Here is Part Two of my
Final 2016 Boston Celtics
1st Round Mock Draft.
SV=Standing Vert, MV=Max Vert + SR-Standing Reach = MVR Max Vert Reach.
I'm starting this Draft off with a rant. Cleveland is not trading Kevin Love for Draft picks. They plan to resign LaBron and fight for a Championship again next year. Draft picks just hurt their Cap. Getting the 3rd pick in the Draft does absolutely nothing to help them win a Championship next year. Serious, do we have to discuss getting every big SWM available, especially when he isn't available? Get over it sweethearts. Love ain't walking through that door.
The Celtics are exercising the 3rd pick. They are going to take Bender or Ingram, and laugh all the way to the bank. They also cannot afford to trade the 3rd pick before the Lakers select, because they like Bender. So it makes it much harder to make a deal when Ingram could be on the Board at Three. It just is what it is. And Love ain't gonna keep it together.
The Celtics are in the best situation in the NBA right now, outside of the Conference Finals. They have a Playoff team, but you have to look at this honestly. The made the Playoffs this year, but have as much chance of winning a Championship over the next three to five years as the Nets. Unless they trade everything and pick up a Big three of George, Butler, and Okafor. And I don't think they can pull off one of those trades off, never mind three!
But what puts them in such a great position is that they have a great young team that is fun to watch and can reach the Playoffs. Which is usually a disaster. You do not want to be stuck in the middle again. That is just to heart breaking. The worst place to be in the NBA is stuck in the Middle again. You want Playoff Killers or Lottery picks, like the Nets are going to have over the next five to ten years or so. Only Danny broke their hearts.
That is why the Celts are so set. They can build up their young veterans into Playoff caliber Killers, and still get the Nets next three Lottery picks. What is going to lead the Celtics to their next Championship is not Thomas, Bradley, or Crowder, and it sure as hell ain't Love. It is those three Lottery picks that are so heart-breakingly difficult to wait for. The Celts cannot sell the farm, until they know what they have in those picks.
The have to take Bender or Ingram at Three this year. Next years Draft is a much better draft than this years. There will be stars up and down that Draft. Don't be surprised if they take six or seven Euros to stash for two or three years overseas in this Draft. Then we will know what they have. So enjoy the current team, but don't delude yourself into thinking they are near a Championship team, or that this is a quick and easy rebuild.
They have to get their Big Three through the Draft, and augment the winning with young stars. It has never really been done this way before. A team trading three picks to another team, right as the first team falls apart and the second team starts winning again. But don't kid yourself, being around .500 doesn't mean that your team is a step away from a Championship. It still means your team is still three steps away from a Championship, but there just funner to watch. So cool your jets, and let's see who those three steps will be. But please stop saying we should trade one away for old broken down Love. My heart can't take it any more.
8. Sacramento- Marquese Chriss- Fr, Washington, PF, 6-10, 233, MVR 11- 11.5!
38.5" MV, 8' 9", 7'.25" WS, 0,9 APG, 13.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG 53 FG%, 35 3-P%, 68.5% FT, 2 BPG! 1.6 SPG,
The Team: Sacramento is now the worst run team in the NBA. Divac traded two future 1st to the Sixers for two 2nd round picks in last years Draft, which is so stupid that it would not be believable in fiction. They got pick 47 and 60 (Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic) For Nik Stauskas (and two contracts that took 16 Mil off the Kings books). AND, a 2018 1st and the right to switch picks in 2017. The only thing that is saving Sacramento is that Philly sucks so much that they didn't swap 1st this year, and Hinkie was such a wreck that they are unlikely to switch next year as well. But when you gets fleeced by Hinkie, the worst GM in NBA history, that officially makes you the worst GM in the NBA.
The Reason: At this point it is about getting someone who can play quick, or taking a shot at upside. The Lottery is still about getting stars in the NBA. Chriss has the most upside of anyone left on the Board. He is a boom or bust prospect who has the physical attributes to be a star in the NBA. This could be their last 1st Round pick in a while, so they have to take a shot at getting a star.
9. Toronto- Jakob Poeltl- Utah, 20 years old, 6-10, 190,
17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2 APG and 1.4 blocks in 34.6 minutes a game.
The Team: The Raptures made a nice foray into the Playoffs this year. They really need a forward or two. Both Scola and James Johnson are free agents. So getting a power forward wouldn't hurt. They also might need a Wing if they lose DeRozen.
Reason: He is a nice physical presence in the paint. Great hands. He can catch the ball all over the place and pull it in. Carves out a spot on the offense glass nicely. Goes up through the other center and grabs the ball nicely. He has a nice quick jump hook from the left block. Does not always get down court as fast as you'd like. He has some nice quick moves with the ball in his hands. He is an aware player who will tip a rebound to a teammate when he is being doubled.
He decided to stay in school last year. "Heís a poster child for what itís like to stick around for another year," his HC Krystkowiak said. "Heís certainly far more ready today than he would have been a year ago. I donít know how much meat is left on the bone for Jakob in this college process. Heís being projected right now as a top-10 pick."
"Heís one of the truly elite big guys in the country," Jay Bilas said. "Heís getting stronger, and heís going to continue to get stronger. Heís still a young player. So where he is now isnít where heís ultimately going to be. And where he is now is awfully good."
"Itís inconsistent," Poeltl said about his jumper. "I think I can be a good shooter, and at times, I am a decent shooter, especially midrange. Youíve just got to get the reps in. This year, I focused on different stuff."
He is actually playing in the Czech Republic when Utah signed him. "I think he's a bona fide 5-man," Larry Krystkowiak said. "He's got real solid athleticism, great hands and skill. It's hard to evaluate how the transition will go, so you can't place too many expectations on him. Not too many comparisons with a guy like Jakob. But we think he's got a really bright future."
"His size and skill will be a great addition to our frontcourt," Krystkowiak said when they signed him. "Jakub also brings valuable international playing experience to our team. We look forward to getting him on campus and working with him."
(17.2 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg), blocks (1.6 bpg) and shooting percentage (65.6 percent). "He had 31 double-digit scoring games, 16 double-doubles and four Pac-12 player of the week awards."
The Reason: Bismack Biyombo is a free agent. With all the money flying around the NBA now, and Biyombo's coming out party in the Playoff, he is going to get some big time offers. So they need to get a Big. If Poeltl is on the Board, and they don't think they can sign Bismarck than it is an easy pick. They played in the East Champ game, and will be looking to keep the team together and add a guy who can step in and contribute right away. Poeltl would be a good compliment to Valanciunas is they loose Biyombo.
Second Choice: Domantas Sabonis PF
10. Milwaukee- Skal Labissiere- Kentucky, PF/C 6-11.75, 215.8, 8-9.5 SR, 7-2.5 WS,
1.6 BPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.6 PPG, 15.8 MPG, 51.6 FG$, 66.1 FT%,
The Team: Milwaukee has some great young talent. Now they just have to develop them and build a young team around them. They have their Big Three: Antetokounmpo, Parker, and Middleton. Not they just need some athletic pieces around them.
The Team: He is the ultimate boom or bust prospect in this Draft. "In two or three years," Skal said "I think I can be the best player in this draft." He just doesn't get it at all. He seems like a smart kid, but so clueless about his abilities sometimes. "On the court, I think my outside shooting is going to be an asset," Skal said when asked how he could help an NBA team next season. "I think I can guard smaller guys. Iím going to be physical in the post too. I can run the court really well, so I think I can definitely help a team. Off the court, I think I can be a guy who leads by his actions. Iím not such a vocal person whoís going to talk a lot off the court. That would be tough at that level for a young guy, anyways. But definitely I think I can lead by my actions, plus Iím going to be coachable." Lead? You'll be a 18-year old rookie in the D-League, if your lucky.
He came over from Haiti only a few years ago, and only spoke French. "I learned it quickly," Skal said. "At my school that I went to, they were not used to having international students who didnít speak English at all. We didnít even really have a French teacher in middle school, so basically everything I had to do it was me trying to figure out things on my own. That really forced me to learn English and I think that was a big thing for me. It was hard, but I made it through it." Which is part of the reason he is so underdeveloped basketball-wise.
He has all the physical tools and a smooth athletic body that you want in a 7-foot tall basketball player. "I would say the workouts with the teams, being able to showcase my skillset and show what I can do in the future," Skal said. "I think I have one of the highest upsides in the draft. In two or three years, I think I can be the best player in this draft. Iím still working. I think the workouts are going to be key for me. But also the interviews, just to get the chance to talk to the GMs so they get to know me a little better." I didn't he understand how little he understands about basketball.
There were times when he mentally looked like a grade schooler running around out there on the court. "On the court, I think the scouts know how skilled I am," Skal said. "I want to show them a little bit more, that I can be physical too. I want to show that I can play basketball at the next level, want to show my basketball IQ. As for the interviews, I want to show them how confident I am in my abilities." That's seems to be the problem. He doesn't seem to have the basketball-IQ to understand that he is three or four years away from being ready to play in the NBA.
He has a good lefty handle for a 7-footer, which means he can two-dribble with his left. Thinks too much on the floor, and looks confused too much. Great basketball body. So far as length, athleticism, and agility.
The Reason: They have had some luck drafting length and developing the talent. Labissiere has great length and potential, and will go much higher than he should after what he showed at Kentucky. He has a Tyson Chandler body, and if he can put it together mentally he could be a Chandler type star. He is very young to basketball.
Second Choice: Domantas Sabonis PF
11. Orlando- Furkan Korkmaz- Turkey, 6-7, 185, Euroleague: 19 GP, 8.8 MPG, 2.7 PPG, 35% 2P, 42% 3P, 57% FT, 0.9 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 0.4 TPG.
Turkish League: 29 GP, 14.3 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 57% 2P, 43% 3P, 62% FT, 1.5 RPG.
The Player: Furkan Korkmaz: Showman.
The Reason: They have a pretty stacked line up. They could use a draft and stash player who could come over in a year or two and be a shooter off the bench. There is a strong chance they go Euro here. If Korkmaz is on the Board they have to take him here. If they don't do a multi-asset trade for one big piece than they have to draft some stash players. If they trade for a veteran or two to try and win now, Korkmaz is still the perfect pick here.
Korkmaz is a guy who has been linked to the Celtics. His floor in this Draft is pick 16. Korkmaz stinks on defense. But he can not only shoot, he can create his own shot. He still has a bit of a kids game, but showed some maturity as the season went on this year. He is a ball hog, but he does have passing skills when he looks up. He played some point guard for his team this year as well. As he matures, he will be able to use his passing skills more. In fact, they want him to be a point guard overseas, but he doesn't want to play PG, because he loves to shoot too much. He has a chance to be a star shooter off the bench, and maybe a legit starter who can spread the floor and pass in four or five years.
Korkmaz has an NBA style game. "A head coaching change at Anadolu Efes helped Korkmaz," Chad Ford said. " Not only was he not playing, he wasn't even getting great run in practice, much to the chagrin of NBA scouts who were traveling to Turkey. Since the coaching change, Korkmaz has been averaging nearly 20 MPG, getting great run in practice and impressing the scouts who have been visiting. He's only averaging 2.7 PPG for the season, but he is shooting 42% from 3. With so few real shooters in this draft and Korkmaz reaching a buyout that allows him to come to the NBA this summer, I think he's going to land somewhere in the lottery." But he is clearly not ready.
Second Choice: Denzel Valentine SG/PG/SF
12. Atlanta- Henry Ellison- Marquette, PF, 6-11, 242,
7-2 WS, Fr, 1.9 APG, 17 PPG, 9.9 RPG 44.6 FG%, 28.8 3-P%, 74.9% FT,
The Team: They traded their starting PG. So now they can take a chance on an upside big. Ellison is another kid in this Draft who might not be ready until his rookie contract is up. Too many of these freshman look like high school kids. He is one of them. He has the potential to be a nice stretch-4. But he still has a ton of growing up to do, and not just physically. Atlanta has done an exceptional job developing players who are too young for the NBA. It looks like Ellison or Deyonte Davis will be the next one.
The Player: Henry has nice speed running the floor. He gets open on the break, and gets his hands up nicely to catch and shot on the break. "Henry was one of not only the top freshman in the country this season, he was one of the best players regardless of class," Marquette HC Wojciechowski said. "As great as he was all season, his best basketball is still ahead of him." Nice athlete but he is the kind of stuck to the floor player that doesn't transition well to the NBA.
He is a hard worker who will do everything he can to get better. ďI watched Henry work out at 5:30 in the morning before school started," Wojciechowski said. "And heís in there at 6-foot-11, doing ball-handling drills, and working himself out with the help of his sister. That kind of drive for a young player is not normal," Leans back nicely on his jumper. His hands are a little tight, but he snaps his right wrist nicely. Nice spot up jumper. When he catches it 16 and in he is very efficient shooting it. Not a very efficient 3-point shooter.
takes to hard coaching and wants to get better. "Until you get a player on a day-to-day basis, you donít know how theyíll respond to coaching. Can you tell him the truth, even if the truth is
hard?" Wojciechowski said. "Henry embraces that. Heís a guy, like most great players, who wants to be told how he can get better. And I admire that about
him." It showed in his game last season.
Physical rebounder, who doesn't get off his feet as much as youíd like. Kevin Love like below the rim rebounder. Nice transition rebounder. He can grab the O-board and put it in with his left. Knows how to get physical on the ground, and get into rebounding position with power when he is boxed out. Smart and aware player. He can sneak up behind a rebounder and steal the ball.
Nice passer. He can one-dribble through the double, and hit the cutter on the left for the layup.
He had a great freshman season at Marquette, where he was named all Big East first team and Big East Freshman of the year. He is good jumper shooter, but only shot 29% from Three, like LaBron in Cleveland as a rookie. But he hits his jumper from 16-feet with better consistency. He looks like a natural stretch four, who can plays some center when a team goes to small ball.
Great handle. He dribbles and controls the ball like a Euro Big. "Heís a matchup nightmare," the Creighton HC McDermott said after he dropped 22 on him. "He can go inside, and he made a couple of 3s tonight. He hit a couple of shots in critical moments when the game was being decided. Heís a heck of a player and a great talent." He can go coast to coast and score. Dribbles with both hands, and likes to go and back and forth between his left and right hands when dribbling in the open court.
Does a good job keeping the ball up high, and using his body to protect it on layups. He likes to shot the Three more than he should. But if he can stick in the NBA for three or four years, he could get Three-point range with hard work and reps. Really wants to be a jumper shooter. Should be more of an inside presence. Plays the middle in the 2-3 Zone. He can block the shot when little guys drive right into him, but he doesn't have a lot of range on his blocking ability.
Official Bio: 2015-16 Season Notes: A finalist for the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award ... Named Marquette's Most Valuable Player ... Earned Marquette's Best Rebounding Average Award ... Received Iron Eagle Award ... Posted 21 points, 16 rebounds and three assists in collegiate debut against Belmont (Nov. 13) in 26 minutes of action ... Named to the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll for his performance in his NCAA debut ... Went 9-of-12 from the free throw line on his way to 18 points against IUPUI (Nov. 16) ... Named MVP of the Legends Classic after posting 16 points and 11 rebounds against LSU (Nov. 23) and 18 points and 11 rebounds against Arizona State (Nov. 24), while leading MU to the tournament title ... Honored as the BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week following his performance in the Legends Classic ... Scored 23 points to lead all players in Marquette's 104-67 win over Maine (Dec. 5) in just 21 minutes ... Posted 20 points, eight rebounds, and three dimes in MU's victory over San Jose State (Dec. 8) ... Netted 15 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes of action in a win at Wisconsin (Dec. 12) ... Dropped 19 points and 13 rebounds in a winning effort against Chicago (Dec. 21) ... Tallied 15 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals against Presbyterian (Dec. 27) ... Scored 13 points, 10 boards, four blocks, including one as time expired in a win at No. 8 Providence (Jan. 5) ... Saw 37 minutes of action vs. Xavier, and notched 20 points and seven rebounds in a Marquette loss (Jan. 16) ... Helped lead MU to a win at St. John's by posting 16 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks (Jan. 24) ... Scored a career-high 32 points, which included a 14-of-16 clip from the line, and added 10 rebounds and six blocks in MU's win over Butler (Jan. 30) ... Netted 26 points and added 16 rebounds in a career-high 48 minutes in MU's double overtime win vs. Providence (Feb. 10) ... Scored 22 points with 10 rebounds in victory at Creighton (Feb. 24) ... Posted a game-high 29 points in the regular season finale at Butler.
The Reason: Atlanta is looking to go big here. The Teague trade was designed to make Schroeder the starting PG. But they still need a guy to develop into the hole that Horford will leave. Plus, they need shooting and Ellison is strech-4 four who is a true shooter. Davis is not a good shooter at all.
Second Choice: Deyonte Davis PF/SF
13. Phoenix- Timothe Luwawu- Shooting Guard Mega Leks France, 6-7, 220, 21 years,
WS 6-11, 14.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.7 SPG in 28 games,
The Team: Pheonix needs more help on offense than defense. Luwawu took a major step up last season on offense. He fixed the mechanics in his Jumper and almost doubled his 3-point shooting percentage. "I improved everywhere this season: passing, shooting, going to the basket with contact, without contact, defense also," Luwawu said. "I improved everywhere, and I think everybody sees it." Utah has two nice wings in Gordon and Hood, but not much behind them.
Luwawu is a big shooting guard. He is not a small forward. "Most people would say the best part of my game is defense," Luwawu said. "But I donít like to say that because when they say you are a defender, they will say thatís what you are. But I like to play defense and offense. I like to be complete in my game." He struggles to cover bigger guys. But has no trouble stepping up on point guards and shutting them down. Last season the further he was from the basket the better he played on both offense and defense.
They need to add some shooting off the bench. Luwawu is a pure perimeter player. "In the NBA I will just work on the little things that make me better," Luwawu said. "My handle, shooting mid-range. Just to play right and make the right decision every time." He could come over and play right away, and will a starting SG for this team sooner rather than later..
The Player: Timothe Luwawu: Playing Small.
The Reason: They need more of shooting guard than a small forward. They currently have a lot of pieces, and grabbing a guy who they can stash for a year as they sort things out isn't going to hurt. They love to draft Euros. In the past few years they have added: Enes Kanter (and traded him), Rudy Gobert, Trey Lyles, and drafted Dante Exum in the Lottery. Rudy Gobert is also from France, and that could help Luwawu a lot.
Second Choice: Furkan Korkmaz SF/SG
14. Chicago- Wade Baldwin- Vandy, PG 6-4, 202, WS 6-11, SR 8-1, MV 38" MVR 11-3
5.2 APG, 2.7 TO-PG, 14.1 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 42,7 FG%, 40.6 3PT%, 79,9 FT
The Team: This team is in disarray. They are loosing both start Bigs. Have Jimmy Butler on the trading block. An djust traded Rose. "Knowing Derrick as I do makes this trade a hard one," Bulls GM Jerry Reinsdorf said. "Everyone knows him as the local kid who became MVP for his hometown team, but not everyone got to know him like I did. While he is a terrific basketball player, he is an even better person with a tremendous heart. I wish him the best of health for the remainder of his career, and I want to personally thank him for everything that he did on the court and in the community during his time with the Chicago Bulls."
It is time to crash and burn. The veterans don't want to be here, the young players have no choice. They are likely to be losing Derrick Rose soon, and canters Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are free agents with no intention of returning. So they are desperately looking for a Big here. However, there just aren't any centers worth taking here. So they could look at one of the Euro Bigs and hope he can develop much sooner than expected.
The Player: Baldwin is a good sized fast PG who can shoot. When the defense retreats too much when he is coming up the floor fast, he can pull up at the top of the key and knock it down. Like old school PGs, he will pull up at the foul line when he has no one to pass too. He goes so fast that he gets off balance sometimes when he pulls up and drifts too far forward and misses.
He is one of those versatile guys who can do anything on the floor well. "He can do so many things: He handles it well, passes it, can defend, shoots it well," coach Stallings said. "Heís a good rebounding guard and heís a good finisher. He plays multiple positions. He brings a lot to the table." He is one of those hybrid guards who brings a shooter's mentality to the point guard position.
Nice job entering the the ball to his Bigs. He has a great soft high lob when his center is fronted. Finds teammates with passes coming off picks. He can drive to set up a teammate for the pass and open jumpers. He can zip it to the Big in the paint. Keeps his eyes up and consistently spots his teammates. He sees the floor well, and has that knack for knowing when to shoot quick off the bounce. He can look more like a shooting guard than a point guard sometimes. He is still transitioning to fulltime point guard and will turn the ball over too much.
PG position is the position where leadership is the most important.
"Different people have different leadership roles on our team,"
Baldwin said. "I am the challenger. I donít think we have another person on this team that can challenge another player better than I can."
Ultimately at the end of games the ball will be in his hands. "Itís so important for me and for
[Wade] that I keep him channeled in the right direction," coach
Stallings said. "Nobody on our team brings more positive playing leadership than Wade does."
He leads the team to victory, or he doesn't.
He get up court fast. Nice long arms. Nice crossover to his left in the open court. He has to wind up in the half court sometimes to try and run past defenders. More fast than quick. Likes to toss the ball pass defenders and go catch up to the ball with his speed. Nice strong dribble to the hole with his left. He can swing the ball over to the shooter with his left hand on the break for the open Three. He plays a little upright sometimes and will dribble a little too high.
He has a 6-11 Wingspan that he uses well to reach in and slap the ball out. He also can use his long arms to block the shots of smaller point guards. He is very well built and strong, and can bully smaller PGs a little. Fights through picks well, and keeps his long arms up to distract guards trying to shoot off the pick. He will over dribble sometimes and tries to do it all by himself like an SG and not a PG. He is still learning to see the floor like a PG.
When he is attacking and making good decisions in the open court he looks like he can step right into the NBA and play right away. "He seems to follow Russell Westbrook's game," Gregg Marshall, the Wichita State HC said. "You see guys follow or emulate certain NBA players. And he's got some of that. And so obviously he's ultra-talented, long, can get to the rim, can shoot it deep, has a nice stroke." But when he starts making bad decisions he looks like he still needs a few years mentally. The PG position is much more mental than other positions.
He is a good rebounder. He gets into the paint and helps his big men rebound. When he grabs the rebound he can turn it into an instant fastbreak. He has a little quick move to the left that he can scoop off of with his left hand. He is more fast than quick. He can be very hit or miss sometimes. He needs to consistently make the right decisions to be a true PG. But he is still only 20-years old.
2015-16 (Sophomore): Played in 33 games and started 30...Averaged 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game...Named second-team All-SEC team member by league coaches in 2016....Scored in double figures 26 times in 2015-16, had five or more assists in 16 games. Had double digit assists in two games...All-time sophomore leader in assists in a season with 172, which also ranks fourth on VUís all-time single season list. His 4.81 assist per game average in his career would rank second on VUís all-time career list behind Jan van Breda Kolffís 5.38 average. His 5.21 average in 2015-16 would be 6th on the single-season list...Scored 24 points in win over Florida; His 25-point effort against Tennessee was a career-high. He was 5-9 from the floor, 3-6 from three, and 12-13 from the free throw line...Finished third in the SEC in assists in all games and in SEC games only.
The Reason: Rose is on the final year of his contact, and is unlikely to resign with the Bulls. He is going to be looking for big money, but can't be trusted to stay healthy. They are going to have to draft a PG who can score to prepare to move on from Rose, and prepare for when he gets hurt. This team is in big trouble.
Second Choice: Ante Zizic C
15. Denver- Deyonte Davis- Michigan State, Fr, PF 6-10.5, 237, 7-2 WS, 9' SR,
7.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 18.6 MPG, 59.8 FG%, 60.5 FT%,
The Team: They have a young Big three that they think they can develop into stars for a long time to come. The GM's job now is to find compliments for Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, and Jusuf Nurkic. If they continue to develop those three guys and find another compliment or two, they could contend for 10 to 15 years.
The Player: Davis has great length, and he moves like a SF on the court. He is a pure potential pick. He will have to get bigger and stronger. Everything has just changed in his life. "It hit me as soon as I let it out to the media that I was done playing college basketball," Davis said. "I talked to Draymond Green. He told me that I canít have any days off. No bad games. No bad practices. Iíll be going against grown men who are doing this for a living." I don't think these kids always understand how much has just changed in their lives.
With so many of these guys it is simply about maturity. "As a coach, my job is to help my players grow both on and off the basketball court," coach Izzo said. "Over the last year, Deyonta has improved as a player, as he is just starting to tap his true potential. Off the court, there is no question that he has grown by leaps and bounds as he matures as a young man. Iíve been fortunate to live my dreams, but the real thrill as a coach is getting to see my players live their dreams. I look forward to following Deyontaís development and career in the NBA for years to come." Very aware on the boards. Sets a lot of picks. I like how he can set the pick, and then get inside position for the O-board. Plays with nice position on defense as well.
Looses awareness in transition sometimes. He has the pure athleticism to stay with the much smaller guard when he has to switch, and could play some small forward when needed. When he finally gets the ball on the low block he is a little slow making his move. He can play in the air and above the rim. Thoroughly unimpressive against Ohio State. He was benched at halftime, and didn't start the 2nd Half. He cannot come out for the Draft. He has to stay in school. He is a nice smooth athlete, but he just doesn't move with the quickness he needs. Thinks too much. Needs to play more instinctually. He is not ready for the NBA.
He really needs to stay in school longer. "Is he better because he came for a year of school? Definitely. Would a second year have helped him? No question," coach Izzo said. "We didnít think we might have him for more than two years when it all started. So it wasnít like we were thinking of this as a four-year deal, either. But he caused us no trouble. He gave us a lot of joys, helped set a couple records. And now we gotta do everything we can do to help him do what I say every day that I got to do, live a dream." It will take three or fours years before a team knows what they have.
He plays too much like it doesn't matter to him. "He didn't have to be the focal point, he does not want to be the focal point," Hathaway, his ACC coach said. "He'd love to have anybody else be the focal point." He is a shy guy.
However, sometimes he looks like he was made to play this game. "On a basketball court, he's very comfortable," Hathaway said. "He's at peace. He talks. He knows where to be. He knows where to play. Very comfortable. That's his home." But he will never be a leader.
The Reason: Jokic and Nurkic have not worked well together on the court yet. Getting another Big who can step outside a little would be a big help.
Second Choice: Denzel Valentine PG/SG
Syracuse, Wing Syracuse 20-year old FR,
6-6, 200, 8-5.5 SR. 38" MV,†MVR 11-8.5, 7' WS,†
13.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 SPG,
The Team: As a team, the Celtics shot a pathetic 27.5% from three last season. "I was embarrassed by the number," Crowder said. Only the D-League Sixers shot worse in the NBA. "Guys have put in work," Stevens said. "There's no reason for me to believe they wonít shoot it in." They did a great job spacing the floor so I was completely shocked by the stat.
Brad Stevens loves the 3-point shot. "People have figured out that rather than shooting an 18 or 19 footer, it's best to have your range be a couple more feet," Stevens said. "Because over time and in mass those shots are ultimately, you're going to end up scoring at a high rate, they're much more efficient." So one thing they have to fix this off season is their 3-point shooting.
I mean, their 270-pound power forward was one of their best 3-point shooters at the end of last season. "Maybe this is why I'm not as much an analytics guy as everyone portrays me to be," Stevens said about Jared. "I still believe in him shooting. I've seen him shoot. I believe in his form. I believe in how much he shoots." That just reeks of desperation.
Of course, you don't fix that right away with rookies. "I'm definitely going to improve in that area," Smart said smartly. But it still doesn't hurt to start drafting shooters. Bender fills there two biggest needs right away: rebounding and 3-point shooting. Of course he is the youngest player in the Draft and won't be ready to really show it for a few years. So they need anther pure shooter or two (Hel-looo Kevin).
Korkmaz has a great stroke from Three. He is a guy, who if he continues to work hard, will be a terrific NBA 3-point shooter in a few years. His stroke is terrific. His form and mechanics are what you look for. The Celtics cannot simply rely on their current shooters, they have to get more. "That is something that I think we can improve with work in the summer," Stevens said. "Certainly you can improve it with roster additions, but I think that all of our guys can improve their numbers, and can raise their shooting profile." Furkan isn't likely to help right away, but he will come off the bench and shoot Threes.
They know that they have to add shooting at multiple levels this off season to progress in the Playoffs. "We've gotta continue to improve our skill," the HC of the BC said. "We've gotta continue to improve our experience level, decision-making, all that stuff that goes into winning in a game against that level of talent. And we can. I think we will. I'm sure we'll make some roster additions that we think will improve us, but I think the most important thing is continuing to develop this group." The most important thing is to add Durant (by any means necessary).
One thing about drafting Euros is that they can shoot the Three. Don't be shocked if they start stocking up on Euro shooters in the 2nd round as well. They could draft, LOL, five Euro shooters in the 2nd Round and let them battle it out overseas for two or three years. But if Korkmaz or Luwawu is on the Board at 16, they have to grab the Euro shooter. It might not help them as much as we'd like next season, but if we can't swing a big four or five for one deal than he can also stay in turkey and continue to shoot his way into the NBA.
Also, don't be surprised if a different rookie makes a big impact next season. I though Terry Rozier looked like the real deal in limited playing time last season. Improving his 3-point shot could get him some instant minutes next season. "You get out what you put in," Rozier said. "I put in a lot of work shooting 3s. A lot of people said thatís where I was going to struggle and thatís probably my best thing. So itís something Iíve always worked on. Even early on I went to the practice gym and got up a lot of shots with my friends." I thought he look a little quicker and faster than everyone else on the floor when he played.
He as some serious quick twitch upside. He just to become a better 3-point shooter. "[He] has got to continue to work to improve his shot and do it at the pace of an NBA defense," Stevens said. "And then I think anytime youíre talking about point guards, youíre talking about finishing. And you talk about different, creative finishes around the rim. And he has all the explosiveness in the world. And heís got good touch. And so I think heíll be able to grow in those areas pretty quickly." Which can honestly be said about all the Celtics.
The Celtics really should go Euro here. They have eight friggin' Draft picks. That is just ridiculous. In fact, they should go Euro with all eight picks if they want to retain more than one player's rights from this Draft. If Korkmaz is still on the Board I think Danny jumps all over him. He could easily play for two more years in Turkey. Then can come over to America as a veteran 20-year old with a killer Jumper.
The problem is that Danny doesn't draft Euros. Even though he claims that Drazan Petrovic and Kresimir Cosic are "Two of my all-time favorite players and people," Which is swell Danny, but you really need to draft a Euro or five. I think they are preparing to take the 3rd pick, hoping LA makes a mistake, and if not they will gladly take Bender.
But this leaves them a little vulnerable. Butler, Noel, and Okafor could give them a round or two in the Playoffs next year. That lure of instant improvement vs. long term improvements to a Championship level. Does one of these guys make them a legit contender? Butler is not a superstar in the normal sense, but his defense makes him more than just a 20 PPG scorer. But he has some petulance in his personality that can rub people the wrong way.
Okafor is an enigma. I really liked him in last years Draft. He showed some Duncan like qualities at Duke, but his rebounding and defense were so disappointing that he is out of that class in my mind. But I compared him to Duncan last year. He was the 3rd Pick in a much better Draft. He started off slow at Duke as well. He played primarily on the blocks at Duke, and has to learn to expand his game out while facing the basket, preferable at the angles like Duncan. So his whole offensive game has to change. Defensively he has to learn to use his long arms better to alter shots. He has to be able to average 10 RPG as well. His problem is that he did not look good last season. But can you judge him for his rookie season on the worst run team in the NBA? He has the talent, but he has to adjust his game to the ways the NBA is trending. He was unable to do that last year.
Noel could be the prize, but he has had trouble overcoming that knee injury. He has developed into a legit NBA rim protector and rebounder. But he still only averaged 10.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG, and 1.7 BPG. Those are not star numbers. He is still only 22-years old. I'm just not sure you can give up the 3rd pick in the Draft for a limited-offensively defensive center. Does he have a better shot at leading the Celtics to a championship than Bender or Brown? That is the question Danny has to answer. I say no.
The Player: Malachi Richardson: Shooting Scorer.
The Reason: If the Celtics trade the 3rd pick, they are likely to pick here. They are currently in a pissing match with Philly. Danny likes Okafor. But Philly needs Dunn, and they think pairing him with Simmons turns their team completely around next year. So Danny can't give up the farm, because he has them by the nuts. He told Philly that if they want Dunn then they have to give him Okafor. Philly naturally wants more. But Okafor was the 3rd pick in the Draft last year, and had such a disappointing season last year that they want to get rid of him.
Danny is in the power position here. He can't concede to their demands. He has to call their bluff, and it is a bluff. They need Dunn, we don't need Okafor. If they want the 3rd pick we will gladly exchange it for Okafor, but don't think we will give you more. They came to him. So it is time for Danny to show some of that meanness he played with on court, and tell his buddy Colangelo that it is a fair swap, and that Colangelo is lucky he is not asking for more.
They have to get some shooters. Richardson is not just a shooter, he is a scorer who can shoot. He has had some problems, but if he can put it all together, he can be a Playoff Killer. Now I'm not saying he is an instant star. I'm saying he has about a 10% chance to be a Jimmy Butler type player. Now that may seem bad, but with the 16th pick in a bad Draft that is the best odds of getting a top three player right here. Indy did it with George. The Bulls did it with Butler. The Celtics did it with Pierce. The Celtics don't need another chip, or asset, or role player. They need to take shots at guys who can be stars.
Richardson was a freshman, but he is 20 years old so he is a little more physically mature. He is not an 18 or 19 year old kid who is not physically ready to play in the NBA. He is not a finished product by any means, but he has an NBA body and a clutch jumper he can shoot on the move. He can play some minutes earlier than most of the young guys teams think will be stars. I think he has a shot because of the way he shoots. He has a tough style that can produce Playoff Killers or long ago released guys. It seems for every ten guys who are scorers who can shoot on the move, about one in ten make it big. But with all the average assets that they have they need to take a chance on a star. To me that is Richardson.
It looks like Evan Turner is going to the Knicks for a big contract. He was great last year, but he does need to dominate the ball to be effective. So they will need a wing who can step in and play. Likely Smart and Crowder will be the starting wings, but there is room for a third. I have been looking at Euros all over the place, but if we lose a couple free agents and trade a couple of players they might need some older guys to step in. And if they trade the 3rd pick, they are very unlikely to be able to trade 16 and 23, unless they trade back up into the top ten. So I am thinking more and more that they will use this pick.
Second Choice: Thon Maker C