The Celtics hosted former college stars Justin Harper, Jon Leuer, and Jamie Skeen (among others) for a workout on Wednesday. While the Celtics will keep any meaningful analysis behind closed doors, we can speculate on not only who might end up being a serviceable NBA player, but also who might fit the Celtics best.
The Celtics have a really interesting workout Wednesday. Richmond’s Justin Harper, Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer, VCU’s Jamie Skeen and Butler’s Matt Howard are all in the same workout. All four of those power forwards can really stroke the basketball. You think the Celtics might be in the market for a stretch 4?
Unfortunately, Matt Howard decided to skip out on the workout. Trust me, this is a bummer. If Celtics fans ever wanted to see Leon Powe return to Boston without the knee troubles and a reliable jump shot, Howard is your man.
The rest of these players each have certain elements to their game that could make any Celtics’ fan excited at the prospect of their addition. But a word of caution: none of these guys are going to be game-changers. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that anyone the Celtics’ draft is not going to be a panacea. The Celtics have the 25th overall and the 55th overall picks. Anyone drafted at these spots that ends up contributing anything meaningful next season would be slightly short of fluky.
As I said before, there will be stuff you love about these guys- the attitude, the shooting, the size- but there are also reasons why the Celtics think they have a shot at drafting them so late. Let’s break them down:
Height: 6’8” (6’6.5” w/o shoes)
College: Virginia Commonwealth University
Skeen had a great tournament after being the best player on a mid-major team that made it to the Final Four. VCU was a product of a combination of solid players, great coaching, and Skeen’s ability to play inside and out. He has a reliable jumpshot from 18-22 feet (not sure if he has NBA Three range) and the necessary bulk to bang down low. Think of Skeen as a more offensively polished Jeff Adrien while being a slightly worse rebounder.
The biggest reason why Skeen isn’t rated higher on anyone’s draft board is because he’s a classic tweener. He measured really short without socks and there are questions regarding whether or not he’ll be able to defend quicker threes. Ideally, he’d be the guy to defend a LeBron James or a Carmelo Anthony but he hasn’t had an opportunity to prove he has to foot speed or lateral quickness.
Height: 6’8.75″ (6’8” w/o shoes)
Just like Skeen, Harper did himself a lot of favors by being one of the best players on a semi-Cinderella team in the NCAA tournament. I didn’t get a chance to watch him a ton, but word on the street is that he lacks the necessary bulk to play back-to-the-basket but can shoot the lights out.
I’m not as enamoured with Harper has others and that may stem from not being able to watch him play as much as the others. I wasn’t impressed with his measurements and if I wanted a guy that could do one thing well, I’d rather have the taller and better rebounder…which brings us to…
Height: 6’11.5” (6’10” w/o shoes)
With Leuer, you may be looking at the second coming of Ryan Anderson. He’s big and he can shoot. I’ve also seen him have the ability to put the ball on the floor a little which is encouraging. I am a little concerned that he is a finished product as is which raises doubts in my mind as to whether or not he can compete at the next level.
* * *
The bottom line is that the Celtics really cannot go wrong with selecting any of these guys with any of their picks. Although, I’m not really in the mood to see another “picked him for his potential” situation like we saw with Avery Bradly last year. Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited to Bradley actually play this year as much as anyone but I’m still hoping that the Celtics are going to go for a guy that has a more complete resume. Someone who is more likely to contribute right away regardless of how much that actual contribution is. Someone like Semih Erden….too soon?
We’ll continue to keep you updated on all the prospects coming in for workouts this offseason. On Monday, the Celtics have another batch of prospects to semi-dissesct.