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Meet The Newest Celtics: Draft Edition

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Thursday night, the Celtics used all four of their draft picks, selecting Terry Rozier (Louisville), RJ Hunter (Georgia State), Jordan Mickey (LSU), and Marcus Thornton (William & Mary). As of yet, Ainge has been unable or unwilling to pull the trigger on any trades, and four new players certainly makes a crowded roster all the more confusing.

Regardless, these young men are part of the Celtics organization for the time being, and along with some interesting on-court upsides, they will bring some of their own flair to the locker room.

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Reacting to the Celtics Taking Terry Rozier at 16 in the Draft

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I’ve calmed my abhorrence at last night’s draft over the past 12 hours or so.

Part of that is realizing my own hypocrisy in assessing the team’s draft strategy. I’ve always been a big proponent of, after the lottery or so is done, taking either the best player available or filling a need with an exceptional skill position – you’re very unlikely to grab a superstar in that range, so just collect lottery tickets and hope for the best. The Celtics did just that. They felt Terry Rozier was the best player available. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I also didn’t see every single workout the team conducted. They may very well be right. Lord knows they are smarter than I am when evaluating rookie prospects.

Part of that is also realizing that, if R.J Hunter was taken at 16 and Rozier was taken at 28, most Celtics followers would have been a little quizzical at all the guards but far less enraged. In fact, I’m pretty sure there was a mock draft that had that exact outcome at one point (maybe a version of DraftExpress? I honestly don’t remember). Maybe that took a bit more luck than fans would’ve chosen, but the result was the same in the end.

The biggest part, though, is finally realizing what was really driving the faithful batty. Taking Rozier at 16 wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that, yet again, fireworks were promised – not just by Ainge, but by draft pundits and insiders everywhere. Instead, we got a couple of pretty sparklers. Ainge and Brad Stevens can talk about how pretty they are, and how if you treat them well they can turn into wheels and snakes. But fans wanted their freaking Roman candle. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celtics Select RJ Hunter With 28th Pick

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After a head-scratcher of a 16th pick in point guard Terry Rozier, Boston selected RJ Hunter, a shooting guard out of Georgia State. The Celtics ranked 27th in 3-point percentage this season, and Hunter could help provide some help. He’s more of a pure shooter than James Young, and at times, Hunter scored at will.

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Celtics Select Terry Rozier With The 16th Pick

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Despite numerous trade rumors leading up to tonight’s NBA draft, the Celtics either held-fast or otherwise were unable to find a trade partner.  Boston selected point guard Terry Rozier out of Lousiville. He averaged 17.1 points per game in his sophomore season as a Cardinal.

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2015 NBA Draft Results

1. Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C, Kentucky

I’m really glad Flip Saunders didn’t overthink this one. Okafor will be great, but if you come across a 7-footer whose only apparent downside is that his athleticism is not quite elite, just take him. Also, pairing Okafor with Pekovic might have been the worst defensive frontcourt of all time. Minnesota fans are going to have some fun for a few years.

2. Lakers – D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State

I’m not 100% sure I agree with the James Harden comparison, but the Lakers need some back-court talent besides Clarkson (well, and Kobe, but let’s not get into that), and Russell will be a much better playmaker for them. They must also feel pretty good about their odds of either grabbing Love or Aldridge. Get ready folks, this was the first step towards the crazy path for tonight.

3. 76ers – Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke

Woj is reporting that the Sixers plan to keep Okafor for good. I’m surprised they aren’t at least hearing out offers right now. This makes me wonder if they are really concerned about Joel Embiid and his body. In any case, Okafor is going to be an offensive beast, so pairing him with one of those two will be a pretty devastating combo. Philly still has work to do, but this is a great piece to have on hand. Figure out the trades later.

4. Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, Latvia

So this happened.

I don’t know how good he’ll be, but I don’t think he’ll be THAT bad. He’s gotten all sorts of comparisons ranging from European Kevin Garnett to Darko Milicic. I lean more towards the former, although calling him KG is pretty extreme. But at the least he’s a big with very good range, and he has enough athleticism and drive to be functional on defense. He needs a little bit more muscle, but I think this is fine for the Knicks.

5. Magic – Mario Hezonja, G/F, Croatia

My god, the Magic are going to be the most athletic team in league history. More importantly, they finally drafted a wing player who can hit a 3, and also a guy with some major cajones who will take over a game unasked (for better or worse). Orlando might be a playoff sleeper next year.

6. Kings – Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

But you said Trill was going to fall to the Celtics at 16! (Proof that most draft day rumors are noise.)

We all know the deal with Cauley-Stein by now. He’s going to stop anyone he pleases as long as his ankle doesn’t fall apart. I also don’t think this necessarily means anything for Cousins one way or the other – WCS can guard the tougher matchup and protect Cousins in the paint. Remember, this was assumed to be the pick for quite a few months.

7. Nuggets – Emmanuel Mudiay, G, D.R. Congo

Mudiay elected to forgo the usual NCAA experience and took his talents to China in preparing himself for NBA basketball. The Nuggets are ready to really shake things up, and this pick could be the nail in Ty Lawson’s coffin. Mudiay is dynamic and athletic, and though he might not be as NBA ready as Lawson, the selection seems to be the beginning of the end for Ty.

8. Pistons – Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

The Pistons took Stanley Johnson, who will look to prove he’s more than just a 3 and D wing, although those skills in today’s NBA are certainly highly coveted. Stan Van Gundy loves Kentavious Caldwell Pope, and if Johnson can compliment him well, perhaps he can crack SVG’s rotation early on.

9. Hornets – Frank Kaminsky, F/C, Wisconsin

The Hornets have been locked in on Kaminsky for about a week, although Winslow’s availability made this an interesting spot for other teams for about 10 minutes. With Batum in the fold, Kaminsky becomes the point big with range Charlotte has been looking for since the departure of Josh McRoberts. Worst case scenario is he finally provides some floor spacing for a team in desperate need of it.

10. Heat – Justice Winslow, SF, Duke

Winslow will be great insurance for Miami, because either they’ll lose Luol Deng to free agency, or otherwise worry about keeping him healthy throughout the season. Either way, he has championship experience with Duke. He’s scrappy, and can maybe fight his way into Miami’s confused roster.

11. Pacers – Myles Turner, C, Texas

Turner represents the closest thing to Serge Ibaka we’ve seen, although a much, much rawer version. He projects to have 3-point range at least from the corners, and he already possesses a great knack for blocking shots. His much-profiled running issues appear to have been mostly corrected, but he still has a lot of work to do. This will also likely mean the end of Roy Hibbert’s reign in Indiana, putting another potential trade option on the market.

12. Jazz – Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky

Lyles is a solid 6’10, and he can provide offensive punch to a Jazz team that can sometimes struggle to score. His defense is a severe liability, but with Rudy Gobert protecting the paint, the Jazz can maybe let Lyles go wild. He’s versatile, and the Jazz are certainly trending up, despite playing in a tough Western Conference. Lyles doesn’t bring much help on the shooting front, but a solid pick for Utah nonetheless.

13. Suns – Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky

Booker falls a bit after being slotted in with Charlotte for weeks. He can shooooooooot. This Suns team was desperate for some consistency from long range with Bledsoe frustrating them for years. He’ll need to develop a couple of other skills, as the spot-up shooting is really all he has going for him right now (I don’t buy into the penetration skills as much as others, but what do I know), but it’s so good that he’ll immediately become useful. A great value pick.

14. Thunder – Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State

Payne ran a whole lot of pick and roll with Murray State, which is good, because the Thunder’s offense is generally speaking, very simplistic. OKC traded away Reggie Jackson this season, but DJ Augustin stepped up in a big way. Payne might end up having sneaky potential, but he’ll have a tough time logging big minutes. Still, Payne’s a smart kid, and it’s a good pick for OKC.

15. Wizards (via Nets through Hawks) – Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas

Our first trade of the night! Oubre is a bit of a mystery – he came into his freshman year with huge expectations, perhaps unfairly, and he didn’t quite live up to them. He has boundless athletic potential, and his shot is nice, but no one can really tell what he’s going to do at the next level or if he has the will to figure it out. The Wizards found their rhythm last year when they went smaller with Pierce at the 4, so if Oubre can figure it out at the next level he will be a huge help for that lineup at either the 2 or 3.

16. *CELTICS* – Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville

Well… that was…interesting… more on this here.

17. Bucks – Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV

After picking up nothing but long athletes who can defend but not shoot for the last two years, the Bucks pick up one of the better scorers in the draft in Vaughn. He’s a bit inefficient, but so is the rest of that team, and Vaughn actually projects as a pretty good defender as well. A good need pick for them.

18. Rockets (via Pelicans) – Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin

Dekker came alive for Wisconsin during the NCAA tournament, and he could help Harden with the responsibility of getting to the rim for Houston. He can shoot and he can drive, and if he continues to play the way he did this March, Houston might have just found themselves a sleeper.

19. Knicks (via Wizards through Hawks) – Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame

Somebody check for raining frogs – the Knicks are having a great draft. They just turned Tim Hardaway into the point guard they need, a 6’5 monster who was often considered the best distributor available in the draft. I’m not sure the triangle will be his future, but that’s a good amount of talent for New York to grab there.

20. Raptors – Delon Wright, PG, Utah

The Raptors just traded Greivis Vasquez to the Bucks, so selecting Delon Wright makes perfect sense. He’s a big-bodied point guard who plays some seriously stingy defense and is perfectly capable on the offensive end. More importantly, he’s a tidy passer and a cerebral one at that.

21. Mavericks – Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia

Dallas is either getting a 45% 3P shooter or a 29% 3P shooter. I’m guessing it leans more towards the former, but it’s a variable worth noting. More importantly, Anderson is a lockdown defender capable of guarding three, maybe four positions, and that should continue in the pros.

22. Bulls – Bobby Portis, F, Arkansas

Bobby Portis is a perfect fit for Chicago, and many folks around the Hub had him going to the Celtics. Finding him at 22 is unbelievably lucky for the Bulls, and Joakim Noah will be an excellent mentor for Portis, who fancies himself on Kevin Garnett’s level in virtue of intensity and heart. He can also play as a wing, giving Chicago a flair of versatility in an otherwise rigid line-up.

23. Trail Blazers – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona

RHJ is the definition of a lockdown defender. Many scouts compared him to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – a lengthy forward who is strong and quick enough to handle anyone else on the floor. Unfortunately, that analogy also extends to his ghastly shooting touch, and boy is it ghastly. The recent trade of Batum makes this an easy decision for Portland. *UPDATE* Hollis-Jefferson has been traded to Brooklyn. He has a bit more of a glut to overcome for playing time in Brooklyn, but his talent should win out. I’m not sure he’s an overall upgrade over Plumlee, but an interesting move for both teams.

24. Timberwolves (via Cavaliers) – Tyus Jones, PG, Duke

Cleveland elected to trade Tyus Jones to his hometown Minnesota for the 31st and 36th pick. Jones is a little undersized at just 6’1”, and can’t really compensate with raw athleticism. Karl Anthony-Towns will certainly be the more scrutinized rookie, but Jones joins an incredibly young Timberwolves team.

25. Grizzlies – Jarell Martin, F, LSU

Martin is a versatile scorer, and versatility is something the Grizzlies have sorely lacked for the past few years. He’s not exactly “Grit and Grind”, but maybe that’s a good thing. He’s not really a shooter, but he still can score in the post and in transition. He has some work to do to make it in the NBA, but it’s a nice value here for Memphis.

26. Spurs – Nikola Milutinov, Serbia, C

The Spurs have never been afraid to look for talent overseas, and Milutinov certainly fits the bill. He’s a true 7-footer, and has the mobility and athleticism to set himself apart from other rookie centers. He could definitely end up being a “stashed” pick and continue to play in Europe next season or even beyond. Still, he provides an option for the Spurs machine in a league where athletic big men are always highly coveted.

27. Lakers (via Rockets) – Larry Nance Jr., F, Wyoming

Children of former All-Stars did well this year, so Nance will have that going for him. He’s a great athlete and endless potential, and frankly the Lakers just need as much hope as possible right now. A bit of a reach, but an interesting piece for LA going forward.

28. *CELTICS* (via Clippers) – R.J. Hunter, G, Georgia State

…whom the Celtics were considering at 16. What a strange night. More on Hunter here.

29. Nets (via Hawks) – Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse

McCullough was a mid-round pick up until he injured his ACL. It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to help Brooklyn next year, but beyond that he represents great value. He’s got great size, great intangibles, and a great shooting stroke. This might be the first long-term decision the Nets have made in a long time, and they need to start making more. Or, you know, not, since this is a Celtics site.

30. Warriors – Kevon Looney, F, UCLA

At UCLA, Looney shot 41.7% from three this past season, and a very good Warriors team just picked up an absolute steal. Looney is a little raw, but he has a high basketball IQ and will undoubtedly fit in very well in Golden State.

 

- 2ND ROUND -

31. Timberwolves – Cedi Osman, SG, Turkey

32. Rockets – Montrezl Harrell, F, Louisville

33. *CELTICS* – Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU

Mickey is only 6’8″, but his wingspan is an insane 7’3″, and he has a knack for blocking shots. More coming.

34. Lakers – Anthony Brown, SF, Stanford

35. 76ers - Guillermo Hernangomez, C, Spain

36. Minnesota – Rakeem Christmas, F, Syracuse

37. Philadelphia – Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green

38. Pistons – Darrun Hilliard, SF, Villanova

39. Nets (via Hornets) – Juan Vaulet, SF, Argentina

40. Heat – Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee

41. Blazers (via Nets) – Pat Connaughton, G, Notre Dame

42. Jazz – Oliver Hanlan, G, Boston College

43. Pacers – Joseph Young, G, Oregon

44. Grizzlies (via Suns) – Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky

45. *CELTICS*- Marcus Thornton, PG, William & Mary

I don’t think this pick is staying here, but who knows at this point. More to come…

46. Raptors (via Bucks) – Norman Powell, SG, UCLA

47. 76ers – Arturas Gudaitis, C, Lithuania

48. Thunder – Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky

49. Wizards – Aaron White, PF, Iowa

50. Hawks – Marcus Erikkson, SG, Sweden

51. Magic – Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington

52. Mavericks – Satnam Singh, C, India

53. Cavaliers – Sir’Dominic Pointer, SF, St. John’s

54. Jazz – Daniel Diez, SF, Spain

55. Spurs – Cady Lalanne, F/C, UMass

56. Pelicans – Branden Dawson, F, Michigan State

57. Nuggets - Nikola Radicevic, PG, Serbia

58. 76ers – J.P. Tokoto, F, North Carolina

59. Hawks - Dimitris Agravanis, PF, Greece

60. 76ers – Luka Mitrovic, PF, Serbia

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Previewing Draft Night: What Should Celtics Fans Expect?

NBA: NBA Draft

Tonight the long-awaited NBA draft will finally be upon us, ushering an off-season that promises to be an intriguing one, especially for basketball fans in the Hub. Danny Ainge has already prepared us for a “busy summer“, and with four picks available in this draft alone (16, 28, 33, 45), the Celtics are certainly poised to make an even larger move should an opportunity present itself.

Boston’s recent draft history is a little inconsistent. Will Ainge unwittingly draft the next Fab Melo? Or does he have the right chips to reel in an impact player the way he did in 2007, trading for Ray Allen and setting in motion what would certainly have qualified as a “busy summer” in it’s own right.

All signs point towards Boston being an aggressive mover and shaker during the tonight’s draft, but considering the C’s have a fruitful free agency period to look forward to on top of still more draft picks and flippable assets to make moves with later on, I’m sure Ainge will proceed with caution. As desperate as the Celtics are for a few important talent upgrades, his meticulous stockpiling and quick-trigger trades this season weren’t just for landing a big fish. Ainge wants to land the right big fish, and for that reason, a blockbuster move from Boston tonight is not guaranteed.

Having said that, Celitcs fans know best that “anything is possible”, and there are quite a few windows of opportunity for Boston to move up in the draft or even trade for established talent; it’s worth exploring the different ways the NBA draft may shake out for Boston.

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2015 Draft Day: Reanalyzing How the Boston Celtics Can Move Up

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Trying to write about draft strategy as the schedule gets closer to draft day can be unbelievably frustrating. I’ve written four different versions of this post in the past day or two because new information and rumors keep coming in, and it will still probably be rendered irrelevant in the next hour or so. Such is the quagmire that is the NBA rumor mill.

And you know what? No one still really has a solid clue what’s going to happen. Towns is probably going number one to Minnesota (at least if Flip Saunders doesn’t get in his own way), but after that? Lots of “probably, but maybe not”. The Lakers maybe bringing in DeMarcus Cousins just complicates matters further. I’m surprised Woj hasn’t had his head explode yet. Someone should check on him.

Let’s take a moment and deal with the known. Boston is trying to move up into the lottery. They probably want Willie Cauley-Stein or Myles Turner, but they’d probably be fine with whoever they could get. Anywhere from picks 3 to 13 are in play, as evidenced by various proposed deals Ainge is rumored to have made. So far, no one has bought what he’s been selling. In fact, according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:

 

So who is left as a potential trade partner? The options are looking slimmer by the minute. Read the rest of this entry »

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Boogie Cousins or Willie Cauley-Stein? Debating the Merits of Chasing The Big Men

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This column is a guest post written by Jeremy Gottlieb.

Smell that, Celtics fans?

Something is cooking and the aroma wafting into your nostrils bears a distinct resemblance to a nice, hearty fireworks casserole.

Danny Ainge said it himself on Tuesday. The Celtics don’t even know where they’ll be picking when the NBA Draft finally comes around on Thursday night.

“Our draft pick may be traded before we even make the pick,” he added. “I’m excited; it’s going to be a fun day.”

Now, Ainge has been known to bend the truth a little bit in his time as the Celtics head honcho so make sure to take his words with a grain or two of salt. But given his well-earned reputation as “Trader Danny,” it’s tough to imagine Draft night coming and going without the Celtics involved with some sort of movement. Read the rest of this entry »

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Recapping Boston Celtics Draft Day Rumors

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Thursday’s draft promises to be a busy night of move-making and deck shuffling for GM’s across the NBA, and all signs point to Danny Ainge and the Celtics being especially busy.  By now, almost every basketball fan in the Hub is familiar with the on-going rumors concerning Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and a possible trade to Boston, but that’s just one instance of Danny Ainge looking to shake things up.

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Wojnarowski: Kevin Love, Robin Lopez, and…Paul Pierce To Boston?

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Kevin Love officially opted out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and it didn’t take long for the fireworks to start flying on Twitter, with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski letting lose this incredibly tantalizing bit of insight:

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