|NBA Draft’s Potential Celtics: UCLA SF Tyler Honeycutt||06.08.11 at 12:29 pm ET|
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).
Position: Small Forward
Weight: 190 pounds
Stats: 12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 2.7 apg
What he brings: A 6-foot-8 wing with elite athletic ability who has yet to realize his tremendous potential. A guy who could provide depth behind Paul Pierce and defend the likes of LeBron James and Luol Deng for spells. Sound familiar? That’s what Celtics fans have heard about Jeff Green for a few months now, so the selection of Honeycutt — who is most often compared to Tayshaun Prince — might be a bit redundant.
Still, the UCLA would-be junior small forward is an intriguing option. He can cause problems for opponents on the defensive end (1.6 blocked shots per game last season) and facilitate on the offensive end (2.8 assists per game). However, he’s prone to turnovers (3.0 per game) and battled injuries throughout his two college seasons (shoulder, elbow, tibia and spinal issues) in addition to being criticized for his aggressiveness and shooting woes.
His numbers aren’t spectacular (his field-goal percentage dropped from 49.6 percent as a freshman to 40.6 percent as a sophomore), but the same could be said for recent UCLA-turned-NBA standouts Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison, Aaron Afflalo and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. The simple fact that Honeycutt (along with college teammate Malcolm Lee) is the latest product from Ben Howland‘s system makes him worth a long look.
Where the Celtics could get him: First or second round.
What they’re saying: “It won’t surprise me if he goes top 10 in the draft, not at all, because of his talent. I know what he can do, so if he goes seven or eight it won’t surprise me at all. As a matter of fact, it would probably surprise me if he went 20-30. That would surprise me. Because once people really see how talented he is, then they will understand my crazy comment.” — Sylmar (Calif.) High head coach Bort Escoto (Honeycutt’s high school coach)
Notes: There are two more peripheral things that would give me pause if I were Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge: 1) The professional athlete the Los Angeles-born Honeycutt admires most? Kobe Bryant; and 2) When a member of the Cavaliers brass asked him who he would choose if he had to pick between his girlfriend and his dog, Honeycutt was stumped. “I just didn’t even answer,” Honeycutt told Sports Illustrated. “I said I couldn’t answer that. It’s too hard to pick.” Ouch.