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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Brazil C Lucas Nogueira 06.07.11 at 1:04 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).

Lucas Nogueira

Position: Center

Country: Brazil

Team: Estudiantes B (Spain)

Height: 7-foot-0

Weight: 225 pounds

Stats: 11.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.5 bpg

What he brings: Still 18, Nogueira is one of the youngest prospects in the draft. But with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, he’€™s also one of the longest. Nogueira will make plenty of highlight reels wherever he plays because of his athletic blocks and thunderous dunks. His rebounding skills are also solid.

Nogueira has not yet been able to fill out his youthful frame. That will hurt him in position battles down low against stronger big men, and he can’€™t rely solely on his length under those situations. His points mostly come from over-the-top passes or put-back dunks on offensive rebounds because his skills with his back to the rim are still a work in progress.

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

What they’re saying: ‘€œNogueira is a long, freakish athlete who has a chance to be the next Brazilian in the league.’€ ‘€“ SLAM Online’€™s Rodger Bohn

Notes: Nogueira had his coming-out party in the U18 FIBA Americas tournament where he averaged 15.6 points, 10 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game against players that included Austin Rivers, the son of the Celtics coach. In the gold-medal game against the United States, Nogueira played 34 minutes and scored a team-high 22 points, along with 14 rebounds and three blocks. But the Americans bested the Brazilians 81-78. In that same game, presumed first overall pick Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Fresno State C Greg Smith at 11:17 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).

Greg Smith

Position: Center

School: Fresno State

Height: 6-foot-10

Weight: 250 pounds

Stats: 11.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg

What he brings: Any team that takes Smith will be taking a flier on a stereotypical developmental center. At 6-foot-10 and a solid 250 pounds, the 2009-10 WAC Freshman of the Year and 2010-11 WAC second-teamer certainly has the size to make it at the next level. His hands, which measured in at nearly a foot wide and were the biggest at the combine, especially have earned him some looks as a guy who can snatch the ball out of mid-air, whether it be on a rebound or on a pass through traffic in the post. Twenty rebounds against Nevada in his last NCAA game are testament to that fact.

But as much as you can’€™t teach size, you can teach skill, and Smith certainly needs more than some polish on that end. His offensive stats don’€™t jump off the page ‘€” his .544 free throw percentage last season might do so for the wrong reason ‘€” and he is considered to be a project offensively. With depth thin at the center position for the Celtics, Danny Ainge could be willing to give Smith a shot in the second round, but if that were the case, no one in green would expect the early entry to contribute much except for maybe a few boards in limited reserve time.

Where the Celtics could get him: Second round

What they’re saying: ‘€œIf I had to model a player, it would be Amar’e Stoudemire because he’€™s a very explosive player, and that’€™s where I’€™m at right now. But right now if I had to come in, I’€™d be more like an Al Horford, a physical post player down there that’€™s going to get you 10 and 10 a night, that’€™s going to be physical defensively and reboundingly. But as I get my career going, I’€™ll develop into an Amar’e Stoudemire type player.’€ ‘€” Smith on his pro prospects

Notes: The Fresno native almost went to Arizona when he made the jump to the college ranks in 2009 but instead chose to stay at home and play for Steve Cleveland and the Bulldogs. He said Cleveland’€™s resignation this offseason was a factor in his decision to leave for the potentially greener pastures of the NBA.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Georgia G Travis Leslie 06.04.11 at 10:51 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).

Travis Leslie

Position: Guard

School: Georgia

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 205 pounds

Stats: 14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.9 apg

What he brings: Just a quick glance at his size and statistics reveals that Leslie is no ordinary player. Draft Express called him one of the best athletes in the draft and while he’s not much a 3-point shooter or ballhandler, he is still an efficient offensive player, averaging 1.34 points per possession used in his junior season at Georgia.

If he can improve his range he could be a dynamic change-of-pace player in someone’s rotation because he can rebound and has all the tools to be an excellent defensive player. In a best-case scenario Leslie has the ability to guard multiple positions and his perimeter game will catch up with his obvious skills around the rim and inside 10 feet.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round

What they’re saying: “He’s an athletic freak … a guy that is capable athletically of just about anything.” — South Carolina coach Darrin Horn

Notes: Leslie has already made waves, comparing himself favorably to former Celtic Tony Allen at the draft combine, who predictably wasn’t happy about it. Leslie tried to backtrack, but Draft Express has the video.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Tokyo Apache PF/C Jeremy Tyler 06.01.11 at 2:48 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).

Jeremy Tyler

Position: Power Forward/Center

Team: Tokyo Apache

Height: 6-foot-11

Weight: 262 pounds

Stats: 9.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg

What he brings: It’s been a wild ride for a kid who’s only 19 years old. Tyler reneged on a commitment to play for Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville and signed with the Israeli league’s Maccabi Haifa for $140,000 — foregoing his senior year of high school. He then left Maccabi over a playing time dispute. From there, he signed in Japan to play for Bob Hill and the Tokyo Apache (if you’ll remember, Hill is the last man not named Gregg Popovich) to coach the Spurs .

Tyler is a project, no doubt, but it’s not like an American has never made the leap from overseas to the NBA (see: Jennings, Brandon). As a junior at California’s San Diego High, he averaged 28.7 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks per game, vaulting himself to a top-five national recruit ranking in the Class of 2010 alongside guys like Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Knight. Whether or not Tyler still belongs in that conversation depends on who you ask.

Athletic, physical, defensive-minded guys with top-five upside who are 6-foot-11 aren’t easy to find, so somebody will take a chance on him. Tyler is said to have matured as a result of Hill’s tutelage and his experience in Japan. That and his 7-foot-5 wingspan may have played his way into the first found at the recent NBA Draft Combine.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: “It’€™s a case-by-case basis. Some [overseas players] will be successful and others won’€™t. But Brandon Jennings didn’€™t hurt his draft stock at all. … I have a hard time with that because I believe people should have a right to earn a living. But if you’€™re not doing it for financial reasons, you should definitely go to college.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Notes: The trials and tribulations of Tyler are many. A Google search of “Jeremy Tyler” and “NBA” returns 89,900 results. But these three articles from The New York Times chronicle Tyler’s unique path better than most.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Duke F Kyle Singler 05.31.11 at 6:07 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).

Kyle Singler

Position: Forward

School: Duke

Height: 6-foot-8

Weight: 228 pounds

Stats: 16.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg

What he brings: Singler had a distinguished four-year career at Duke and has experience at the highest levels of the college game. That’s a double-edged sword in the modern era of the draft where potential has a great currency than production. He’s also 23 years old, which is ancient for a prospect.

Singler has a reputation as a shooter, but his 3-point shooting also fell dramatically this season down to 32 percent. He’s not much of an inside player so he’ll have to be able to knock down jumpers. There are also questions about his athleticism and who he will guard in the NBA, but he’s a smart player and a good passer. In the right system and with the right team, he could become a solid role player. It’s difficult to project him being more than that as a pro.

Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.

What they’re saying: “Kyle Singler is rock solid. He’€™s got the Duke pedigree. He plays with a Shane Battier enthusiasm. He came back to school for all four years. Let’€™s not punish him for that and then have all these discussions about guys coming out too early. This kid came back to school, left his imprint on that school, had a wonderful experience and now he’€™s ready for NBA life. He has limitations physically. But if you’€™re a good team drafting late in the first round, you slot him right in.” — ESPNU analyst Tom Penn.

Notes: Singler is a great trick-shot artist (see video below). The YouTube clip, “Kyle Gets Buckets” has over 800,000 page views.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Boston College guard Reggie Jackson 05.30.11 at 2:23 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).

Reggie Jackson

Position: Guard

School: Boston College

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 208 pounds

Stats: 18.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.5 apg

What he brings: Local hoop fans already know all about Jackson, who had a standout junior year, averaging 18 points and enjoying a huge upturn in his 3-point shooting from 29 percent as a sophomore to 42 percent as a junior. Jackson isn’t a pure point guard but he is a guard in the traditional sense. Perhaps most intriguing about Jackson is his wingspan, which has been measured at 7 feet. That length, combined with his athletic ability and on-court savvy could make for a destructive defensive-minded guard with scoring ability. In a best-case scenario Jackson has the skills to help a team this year.

There are questions about Jackson’s ability to duplicate his long-distance shooting and he falls into the tweener category — maybe not a point guard, too small for the 2-guard. That has him in the range of low lottery to mid-20s like a handful of players in this draft.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round.

What they’re saying: “The amazing thing for Reggie has been his IQ for the game. I think he has a great feel for the game.” ‘€” Boston College coach Steve Donahue

Notes: Jackson came into the draft combine with a decent buzz, but he didn’t participate in the combine citing an injury. That has dropped him a few pegs in various mock drafts and in the Celtics range.

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NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: Kansas G Josh Selby 05.26.11 at 11:10 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).

Josh Selby

Position: Guard

School: Kansas

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 195 pounds

Stats: 7.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.2 apg

What he brings: Selby arrived at Kansas with a reputation as a dynamic high-scoring guard who is better at creating off the dribble than shooting from the outside. However, his one year of college basketball told a different story from his high school career, when he was one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits.

After sitting out the first nine games because of an eligibility issue with the NCAA, Selby made his debut in December and scored 21 and 18 points in successive games against USC and Cal. But he injured his foot in February and was never able to make much of an impact after he returned. He’s also a classic tweener as he’s small for a shooting guard and hasn’t displayed many point guard skills.

Selby shot reasonably well from 3-point range (36 percent) but didn’t stand out in any one particular area. If not for the minimum age requirements, Selby would have entered the draft out of high school and been a first round draft pick last season, but after one year of college he’s on the first-round bubble.

Where the Celtics could get him: First round

What they’re saying: “It did not play out real great for Josh, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t good enough or didn’t try hard enough or didn’t fit in. It was because of health. After he got hurt, he could have just put it in park and not played. But he wanted to play even though he wasn’t 100 percent.” ‘€” Kansas coach Bill Self

Notes: Selby has been a controversial figure in basketball circles for years even though he just turned 20 in March. Two stories worth reading: This piece from the New York Times from his senior year of high school and this more recent one from the Kansas City Star offer some insight.

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