ‘€œHe’s the smartest player I’ve ever coached.’€ ‘€” Marquette coach Buzz Williams

Notes: Butler was an All-Big East Honorable Mention in 2010 and 2011. He helped lead Marquette to the Sweet 16 in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He was a Junior College All-American at Tyler (Texas) JC in 2007-08.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Butler G Shelvin Mack 06.13.11 at 11:35 am ET
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WEEI.com 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).

Shelvin Mack

Position: Guard

School: Butler

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 215 pounds

Stats: 16.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.4 apg

What he brings: Two years ago, it would have been surprising to say the least that one of the draft’€™s most popular names would come from Butler of all places. But after two consecutive NCAA championship game appearances, that’€™s what we have in Mack, who enters the draft after three years in school. At 6-foot-3, he’€™d be well-sized for an NBA point guard but with his score-first skill set, he might project more as a small shooting guard, a la Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry in Golden State.

As he took on more responsibility in the Butler offense last season, his efficiency numbers took a small hit (field goal percentage dropped from .454 to .408, 3-point percentage from .391 to .354) but he would not be asked to take as big of a load in his first few NBA seasons. On the defensive end, his height and strength allowed him to cover bigger small forwards in college, but he is not believed to have the quickness to cover professional point guards.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: ‘€œHe’€™s a guy that can handle the ball, he can dribble, pass and shoot. He has great strength, he has an NBA body, and he’€™s going to be able to play throughout the course of an 82-game season. He also performs at his best against the highest level and always has.’€ ‘€“ Butler coach Brad Stevens

Notes: Mack played second fiddle to Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard in college, so demanding the ball so that he might put up points shouldn’€™t be an immediate problem. Mack acknowledged in an Associated Press story that he is prepared to play as few as two minutes in the NBA or even head to Europe if he were to go undrafted.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Hofstra G Charles Jenkins 06.09.11 at 4:53 pm ET
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WEEI.com 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).

Charles Jenkins

Position: Guard

Team: Hofstra

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 215 pounds

Stats: 22.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.4 apg

What he brings: Jenkins’ numbers are impressive — he’s a scoring machine who also made 42 percent of his 3-pointers — but take a closer look, as Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn did, and they tell an even better story. Jenkins was not only efficient in ISO situations, but also as a spot-up jump shooter. Essentially, he has an NBA-ready offensive game.

The negatives on Jenkins are that he played in a non-major conference, although the Colonial Athletic Association is better than most people think, and he’s on the smallish side for a combination guard. He’s also 22 years old. But in a draft that’s heavy on projection, Jenkins stands out for his production.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round

What they’re saying: “Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins is the sleeper of this draft. The 6-3 senior is regarded as one of the country’s best mid-major talents, and was the CAA’s Player of the Year for two straight seasons, but few were aware of just how dominant of a scorer he really was.” — Luke Winn, Sports Illustrated

Notes: Jenkins, who grew up in Queens, lists Pearl Washington as his favorite player. If he is drafted in the first round he will become the first New York City public school alum since former Celtic Sebastian Telfair to be taken in the first round.

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