Here is Part Two of my
2016 Boston Celtics
1st Round Draft Review.
SV=Standing Vert, MV=Max Vert + SR-Standing Reach = MVR Max Vert Reach.
It Could Happen:
So why not Kevin Durant to the Celtics? "By far the best option in the East are the Celtics, who have a boatload of assets for trades surrounding Durant with elite talent," Wojnarowski wrote. "In addition to being a good team already. The Celtics ranked fourth in defensive efficiency over the past season, and combining Durant with the elite perimeter defense of Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley would make the Celtics defense jump a level higher. Durant would be a perfect fit in Brad Stevensí spread offense, and the Celtics would have their hands on a two-way monster of a team. And thatís without making any additional moves that would surely follow." I think he wants to be a Celtic, and knows Boston is the best landing spot for him.
One thing about Durant is that he respects the history of the NBA like KG. If he wants to win a Championship, no one can argue that getting on a team in the East is his best chance. You only have to beat one elite team in the East (yes I know the Cavs won it all this year, but work with me here). If he wants to be the Man, than it is obvious that his best chance to win it all as the Man, is in Boston. If he wants to contend for the next 7 to 10 years than his only choose is conclusively the Celtics.
If he wins in Miami than it is still Wade and Bosh's team. Plus, Wade and Bosh are both breaking down and not the superstars they were. They will not be a superstars for much longer (if they still are at all). But the Celtics have great young veterans who are ready to take that next step into the East Finals with or without you Kevin. "To be honest, hearing your name in the trade rumors, itís a good thing. Just because it lets you know that other teams want you. It lets you know how valuable [you are], that other teams are trying to get you," Smart said. "So itís a good and bad thing. Just because, especially [when] youíve been in the city so long: youíve connected with the people, the fans, the community, and the organization. So when you do hear your name itís kind of like, 'dang!' But at the same time, like I said, it lets you know that youíre a valuable person. [But] I'm ecstatic to remain a Boston Celtic. I love Boston. I love their fans. I love the organization and everything about it." Just like Kevin would.
In Boston, he will be joining a young team that can add another big veteran, and be instant competition against Cleveland for East supremacy. "Itís incredible," Marcus Smart said. "A guy his size to do what he does. Itís unreal. I think any team would love to see Durant and those type of caliber players on their team. But weíre not the ones that make that call. So we just kind of sit back and wait. And whatever decisions that the front office makes, weíre ready to run with it." There is no one who can argue that he would be the Man, in Boston.
Plus, with great young veterans on the team the winning is sustainable (maybe for 15 to 20 years). Which it simply isn't in Miami. "The hype was high," Smart said. " You really didnít know. Everybody was on the edge of their seats, and Danny knows what heís doing. We trust Danny and we believe in Danny. And we know Danny made the right decision. We stand behind him 100 percent." The Celtics have drafted smart players who understand that winning is everybody in the organization working together.
I have been calculating in the chaos of my mind, and came to the conclusion to categorize Brown as a 6-7 Marcus Smart. "The other thing you see as you learn more about Jaylen, as you watch him more, is obviously the explosion, the work ethic," Stevens said. "He came in and did a 3-on-3 workout, he also came in and did a 1-on-0 workout and, in both those workouts, his tempo was really good, which usually is a good indicator that heís gonna make progress with his work, because he understands how to work the right way. He really performed well at each of those workouts. There were a lot of good players in those spots to choose from and all those guys will have a chance to have great careers. We thought Jaylenís versatility and Jaylenís drive to improve really made a great statement to us." Those two guys, along with Bradley and Crowder can be one of the top defensive units in the League (and if you'll pardon me Kevin, if they had Horford in at Center, they would be the best defensive unit in the NBA in a year or two).
Smart is my favorite pick of Danny's. He is that tough, team oriented, and a Playoff Killer that all teams need. "He's an athletic wing," Smart said about Brown. "The dude is a freak of nature, actually, athletic-wise. I've seen him play a little bit. His defense is a little scary, having that length on him. I'm excited to be able to play in the backcourt with him." He said he loves that Brown is "ready to rip somebody's head off." Those are two guys you can build a winner around.
The biggest kicker of all though Kevin is that you could win it all with the Celtics the next two years, and still snag the top pick in the Draft the next two years. "Outside of re-signing with Oklahoma City, the Celtics offer perhaps the most appealing destination for Durant," Wojnarowski wrote. "There are several factors why the Celtics remain a threat to the Thunder." With Westbrook set to go to LA, and after the trade of Chewbacca (yes, I did that on purpose Kevin), I think the Celtics are the only destination for Durant if he wants to be a Champion.
In five years, Durant could be the elder statesman on a team with three or four young Lottery Playoff killers. If the Nets picks turn into transcendent players, the Celtics could be on the verge of a Bill Russell like Championship run, with you Kevin as the Man. And your name, and number, and Legend would be raised to the rafters next to Russell, Jo Jo White (who was the star in my first game at the Garden on a poor kid's trip in the 70s with the YMCA), and Larry Legend.
And maybe all three Picks will work out and maybe they don't. But the Celtics also don't need the three picks to work to be Champions if they get Durant and Horford. But Kevin... if they do work out... If all three work out...? We are talking about a return to the Russell Celtics in the 60s. And that is not hyperbole. I cannot stress this enough, the Celtics are not getting three straight top five picks because they stink like skunk-butt, they are getting three straight Lottery picks because they are the best run Organization in the NBA right now.
They are not only adding three top rookies to a team that is so bad, and so badly run, that they earned those Lottery picks through utter incompetence. Those picks will be exercised by one of the top run Franchise in the current NBA, and the best run Franchise in NBA history. With one of the best young coaches to the NBA as well. There also is the all important feeling of stability in this Organization that most other teams simply don't have. In the least, most NBA coaches are really on one-year contracts.
You can laugh at that all you want. But if you want to have a 15 to 20 year Playoff run, like the Celtics, Pats, and Spurs? Than Kevin, you not only need that signature Franchise guy like Bill, Tom, or Tim (or Kevin?), you damn well better have stability in ownership, the front office, and the HC. It cannot be done otherwise. Is that something the Heat have? No. There coach is on a constant one year contract.
And the Heat are in the process of losing their last two superstars, and maybe the one last Superstar they have left. "Obviously the Heat and their doctors don't think he can play," Windhorst said. "We know this because he didn't play [in the playoffs]. If this stalemate doesn't change. If the Heat doctors do not believe he can play in the fall, the Heat are going to be in a difficult position because they may have to try to get Chris Bosh to consider medically retiring." Bosch might die if he tries to play again. So of their Big Three that won two Championships, only Wade remains, and he is not what he used to be.
This off season is far from done. It has only just begun. They still have free agency, where you get the real impact players for this season. "No. Absolutely not," Ainge said about deals being done. "We havenít even begun free agency. The summertime is when most deals and most things are done to build your roster. We have a lot of cap flexibility, so weíre certainly not done." So the idea that this the Celtics final roster this season is simply ignorant.
They are hot on the trail of Kevin's buddy Horford. "The Hawks, of course, face a stiff challenge in trying to retain Horford," Marc Stein wrote. "Who sources say is expected to draw free-agent interest from a number of teams, including the Lakers, Rockets, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets." That list is the most interesting sign that the Celtics know what Durant wants and needs to have to come to Boston. "Worth noting: Celtics are only team on @ESPNSteinLine's list of Horford suitors that also have free agency meeting setup with Durant." The signing of Horford would be another sign that Durant is expressing serious interest in coming to the Celtics.
The Celtics know that Horford could be the final piece in Durant coming here. "Weíre not done," Wyc said. "What happens next week? We have room for two max guys. The thinking and trying to improve the team starts next week in free agency. Weíll see if we can get anyone to come, and weíre going to work hard on that." And I'm not saying Horford is what he was a few years ago.
But he is a rim protector, which the Celtics need. He is a rebounder, which the Celtics need. He also developed a 3-point shoot, which killed the Celtics in the Playoffs. He has made himself the stretch-5 that the Celtics need with or without Durant. "Weíve been thinking about free agency for a while," Ainge said. "So yeah, weíre already into free agency with our planning and preparation." And when you look at that planning and preparation, it spells K-E-V-I-N, over and over again.
So the Celtics distained trades in the Draft, because they know they could have something dynastic if they can put the future pieces together correctly. "Not more than what we feel," Ainge said. "I want to do a deal. But itís my job to oversee the Celtics and not do what makes me look really good and do something thatís instant gratification. Itís like weíre trying to build something. Itís a big responsibility, and I take it very seriously. Weíre going to keep trying to do bigger deals that people will cheer instead of boo. I think itís hard for fans because they donít see, and they donít know what is real. Thereís so much talk about it on TV shows and radio talk shows and so forth that they donít see whatís really happening. I'm a firm believer that if all [you all] were sitting in my office and listening to our conversations, there might be 5 or 10 percent disagreement if this deal is good or not. But 90 percent, Iím pretty confident, would say, 'No, you canít do that.'" So he bite the bullet and took the guy they thought be a star in five years. Now they just need to show the same smarts and resolve and Max out Horford to lure Kevin into a dynasty.
8. Traded to Phoenix- 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: I had this pick.
I'm not a big fan of this kid.
"It's beneficial because you grow together, you learn things together and have experiences that no one really has had," Chriss said. "You grow up and kind of mature together when you're competing against each other every day."
He plays defense like a scarecrow, and doesn't know how to rebound.
He is not a smart player or an all out all the time player. "I'm Dynamic," Chriss said. "I feel like I can shoot from 3. I can take the ball and put it on the floor and I can attack the rim." He has some exciting physical and offensive talent.
That is what excited Phoenix about him. "It was a crazy turn of events that I ended up here," Chriss said. "When they picked him [Bender at Four], I was like, 'dang, guess I'm going somewhere else,' And they worked some type of magic and I ended up here." His defense is unacceptable for a guy with his elite physical talent. He has nice length and can jump through the roof.
I think he is big boom or bust pick. "He just kept getting better and better and better," GM McDonough said. "He went from having a decent game every second or third game at the beginning of the year, to at the end of the year he was playing pretty well almost every night, and making some spectacular plays that not many guys at the NBA can make." He has that knack for the spectacular, but can he make the consistent plays that make teams win.
He doesn't get low and
picks up fouls like dogs picks up ticks in May. "When they passed on me, I was like,
'aw, man'", Chriss said. "I really like the organization all around and I respected them for that and Iím truly grateful that they went to that amount of effort to get my on the team."
That is why they passed on him at Four.
If Chriss had played defense with better effort he could have gone at Four. "It was really close between those two guys with the fourth pick," McDonough said. "We went back and forth on it. Theyíre both tremendous young players. Itís really hard to find talented, young big guys." But Bender plays defense hard.
Bender is also a better rebounder, passer, and shot blocker. "I think itís a great thing for the Phoenix organization," Bender said. "Just to have two young guys combined with older guys that can help us to adjust ourselves to the NBA as soon as possible. I guess itís going to be even better in the practices to compete against each other every day." But, Chriss can shoot the Three.
The Player: Marquese Chriss: Pure Explosion.
The Reason: Chriss has the dreaded potential to be a top five player from this Draft. "I feel like my potential is really endless," Chriss said. "I donít love anything more than competing and having somebody to go hard against me in practice is going to bring out the best in both of us." He doesn't seem to understand what he doesn't understand.
At this point it is about getting someone who can play quick, or taking a shot at upside. "I really like the organization all around and I respected them for [trading up for me]," Chriss said. "Iím truly grateful they went to that amount of effort to get me onto the team." They traded the 13th and 28th pick along with last year second 1st Bogdan Bogdanovic for the Kings' 8th pick (Divac does love his Euros).
The Lottery is still about getting stars in the NBA. Chriss has the most upside of anyone left on the Board. "It was just communication," Chriss said. "We were just talking about different things. We didnít really talk much about the team. They were trying to get to know me and I just talked to the coaches. Earl Watson, me, and [an assistant coach] were really just having a conversation just about each other." 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 had 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: I had this pick.
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.
They had to get another Big if they wanted to do some damage in the Playoffs again next year. Poeltl is a beast inside. Bigs are back in the NBA. Teams are learning to defend the perimeter again, and one way to help is to hurt small ball teams inside.
The Player: He is a nice physical presence in the paint. Great hands. Already a player with great fundamentals. "Heís fundamentally sound, physically NBA-ready body but just like most young kids heís going to have to get used to the NBA game and the speed and quickness," his new HC Casey said. "But we really feel like it will translate to the NBA game." He can catch the ball all over the place and pull it in the hole.
Carves out a spot on the offense glass nicely. "They did a lot of looking around, a lot of talking as far as the pick was concerned but nothing developed," Casey said. "Luckily the guy that we wanted was there. I know the guys did a lot of work scouting this guy." Goes up through the other center and grabs the ball with some physicality.
He has a nice quick jump hook from the left block. Does not always get down court as fast as you'd like. "There were differences in the room and thatís what you want, but the overriding consensus was this young man," Casey said. "But you want different opinions. You usually come to the truth when you have different opinions." 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 is terrific in the pick and roll. "When it happened I screamed," Raptors 1st from last year Delon Wright said. "He's legit. He was good before he came to Utah. On pick and roll, he rolls really hard. A lot of Bigs donít really roll hard, and you have to teach them. He came in rolling really hard and finishes well. He has great hands." Guards love big pick and roll centers.
Some think he can play the Four. "Wayne [Embry, who advises to the Raptors] just mentioned right before I walked in here that he could see the young man playing the four," Casey said. "That is one great thing about summer league. There will be a point where we can see (about) that, but we do have a hole at the four position and his foot speed is really impressive as far as moving so that is something we will explore." Though I don't know why they would want him to play the Four.
He decided to stay in school last year. "Heís a poster child for what itís like to stick around for another year,"
Utah 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."
He fulfilled that potential.
He had a great sophomore season. "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." He almost doubled his PPG from his freshman season, and raised his rebounding by 2.3 RPG.
But he still needs work on his jumper. "Itís inconsistent," Poeltl said when asked 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 only attempted one 3-point shoot in two years at Utah.
He was 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." He was an international guy who is originally from Austria.
He is insurance for their free agency problems "His size and skill will be a great addition to our frontcourt," Krystkowiak said when they signed him. "Jakob also brings valuable international playing experience to our team. We look forward to getting him on campus and working with him." He will back up Valanciunas as a rookie.
The Reason: Pre Draft:
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.
10. Milwaukee- Thon Maker- C/PF, High School SR- Orangewood Academy, 19 years old,
7-1, 216, 9'2.5" SR, 36.5" MV, MVR 12-3! 7-3 WS, SV 32",
The Team: No-no-no. Maker is the real deal. "He had a terrific workout in New York," McKinney said. "What surprised us after was the lack of chatter in HoopsHype [rumors]. But I think some other people were thinking the same thing; he would slip a little. The NBA kind of has a herd mentality. But sometimes you have to step outside that. We saw how much he improved physically. And from a physical standpoint, how much better he was shooting the ball with range and his mobility." No one has drafted young freaks better than the Buck this century.
This was the guy they targeted and did a good job keeping it a secret. "We even kept it quiet in house," McKinney said. "As long as I've known John and as long as we've worked together, I wasn't sure what he was thinking. That's how close he was playing it to the vest." I agree with them. If Maker really is only 19-years old, he has a chance to be a real star in five years.
They even surprised Thon. "I think I was surprised (to be picked so high by the Bucks)," Maker said. "Also, I just prayed that was it. I had a great feeling leaving this city after the workout." He is a mean, all out all the time, KG-like maniac on the court. I loved how he cowed other Bigs his own age.
I am a little troubled by some things off the court. But when he is on the court, he can play. "I've only been playing this game seriously since January 28, 2011," Thon said. "I still have my train pass to my first practice at Next Level Basketball Australia. The sky is the limit on what I can become and what I can do. In the league you have access 24/7 to the best teachers in the world. All you have to do is listen and work and live in the gym. My routine will be the same everyday no matter the day. Look at Kawhi Leonard or Jimmy Butler. That's just work. Even look at Kobe from when he first got to the league to now. You have to work and love it." He showed he was a worker last year.
I would have stood up and clapped if the Celtics got him at 16. "We're really excited about him." GM John Hammond said. "You're always concerned if you can put your head on the pillow at night knowing if you drafted somebody you can trust. We felt that with Thon. We know he's going to do everything he can to be the best player he can be." They have their Big Three: Antetokounmpo, Parker, and Middleton. Now they just need some athletic Bigs around them, and maybe a real point guard.
You have to be mean to be a star in the NBA. No one was meaner on the court than Larry and MJ. "I think he'll eventually be a 5 in our league," Hammond said. "He's got the size. "He plays really hard. He's a tough kid. I think his defense will come along a lot quicker than the offense. I'd have him watch Tyson Chandler video. Rudy Gobert. Those guys were thin, too. He can do more than those guys can on the perimeter, I'm just not sure his NBA coach will want him to." Now they just have to develop him, and build their young team around him.
Now he's living the dream. "It has [only been] five years when I decided I first wanted to be a pro and take basketball serious," Maker said. "So it's been a long time because Iíve put in a lot of games, a lot of work, and to finally see it pay off, really , I lost words. When I was walking there, trying to say 'thank you' to my family, just took lots of words, and I speak with them every day. It was a different situation. Mentally, you just canít wait. Physically, youíre trying to control yourself, and at the same time itís unreal" Milwaukee has some great young talent.
The Team: Thon Maker: High School Phenom.
The Reason: Bigs are back in the NBA
I predicted Labissare here, but my reasoning works for Thon as well: "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."
11. OK City- Domantas Sabonis- Gonzaga, PF 6-10, 238, WS 6-10.5,
11.8 RPG, 17.3 PPG, 1.8 APG, 2.6 TO-PG! 0.9 BPG! 31.8 MPG, 61,1 FG%, 35.7 3PT%, 76.9 FT%
The Team: Sabonis is the best player under the rim in this Draft. Which can be good or bad. It lowers his upside. Sabonis was traded to OK City with Oladipo for Chewbacca. He should be a good player who can rebound and not much else in the NBA. But all teams need guys who are smart, can score a little, and rebound.
They will be looking for a more NBA ready players who can hopefully help them immediately. "Sabonis is so skilled," Seton Hall HC Willard said. "He's a tough guy to double because he passes the ball so quickly out of the post. Most big guys don't do a good job of passing it. He does a great job of passing it." He is not going to be a star in the NBA, he is too much of a stuck to the floor. But he could be a very nice complimentary player, and maybe a starter some day.
The Player: Domantas Sabonis: Daddy's Boy.
12. Atlanta- Taurean Prince- SF, Baylor, Senior, 21 years old, 6-8, 220,
6-11.5 WS, 8-6, SR, 36" MV, 33.5 SV, 11-6 MVR,
33 Games, 15.7 PPG, 6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 21.1 Min,
The Team: I was surprised at this pick. I though they needed a Big here, but they clearly were looking for Wings in this Draft. "In our view, it was a deep mid-rotation player draft," GM Wes Wilcox said. "We are always thinking about how players may fit together. Thatís kind of the way the Hawks play. We just try to make sure we are putting five guys on the court that complement each other. When we went into this draft, we were very aware of that. Ultimately when we are done, we think we have picked guys who not only complement each other but fit the system well." They got this pick for Jeff Teague. Prince is going to try to step into the void left by the DeMarre Carroll departure. He is one of those interesting shooting Wings who has a chance to develop into a star. It seems to happen every year to one of these guys.
The Player: Prince is an athletic wing who is best in the open court for a fast break team. He is a hot and cold player, who spent most of his career at Baylor coming off the bench. "He's gotten much, much better," an anonymous opposing coach said. "Each year he's gotten better and better. He's been able to add things to his game. I would say he's got to be a three, that big wing. He's got long arms, good wingspan. He's a streak shooter, not a good shooter. I'd say he's more of a scorer than a shooter. He's not going to blow by you, but he can get by you because he's so long. He's not going to straight line drive you."†The NBA needs scorers as much as shooters, and I though his 3-point shooting improved a little this season.
He should be able to contribute instantly to a winning team because of his experience coming off the bench. "He's a very talented player and a NBA prospect," UNLA HC Menzies said. "There's no question that he will continue to improve and get better." He is an elite athlete with great speed, quick twitch quickness, and leap.
He has experience coming off the bench, and was the best player coming off the bench in the NCAA 2014-15: Played 33 games with six starts during breakout season, averaging team-high 13.9 points in 26.3 minutes per game ... Named national Sixth Man of the Year, earned Big 12's Sixth Man Award and was chosen second-team All-Big 12 ... Averaged 16.6 points during a 16-game streak of scoring in double-figures, despite coming off bench in the 15 games against Big 12 opponents during the streak ... Scored in double-figures in 27 of 33 games played, made at least one 3-pointer in 30 games
Prince is a guy who had a better season least year coming off the bench in 2014-15 than this past year as a starter: Finished season ranked sixth in Big 12 in points per game (13.9), fourth in field goal percentage (.472), third in 3-point percentage (.395), sixth in 3-pointers made per game (1.8), seventh in steals per game (1.5) and 15th in rebounds per game (5.6) ... Improved to 15.6 points per game in conference play, good for third-best in league ... Ranked second nationally in points per game (13.9) by players with fewer than 10 starts ... Led team with 27 double-digit scoring games after posting only 12 double-figure games in first two seasons at Baylor combined.
He has nice Jumper: He arches his head back and falls back naturally on the shot. He has NBA range on his jumper. Really uses his legs well when he shoots. He has a little step back jumper. He is probably going to be a star in the NBA, because I am not his biggest fan. I think he will be a nice scorer off the bench that all good teams need.
Good defensive rebounder. Gets lazy sometimes on the Boards, but when he is locked in he can rebound. Watches defensive rebounding too much. He can gets physical on the O-boards, and has a nice little turn around from the blocks.
Tough to tell what he will be defensively, because he played mostly in a 2-3 zone. But he showed he was a quick twitch athlete on the court, and that showed up when he played defense. He played both the top and bottom wing positions in the zone. When he was in man he showed he could play some nice post defense. He also showed has has the feet and quickness to play nice perimeter defense. He has the potential to cover more than one position on defense. He has nice timing on blocks sometimes.
He can dribble to the hole lefty and finger roll it in. Slick passer inside sometimes. He is also a good wing rebounder. "You go up and grab the ball off the rim when it comes off, and then you grab it with two hands, and you come down with it, and that's considered a rebound," Prince said after Yale out rebounded them. "So they got more of those than we did." He also can play the roll of Captain Obvious.
He can really move in the open court. Great speed. Gets up high and slams it down in transition. "I think he was aggressive and he kept things simple," coach Scott Drew said. "When they gave him the drive, he took the drive, if they gave him the shot, he took the shot. He was decisive and he did not over-dribble. If he keeps doing that, he will be very effective. As long as he is on balance and it is a good shot, I don't care if it is from the parking lot because it has a chance to go in." When he takes what they give him he looks like a great instant offense guy off the bench.
2015-16 Senior Season: Started all 34 games, averaging team-best 15.9 points in 30.6 minutes per game ... Named All-Big 12 First Team, becoming fifth player in program history to be named to first team by league's coaches ... Selected to media's All-Big 12 Second Team for second consecutive season ... Only player to rank among Big 12's top 15 in points, rebounds, steals and blocks ... Finished fourth in league in scoring (15.9), ninth in rebounding (6.1), 13th in blocks (0.7) and 15th in steals (1.3) ... Also ranked 11th in Big 12 in free throw percentage (.774), 10th in 3-point percentage (.361) and eighth in offensive rebounding (2.4) ... Posted in double-digit points in 28 of 34 games, including 16 of 18 games in Big 12 play ... Scored 20-plus points in seven games, including two 30-point games ... Played at least 22 minutes in all 34 games ... Had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in just 25 minutes against Savannah State (11/23) ... Posted 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes vs. Arkansas State (11/27) ... Earned career-first Big 12 Player of the Week honor after scoring then-career-high 30 points, adding five rebounds and three steals in 37 minutes of win over No. 13 Vanderbilt (12/6) ... Posted back-to-back double-doubles with 11 points and 13 boards against Northwestern State (12/8) and 11 points and 10 rebounds against Hardin-Simmons (12/16) ... Scored career-high 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting, tying Ferrell Center record for field goals made in a game, added six rebounds and three steals in 31 minutes vs. New Mexico State (12/23) ... Made 12-of-12 free throws at Kansas (1/2), setting program record for most made free throws without a miss in a Big 12 game ... Led Baylor to win at No. 13 Iowa State (1/9) by posting third double-double of season with 18 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes ... Played career-high 46 minutes and recorded fourth double-double of season with 19 points and 13 boards in double-overtime win vs. Kansas State (1/20) ... That game started streak of 15 consecutive games scoring in double-figures, averaging 16.8 points per game during the streak ... Had 22 points and eight boards in 31 minutes of win at TCU (2/27) ... Recorded fifth double-double of season with 19 points and 10 boards in 33 minutes vs. West Virginia (3/5) ... Led Baylor to win over No. 22 Texas (3/10) in Big 12 Championship quarterfinals with sixth double-double of season, recording 24 points and 13 rebounds in 37 minutes ...Set Baylor record for points in an NCAA Tournament game with 28 points on 12-of-24 shooting against Yale (3/17).
2014-15 Junior Season: ... Posted 15-plus points 16 times and had seven 20-point games ... Made first start of season vs. Memphis (11/27), scoring 20 points in 30 minutes ... Had career-first double-double in Big 12 play with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes off bench in overtime win at TCU (1/10) ... Scored 20 points, added five rebounds and four steals in 29 minutes off bench at Kansas State (1/17), starting streak of 16 consecutive games scoring in double figures ... Posted 20 points in 28 minutes off bench vs. Oklahoma State (2/9) ... Recorded 22 points in 32 minutes off bench in win at Texas Tech (2/17) ... Posted 14 points with then-career-highs of five assists and five steals in win vs. Kansas State (2/21) ... Scored 20 points in consecutive games, leading Bears to wins at Iowa State (2/25) and vs. West Virginia (2/28) ... Put team on his back, scoring 20 of his 24 points over final 13 minutes in three-point win vs. Texas Tech (3/6) ... Played then-career-high 38 minutes off bench, never leaving game after entering off the bench two minutes in vs. Tech ... Posted third career double-double with team-highs of 18 points and 15 rebounds in NCAA Tournament game vs. Georgia State (3/19).
13. Traded to Kings- Georgios Papagiannis- C Greece, 19 years old, 7-2, 265,
5.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 15.6 Min,
The Team: This is a great pick! I take back half the bad things I said about Divac. Papagiannis can play. Maker and Georgios could be the two guys who could turn this average Draft into a top Draft (along with Guerschon and Ante of course). Both have a chance to be real stars, though Maker also has a chance to be out of the League in five years as well. But Papagiannis is the real deal. I don't think he has as high an upside as Maker, but I did kind of guarantee that he was a legit NBA center.
Divac also made a couple of screwy trades. "We started our day with one [1st pick], and we turned that pick into a lot of talent thatís going to join us," Divac said. "We followed the Greek for a long time, and we felt good to turn that pick into three different picks, basically, and get him at No. 13." I just watched Tape of him for the first time on Draft Day and I was shocked. I cannot believe that no one else seemed to have in the 1st Round. So much for the so called experts.
I jokingly said that he was better than Maker, and he might just be. "Actually itís going to be a great experience for me," Papagiannis said. "Being in the same environment as these guys. I want to play in the NBA as soon as possible. [But] that's about the team." He has the size, strength, and shocking agility to be a perennial All-star.
He is a pure planet pick. "We followed him for a year and we thought he wasnít going to be available after 18, so thatís why we took him at the 13," Divac said. "And if you ask me who he reminds me [of]? He has the potential to be a new Marc Gasol." There are less than five guys on this planet with his height, agility, and strength, and maybe only one.
He is a 7-2 freak, who lifted a PF, who tried to push his elbow down, almost off his feet with his elbow. "Heís a tall kid thatís very mobile running up and down the floor," Divac said. "Playing very good defense. [He] did very well shooting from outside." I loved him so much I gave him to the Celtics in the 2nd Round.
I think I am going to throw up from eating crow, because the Kings just made the best pick in the Draft. I wrote that he is a guaranteed NBA Center the morning of the Draft. I never wrote that about another prospect ever. It is also wonderfully ironic that the son of Sabonis was drafted two picks a head of him. Because maybe the only guy you can compare his size, athleticism, and strength too his Domantas' Dad.
The Player: Papagiannis is a 7-2 rebounder and rim protector who is still 19 years old. He is a little stiff, but is smoother than you'd think for a guy as big and strong as a Cyclops. He is not just tall, he is strong as an ox. He is built like Mark Eaton. And he can shoot the Three. "Iím going to be a center that shoots three-point shots," Papagiannis said. "If coach lets me do it." He got position on an opposing Center, and elbowed him up. He almost lifted his whole body off the floor just raising his elbow up. He makes other Bigs look like kids he is beating up.
Great post defender against other 7-footers. No one has better length and strength than he does, and he makes good centers look small and weak in post defense. Smart kid who understands positioning. Great leap over the little guard stepping down from the foul line to pin the ball on the backboards.
Terrific rolling to the hoop, and has great agility going up and slamming down the alley oop. This guys moves like a 6-10 power forward. He can grab the rim with both hands on the dunk, pull himself up, and swing his legs over the other Big underneath him so he doesn't get hurt. That is impossible strength and agility for a 7-2 265 pound kid. Impossibly long as well, and dunks without really trying.
He is a righty who has a little lefty hook scoop leaning past the defender. Great coordination for a true 7-2 Big. Gets good position on the Boards, and no one gets up higher off both feet for the board than him. I'm not big on made up stats, but his 21.3 points per 40 minutes is impressive for a 19 year old in Greece. Great rebounder. Showed flashes of brilliant quickness taking the ball all around the rim.
He has great surprising speed in the open court. That cat can really run. He doesn't struggle with his legs like a lot of Bigs. He is a pure freak. I think I like this kid more than Thon Maker. Like Maker he also spent a year in the States learning English and will have an easier transition than most Euros.
Yup, yup. I definitively like him more than Maker. When you can get a 7-2 guy with long arms and has a nice jumper hook, it is unstoppable. Nice hands. He doesn't struggle to catch the ball one handed at all. Also his 13.5 rebounds for 40 minuets and 4 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes is something you can see on the court. He has to keep his conditioning up, and then he is a guaranteed starting center in the NBA.
Bigs are back in the NBA baby! He actually got an NBA jersey when he
was a kid back in Greece, and it was a Sacramento Kings shirt.
"Being drafted by the Sacramento Kings was a great thing for me," Papagiannis
said, "A dream come true." And he really meant it.
Divac has already said that he is going to play in Sacramento this year. "Georgios is coming this year," Divac said. "I would be crazy if I thought it differently." He has an NBA body already.
He is bigger and much more skilled than Cauley-Stein who they took last year at 13. "I watched him work out and our scouts followed him very much," Divac said. "We think that he can definitely be something similar to what Willie was last year." Willie Cauley-Stein was able to step right in and contribute last year. And I'm telling you, Papagiannis is a better player. Congratulations Kings fans, you not only got the most underrated player in this Draft, you also just found yourself a GM.
14. Chicago- Denzel Valentine- Mich ST, Sr, PG/SG 6-5.75, 210, MVR 11-2, SR 8-6,
32" MV, SV 27", 7.8 APG,7.5 RPG, 2.7 TO-PG, 19.2 PPG, 33 MPG, 46.2 FG%, 44.4 3PT%, 85.3 FT%,
I had a feeling the Celtics weren't going to get this guy, but I
really hoped they would. "He's a versatile 4 who can stretch the floor and score at the
rim," Forman said. "He's also a solid athlete who moves well, plays hard and has good size for his position and a solid feel for the game."
He is one of the most versatile team guys in this Draft.
He is a senior who can step in and contribute right away. "He's going to have a role," GM Gar Forman said. "He's a guy who makes his teammates better because of his ability to pass and his understanding of the game. I think he's a guy who can play the system Fred wants to play with some pace. So where he plays, exactly where he fits, some of that will be worked out. But we're pretty confident he is going to fit." And when you are tanking, you need to put young players on the court to make it look good. Oh, yeah, and get them experience.
This kid was made to play small ball with his rebounding, shooting, and passing kills. "I think in today's game, you're seeing more teams go small and play the small ball with more pace; shooting's at a premium," Forman said. "And you even look at the 3-point numbers that just continue to rise, and it's been something we've been conscious of the last couple years. It's the reason why we've brought in guys like Doug and Niko. You've got to have the ability to space the floor and give your offense a chance to work. [It's] important that we got another guy that can knock down perimeter shots." This was the guy the Celtics really needed. This is the second straight elite pick in this draft.
The Player: Denzel Valentine: Most Versatile Player In The Draft
He is the best and most versatile Basketball player on the Board. If they want a player who could come in and contribute this season than Valentine is their man here. He is a great leader. "Obviously heís received a great number of accolades for his on-court performance, and heíll graduate this May," coach Izzo said. "But what makes him truly special is his leadership and his service. He felt an obligation to his teammates, his basketball program, his university and even his community. And every day that he stepped in the gym, he worked to get better and accomplish great things for others. He became the face of this team, and he handled it with class." Great team player. Great defender. Great point guard.
Statistically he was the best point guard in college basketball when he took over the point this season. "Valentine just took over," Kansas HC Self said after Valentine had 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. "He was great tonight. I've always thought he was a good player. But tonight I think he proved to everybody he's an exceptional player. He totally controlled the game when they were coming back." He started garnering triple doubles like they were burps at a pig roast. He can come off the bench for Orlando, and give some minutes at multiple positions. As a rookie he could back up at: PG, SG, SF, and stretch-4.
In order to play for this Orlando team a rookie is going to have to find multiple ways to help them to get on the court. Orlando is like the Celtics. They have a lot of very good players, but no superstar or two. They really want to trade multiple assets for a star as well. The latest Michigan State prospect is not an undersized power forward, but he can cover the PF position a little and hit threes. Against Wisconsin in last year's Big Ten Champ game he was covering the 6-10 Decker most of the game. In Izzo's defense they had him covering different guys sometimes every possession. He started the game off covering Kaminski. Then switch off to Decker.
Then covered the PG and SG in the first half as well. He mainly cover Decker, but he is as versatile defender as there is in college basketball. He is as tough a defender as Smart in the post. He is not as physical as Smart, but has more length and is a better box out rebounder than Smart. If you want to go small ball you have to have guards who can cover PF and C in the post and still rebound like Smart and Valentine.
He led the NCAA in triple doubles last season. He was taught defense by Tom Izzo. Like Draymond Green, he is endless energy on the court, minus the crazy. It doesn't matter where you play him he impacts winning everywhere. He made clutch shot after clutch pass. Then made clutch rebound after clutch score. Yes, he is a Senior so the dreaded upside is not necessarily there. But he is still only 22, and Larry Legend himself said that players don't come into their prime until they are 28 years old. So he has six more years of potential to grow into.
Valentine will go lower than he should. He is a senior. He played with sore knees last season. He also is a little goofy, so he should drop. He is an ultra versatile player like Green. He covered PFs and Centers in college. You can see him on Tape covering all five positions at Michigan State. He mainly played SG, SF, and PG.
The Reason: This team is in disarray. They are loosing both starting Bigs. Have Jimmy Butler on the trading block. And just traded Rose. "Knowing Derrick as I do makes this trade a hard one," 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 lost Derrick Rose, and are losing centers Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, their free agent Bigs with no intention of returning.
Bulls are in complete tanking mode. "We had a great run for 10 years," Forman said. "The last decade, we've got the best record in the Eastern Conference. We've put together a group that we thought was highly competitive and probably had a chance to get to a championship level. The injuries obviously derailed us quite a bit, especially the last few years. And then last year there were just so many of them. But we've got to put this back together now, going younger, more athletic and building it back up moving into the future."
They were planning to lose three of the five starters before the
This team is going full bore for the 1st or 2nd pick in the 2017 Draft. "We've got to weigh everything that comes in front of us," Forman said. "And obviously the cap will spike this summer, then it will spike again the following summer, then I think it will start to flatten out. What we've got to keep in mind is not only short-term but long-term and trying to put together the best plan for our team moving forward. So we've got to weigh those things as it begins. Obviously we've got an eye on this year, but we've also got an eye on two, three years from now and even four or five years out as far as managing our cap and putting together the best team we can." This team is in big trouble.
15. Denver- Juancho Hernangomez- PF, Estudiantes, 20 years old , 6-9, 220,
34 Games, 11.3 PPG, 56.9% 2-P, 5.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 16.8 Min, 36% 3-P, 77.4 FT%,
The Team: They are like the Celtics, in that they liked their roster and were looking for some draft and stash guys. "We're not sure," Connelly said about stashing Juancho. "Both options are open. There is a pretty good international situation if we want [him] to marinated a bit overseas. I think certainly, he has the game to come over. If youíre productive at the ACB level it generally translates. Itís a conversation weíll have with his representatives." The Spanish League he played in last year is the second best League in the world behind the NBA.
have no intention of bringing him over this year. "Weíll talk to his
agent," Connelly said. "He shares an agent with Jusuf Nurkic.
And his agent internationally is Igor Crespo. Two guys Iím very friendly with, good guys. Weíll sit down and figure out whatís best both for Juancho and the
organization." He needs more development before he is ready for
the NBA, and he is in the best spot in the world for that.
And apparently they can now work out deals to get Euros under contract into Vegas. "Iíd like them all [at Summer League in Vegas]" Connelly said. "We have to see whatís best for him and us. Iím sure weíll have that answer next week." The Celtics got Yabusele in.
Whether Hernangomez stays in Europe or is in Denver next season, the Nuggets remain extremely high on the prospect they selected in the middle of the first round. It really is a big deal to play in Spain for these young kids. "We liked his pedigree. I think his work ethic stands out," Connelly said. "Heís a very difficult guy to find right now, those 6-9, 6-10 guys who can defend stretch-4ís and switch off a 4/3 pick and roll, can make a shot, rebound. Heís not a ball dominant guy. I think we have a bunch of playmakers, we need some finishers, guys that can make quick decisions." Plus, he has a brother who was drafted in the 1st as well.
The Player: Juancho is not the same player as his brother. He is a little slow footed sometimes. He is a terrible passer who can't get an assist every game. He still has some growing up to do physically. He is 20 years old, so he still has a lot of growing to do mentally as well. His brother was drafted by the Knicks last year. He still has more of a kids game on defense, and can look real bad on defense.
He and his brother used to dream of playing in the NBA together. "Itís really different to play against your brother," Juancho said. "I got the opportunity to play against him, and then play together on the national team. So we are really proud to be the next brothers." it really is an amazing accomplishment.
He has to add weight and strength, because he cannot cover NBA small forwards. Gives the ole' effort too much on defense. He has some nice offensive skill, but he still plays defense like a kid. He gets suckered by up fakes like they are shiny new pieces of candy. He cannot say no to an up fake no matter how much it hurts his teeth. He does not understand position in the post on defense at all. Doesn't understand defensive position in a lot of situations. Doesn't learn from his mistakes. The good news is that he got beat up by a lot of bigger, stronger, and older guys in Europe last year, but he never gave up. He continued to try hard on defense.
He is an odd player who does a lot of odd things. Like he shoots a lefty layup better from the right side. He almost always two-dribbles to the basket, but looks better doing it lefty. He can two dribble to the left, but doesn't like to shoot it left. He has a good feel for when he can beat guys off the dribble. Worked hard on his lefty dribble, and tends to drive left. Shoots it with both hands sometimes.
He has a nice smooth jumper. It is not quick and he needs a little time to shoot it. But he is tall and uses his ankles well to go up. He keeps the ball over his head, and can fall back a little when he bends his knees as well, and a defender jumps at him. Not an efficient 3-point shooter, and it only gets harder in the NBA. He is not a consistent shooter. He winds up sometimes. He has also has a quicker release that he shoots from further out. So he has some potential as a stretch-4, but he is far from there.
Nice foot work, he can curl off the screen turn and shoot. He will get out of balance when he does that sometimes and have to raise a leg for balance. He will sometimes drift to the side when he shoots it curling off a pick. Nice balance on the pick and pop. I like the way he shoots it off the pick and pop the most. Kicks his front leg out too much when he shoots the Three.
He does a nice job stepping over the lane to block a shot. Plays defense with his head up. "I want to keep working, and I donít know where," Hernangomez said. "For me, if I got any possibilities to go to the NBA with Denver, I got it." Not a great leaper. He likes to go off both feet, and not spring up. Plays well on both feet.
He plays with nice position on the pick and roll. Likes to go sideways so he can see each guy. Runs hard down the floor on the break. He can catch, one dribble lefty, and cut to the middle to put it in righty. He has great length and long arms. He is a draft and stash guy that you can leave in Europe for a couple of years, let him develop his body and jumper, and then bring him over as a stretch-4.
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. "The Nuggets are a fantastic
franchise," Hernangomez said. "Itís been a great experience but if Denver drafts me, Iíll be a great teammate and do everything I can to improve this
team." The Nuggets have said they want to try him at the 3
He showed a nice skillset in Spain last year. "This was a guy we had targeted," Connelly said. "He is a modern day 3 or 4. He has big-time basketball IQ." He is learning from the best players outside the NBA.
16. Celtics- Guerschon Yabusele- PF Rouen, France, 20-years old. 6'8". 270, 7' WS,
34 Games, 11.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 18.6 Min,
The Team: I had this pick. Though I did have the Celtics taking him at 35.
I love-love-love Yabusele! He is a man. "I feel like a man, I can say it" Yabusele said. "I'm ready for the NBA. I just work on my body all the time, and try to do my best." He was over weight and out of shape before last season and worked himself into incredible shape by getting his weight down to 275 (which has to mean he was over 300. Right?
By working so hard to get himself in shape, he turned himself into the top transition player in France, and found his jumper. "I have a great 3-point shot," Yabusele said. "I try to improve my 3-point shot and get better. I try to be good on defense. I have good defense, but I try to be better." I loved how he moved his feet lateral last season on defense.
With his new "light" body he has the feet and leap to cover 3s and 4s in the NBA. "Maybe I lose some weight, because I do a lot of workouts," Yabusele said. "Maybe I lose a little bit, but I'm good with my weight like this, 275.I can run, I can jump. I can do other things." He was consistently not just the first down the floor transiting to offense, but was more importantly consistently the first down floor defensively.
He is so fast in the open court that he might be as fast as Brown in transition, but with 40 to 50 more pounds of muscle. "It's going to help me a lot," Yabusele said about losing weight. "Because like I said, I can shot. I can jump, [and have] the ability to run fast. So it will help me." He is a top transition shot blocker in this Draft.
He has an NBA body already. "I'm think ready for the transition," Yabusele said. "I know it's not going to be the same as in the French League. I'm sure. But, I really think I'm ready [for] defense [on a] a good 3 or good 4. So it's going to be a great experience for me, and I'm ready." He thinks he is ready for the NBA.
Only he was drafted as a draft and stash guy, because they don't have room on the roster for him yet. But his versatility could make them think twice. "What put me over the top for him was his ability to move laterally," Stevens said. "For a guy that size, the ability to move laterally is pretty unique. And so in all of the different agility stuff that we do and we measure, it was pretty impressive what he was able to do, and that stood out. Then when you watch him on film, heís going to be able to guard a few different spots, which, again, for that size is pretty unique." He was one of my top five favorite players in this Draft.
Yabuseleís has Unique Blend of Size and Agility. "It's not a problem for me even if I got to go one year, two years in Europe, in another country and play I'll go," Yabusele said. "I just want to play in the NBA and try to be better." I had the Celtics stealing him at 35.
He is a great big scrapper. He's only 6-8, but 275-pounds. Solid as a brick wall, and can knock guys down boxing them out. He is an elite thunder dunker. He gets up so quick and has the long arms to slam it down much quicker than defenders think. He has been taught solid fundamentals and is also a good passer and team player.
He has developed a 3-point shot from the Euro Three, which is deeper than the college arc. "I think the number one thing we need to continue to focus on is putting the ball in the basket," Stevens said. "So that needs to be over the next few weeks or months, as we finalize the roster, That will be a big factor. There's no question about that." He is twice the player Ellison is.
You will have a smile on your face when you watch his Tape. Elite speed running up and down the floor. He beats PGs up and down the floor. Like I said at 35 where I had the Celtics taking him, "The Celtics were the worst combination of rebounding and 3-point shooting (in the NBA) last year. Yabusele can rebound and shoot the Three."
We all knew that they didn't have enough roster spots for their picks. "Weíre not going to have all six guys on our roster this year," Ainge said. "Weíre in the process of figuring that out." So why is anyone surprised that Yabusele and Zizic are draft and stash players. "We have not had too much discussion on that," Ainge said about stashing their two new Euro Bigs. "We've had a little bit of discussion along that line, but Iíll answer that question later. That is a possibility but Iíll discuss it with them before I make any decisions." This is what they could draft here and at 23 and not lose assets: 1st round talents who do not have to be on their roster for a year or two.
Two of the Celtics top four needs, are 3-point shooting and rebounding. Those are two things that describe Yabusele best. He is NBA stretch-4 right now. Plus, they can stash him overseas for a season or two. They can't handle all the assets they have accumulated. When I finish my Celtics Mock I had them taking two college Wings, and six Euros. So far they are right on track (but ended up with two Euros, two picks traded, and four college kids with only one likely to make to active roster).
Everyone knew they were over-assestted. "Weíre not afraid to make deals," Ainge said. "If anybody knows the Celtics right now, they know weíre not afraid to make deals. But we donít want to make bad deals." Though I am a little sick of the bad deals mantra.
The Player: Guerschon Yabusele: Big Scrapper.
The Reason: They wanted to make a deal for a lower level star, but everyone wanted multiple star picks in return. "I think everyone wants a deal. I think everyone expects a deal. Weíve been working really hard on trying to get a deal and do something significant," Danny said. "But we just havenít been able to do it yet. And itís not because weíre not trying, itís not because weíre turning down or we overvalue our players or any of that stuff. Itís because you need a partner. Iíve said this many times before: I tried three years to get KG before we got him. It just takes the right time and the right place and have a partner that wants to do a deal." The real costs of the trades are starting to filter out, and a report has the Bulls asking for all three Nets picks for Butler.
You would have to be impossibly stupid to agree to that trade. "Eightís a lot," Ainge said. "I canít lie about that. It was more difficult than I even thought. It was a monumental task this year." But because of the three shiny new future Brooklyn picks that every GM in the NBA wanted, they were forced to use six of those picks (I love both Jackson and Bentil, but how in the hell is either going to make this roster).
though both those guys have NBA bodies already, there is no room in
the Inn for them. "The reason that these two guys are here
is because theyíre good players," Ainge said. "The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the international top level competition, tells you how good players they are. They could easily find jobs overseas at the top level. Theyíve earned that reputation. Theyíre both very productive.
Guerschon's very productive and Ante very good rebounding. Now weíre trying to figure out the best way they can help us for their development. Weíre working with their representatives on that
plan." The only way Danny had a chance to make this Draft as
productive as it should have been is with an eight for one trade for
an All-Star, or several draft and stash guys.
Now they have the young guy they think they can develop into a star, and a young Euro who has an NBA body and can continue to develop off their active roster. "Even if the coach decides to play me in Europe, I'll stay [in France]. I'm going to be happy. I'm very happy to be part of the Boston Celtics." Plus, Zizic has an NBA body and can play another year or two in a higher League, and develop off the active 15 man roster.
Plus, if they both take a big steps forward overseas again this year, one or both could be bigger pieces in a big trade for an All-Star. "Itís all part of the picture. So [Thursday], you didnít see very many transactions, trades involving players," Ainge said. "There were a few. But no huge big-name players. A few solid role players that were traded. Those could have major impact on flexibility. So we had opportunities to do some trades but they werenít significant enough of an upgrade to our franchise to do and we felt like it was more important to preserve flexibility this summer." So they maintained their flexibility and still drafted two guys who could be trading chips, but not on the active 15 man roster.
Just because you take a draft and stash in the Draft doesn't mean that you then can't trade them. "Thereís a lot of talk about trades at this time of year and thereís fewer trades made at this time," Danny said. "And a lot of reason is preparation for free agency and cap flexibility and a lot of trade being proposed and the trades that were even being done are capable of more, they potentially prohibit you from doing your plans in free agency and so there were a lot of calls. Bradís working hard. Weíre on the phone and talking and heís bringing me like two or three typewritten sheets of paper on what he thinks. His involvement is huge in this process and his input is very well-valued as all his coaches are." So even though they really like these two kids, doesn't mean that can't be two chips (in a Butler trade), after the realty of the limited free agents hits teams that no one wants to go to (like Da- Bulls).
So the only question is do they intend to keep Yabusele in Boston this year. Because I have never heard of a Euro playing in the Summer League and then not on the active roster. "I think the one thing with seeing all these guys come through, it helped expedite the coaching staffs learning curve," Stevens said. "Because you not watching specifically college games and/or international games all year long during the season. So to have a lot of these guys [come] through, but also know some of the guys that we were looking at that were not able to come, certainly from an international perspective, was really beneficial. Our staff put a lot of work in to try and catch up. These guys are really good players sitting right here with us." Maybe Brown and Yabusele play so well together that they cram them both into the 15 man roster.
You know Guerschon would love that. "Winning Championship, great team," Yabusele said when asked his thought on Celtics Franchise. "Great fans. big dream. Great people, and great players too." It is a very very long shot, but they are going to Vegas.
In the end, Yabusele and Brown offered similar NBA bodies with similar defensive versatility to play multiple positions in Steven's switching defense. "Was as a group on the whole, we added a lot of versatility," Stevens said. "We added guys that from a physical standpoint our ready for some of the banging and the rigors of the NBA. And each of them brings their own individual strengths to the table [like Yabusele and Zizic when there is contact and banging in the paint}. We still a ways away from having all that finalized [to play in the Summer league]. This will be great to see a lot of these guys play in the next few weeks." And best of all, we will get to watch them both play in Vegas in a few days.