Here is Part Thre of my 

2016 Boston Celtics 

1st Round Draft Review.

SV=Standing Vert, MV=Max Vert + SR-Standing Reach = MVR Max Vert Reach.

Horford And The Hawks.

The Celtics are going hard after Durant. They just offered Horford a Max deal, and he signed it. Now maybe that helps lure KD into the Garden Rafters next to KG and Pierce, and maybe not. But I'm sayin' Horford alone puts the Celtics into second place in the East. And you know, if your in the Eastern Conference Finals, and LaBron breaks, you can win.

The Celtics were actually lucky this year playing the Hawks in the 1st Round. The Celts young veterans got a Masters course in Playoff Basketball. It ain't like the Regular Season, when all the smart Playoff veterans are working and resting for the Playoffs. In the Playoffs, the veterans know every dirty trick in the book to beat the young guys. Being a scrappy little Regular Season team is nice. But you have to be more than that in the Playoffs.

The Hawks were a veteran hardened Playoff off team. Playoff basketball is smarter, tougher, and so much more physical. It is pure cut-throat winner basketball in the Playoffs. You have to be smarter, more versatile, and meaner to win in the Playoffs. Regular season basketball is fun and nice. There is nothing nice or fun about Playoff basketball, except winning. That is what the young Celtics had to learn from Horford and the Hawks last season.

Plus the Celtics were a flawed team offensively, as we all know. They over relied on Isaiah offensively, and they lacked shooters. The Hawks knew it. "It sounds crazy," Isaiah Thomas said. "But Brad has the potential to be one of the greatest coaches who ever lived." The Hawks game plan was to not let Thomas beat them at all costs.

The Veteran Hawks' double and tripled Thomas to death in those first two games. "He did a lot of what he did all year in the first two games," Stevens said about Isaiah driving to the rim. "It was just everybody was at the rim to challenge him. We made a couple shots and then we got some movement before the drive, which loosens it up a little bit." And the other Celtics were getting open shoots, but not knocking them down. 

When Bradley went down, I said the series was over. I'm still not sure how they came back. "I mean, the work he puts in first and foremost," Thomas said about Stevens. "The relationships he has with his players, I think that goes a long way, especially at the professional level. Everybody respects him. And you know when other players say nice things about your coach, you must be doing something right." Then they made the adjustments that got them back in the series, like putting Smart on Millsap (a 6-8 PF), and Smart dominated him.

Stevens made the adjustments again, and the young Celtics were learning the lessons that Atlanta was teaching them in the first two games. "I was just in attack mode," Thomas said, after he dropped 40. "I was trying to do whatever it takes to win this game, and my teammates kept feeding me and putting me in the right spots." They won game Three.

Plus, Thomas showed some Playoff meanness he learned from the Hawks. "I'm not [sorry]," Thomas said about smacking Schroder upside his head. "Because I didn't mean to hit him in the head. He got mad. We were talking. It's playoff basketball. I'm not going to back down from anybody, and he knows that." Only the Hawk's veterans wouldn't have said they didn't mean to smack an opponent upside the their head in the Playoffs.

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By all accounts, Horford is a great team leader, chemistry guy, and one of the most important locker room guys in the League. We also saw that he is a Playoff winner, and has stretched his game to the 3-point line. He also was always a great defender and rebounder. He really hurt the Celtics defending the rim in that series. The Hawks can't beat the Celtics with Horford on the Celts roster. That is why he is a Max Contract guy for the Celtics.

Since he signed with the Celtics it instantly makes them a much better Playoff team. Plus, the Celtics young veterans really learned their lessons in the Hawks' Master's class last year. Now, losing Even Turner was big. He was the one guy who could really dominate the last two minutes of a game offensively for the Celtics last season. He was the initiator in final two minutes of close games for them. But to be effective on the floor he really had to dominate the ball, which stifled the offense a little, because he's not really a point guard. But he clearly was their best clutch player.

But all those young guys who got all those minutes against the Hawk will not just be better next year, better in the clutch, and they will be much better in next years Playoffs. All young teams seem to have to take that beating from an older veteran team before they can take the next big step in the Playoffs. Getting Horford, and the lessons they learned from Horford and the Hawks last year, has forged them into the second best team in the East.

Whisper Words of Wisdom, "C'mon Home Kevin." Let It Be.

I'm confused? The number one thing that we heard about the Celtics Draft this year (even more than trades) was "draft-an'-stash". When you look up "draft-an'-stash" in the dictionary it now says "what the Celtics have do in the 2016 Draft." And now everyone is complaining about picks 16 and 23 being Euros? It just doesn't make sense.

One of the problems you have when you own three 1st round picks from the worst run Franchise, maybe ever, is that everybody and their brother wants those picks. So whenever teams talk with the Celtics about a trade, they started with two or three of the Brooklyn Picks, which the Celtics cannot trade under any circumstance. Except of course for a true transcendent player like Durant. 

That is first thing Danny has to hear every time he makes a call is about those three Nets picks, which he cannot trade under any normal circumstance. "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," Ainge 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 for three years to get [Kevin Garnett] before we got him. It just takes the right time and the right place and have a partner that wants to do a deal." This year's Draft was a crappy Draft, but next year's Draft could be one of those all time Drafts, and the 2018 Draft is certainly much better than this years Draft as well.

And in this years Draft they got a 6-7 Marcus Smart (my favorite current Celtic). And the best part of this deal is that the Brown's family have long been Celtic's fans. "Absolutely," Jaylen's dad Marcellus said. "Larry Bird? Are you kidding me? The back and forth with the Lakers and Magic Johnson, that was legacy, man. Those were great games to watch when I was growing up as a kid, and for him to go to the Celtics, Iím very proud." Watch Smart this year. In three year the Celtics could a 6-7 version of this year's Smart on their hands.

Smart has gotten better each of the past two years especially shooting wise, and looked like a star in waiting in the Playoffs against Atlanta. "First off, I want to say Iím happy to be a part of the family," Jaylen said. "I know Boston has a lot of history, a lot of tradition, and I want to add to that. I know itís a playoff team, so I love playoff basketball, and I canít wait to win. Boston is a great city full of culture, full of life, education, things that mean a lot to me. Iím super excited. I cannot wait to get there and canít wait to get everything started, canít wait for the season to start, and Iím happy to be a part of the family." They both bring so much to the table, but maybe most importantly, they both bring elite toughness, defense, and basketball meanness to the court.

And maybe I'm old school, but you've got to mean on the court to be great, like Larry and Michael. In three years if they can put three tough, mean, Playoff Killers, like Smart, Brown, and Horford, with Durant, who is going to beat them? You add Crowder to that line up and it could be the top defensive lineup in the League, with Bradley fighting to get in on that lineup. You add Isaiah to those four and you could have a top offensive Lineup, with Bradley fighting to get in on that lineup as well. Those guys would bring such a great blend of grit, toughness, skill, shooting, and meanness.

Seriously, LaBron will be slowing down by then. The Warriors are young enough to still be strong, but it looks like free agency is about to tear them apart. OK City will be toast with Chewbacca and Westbrook gone (and Durant a Celtic). Remember, Durant is an East Coast guys. He's from DC. He went to Texas, then Seattle, then OK City. Maybe he's just ready to come back home where his family can see him play every week. You add a couple of young Lottery picks to that formula (I know I'm dyslexic) but it keeps spelling D-A-N-A-S-T-Y to me.

Maybe I'm out of my mind. Maybe I'm sayin' there's a chance. No one can argue that if every goes right they have a chance. They have to have all three Lottery picks become stars, you can call that a long shot if you want. They could pick up Durant, and that one might be less of a long shot than getting the best out of three straight Lottery picks. But Horford is not a long shot. And once you have Horford, Durant becomes less of a long shot. And once you have a veteran winning team, young rookies will have longer to develop into more than just role players, and have to be tougher to get minutes (on crap, did I just say Horford is the key to my whole house of cards). 

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I'm also confused about why Durant would go back to OK City for one year. If he goes back to OK City, he can only sign the 10-year Veteran's Max deal with them. If he signs with the Celtics in a Max deal this year with an out after one-year, he can sign that 230-plus Mil deal with the Celtics. And if he doesn't than he can only sign that 10-Vet's Home Team Max deal with OK City next year. This is the year he needs to pick his team where he can win a championship (Celtics), and still maximize his earning with the 230-plus Mil Home Team Max Contract with another team.

Wade Baldwin

17. Memphis- 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: Baldwin looks like a poorman's Derrick Rose, which is why I had him going to Chicago. "I learned a lot of IQ things [from Vandy HC Stallings], being an honest person, being coached hard, coached direct," Baldwin said. "You need to know what you need to do before the game and go out and execute it, bring that mentality that Coach Stallings had can just be awesome for me moving forward." You have to be a leader to play point guard in the NBA.
Rookies are never the leader of a team. They have to come in and establish themselves. "I welcome anything that comes," Baldwin said. "I think I need to establish myself first and get with the team and understand my role and do that role to the best of my ability. I'm flexible and versatile in whatever the team needs me to do, and whatever that is, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability." It will take time for him to lead the team.
He is truly happy to have been picked by the Grizzles. "It's awesome," Baldwin said. "I'm back in the state of Tennessee where I chose to go to college. I've been to Memphis before. It has a rich history." He isn't going to have to go far to find their facility.
He can play shooting guard as he learns the intricacies of the offense and the NBA. "We had a whirlwind of activity, and we're very pleased with the results," the Grizzly's GM Chris Wallace said. "Wade Baldwin gives us a point guard with size and length, documented 3-point shooting ability and can play the off-guard position. Just a tremendous athlete." And keep shooting that Three of course.
He does not lack for confidence. "I didnít meet with the Grizzlies, didnít work out for them," Baldwin Said. "I would assume they came to a plethora of games throughout the season at Vanderbilt. A little bit of Russell Westbrook, with my own modifications to it, of course." But that might be a it much.

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.

The 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: They are looking to win now, and want some one who can play right away. "I'm playing with guys that are awesome, fantastic players," Baldwin said. "Marc Gasol being one of the best centers in the league. Zach Randolph, very good veteran. Mike Conley, terrific point guard. Tony Allen probably will go down as one of the best defenders of all time, even Kobe said it. I mean, it's awesome." He has a chance to play as a rookie.
He played in Tennessee at Vanderbilt "It's awesome, back in the state of Tennessee where I chose to go to college, and I'm back, and Memphis is a great city," Baldwin said. "I've been there before and couldn't be happier." So he is happy to stay where he is.

They needed to add some speed to this team. "Wade Baldwin gives us a point guard with size and length, documented 3-point shooting ability and can play the off-guard position," Wallace said. "Just a tremendous athlete." He is one of the fastest guys attacking down court in transition.

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They also took Deyonte Davis at 31. "Deyonte Davis is someone that we, quite frankly in our wildest dreams, never thought would be there at 31. We had him ranked well into the top 20. He's the best future shot blocker in this entire draft," Wallace said. "We hope we've got a lottery-potential guy, just a year early." I didn't think he was that good after I studied his Tape.

Henry Ellenson

18. Detroit- Henry Ellenson- 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: I'm not a big Ellison guy. I think Zubac and Zizic are better. He just doesn't get off the floor enough for me. "I had my brother playing there at Marquette and that was huge for me," Ellenson said. "I thought just playing for the home state in college would be nice." They'll use him as a stretch-4 who can create some space inside.
He was a volume shooter in college. "He didnít shoot a great percentage (28.8% 3-P), but if you look at his stroke, itís a really nice looking stroke," Van Gundy said. "I think heíll shoot the mid-range jumper right now and I do think eventually heíll expand out and be able to make the NBA three." He shot like a kid last year.
He was a highly recruited kid coming out of high school. "Izzo was at the draft last night with his guys," Van Gundy said. "He texted me and said itís a great pick. He tried to recruit him hard. And then he said 'I just talked to his parents, I told them you were a great coach, so now donít screw it up.' Henry said he said afterwards he said to him Ďwell, we finally got you to the state.'" How they were ranked coming out of high school often says more about where they go in the 1st than what they do as freshman.
He wanted to be the man. "It was real close between Marquette and Michigan State," Ellenson said. "I had a great time in East Lansing. My parents were with me and I just had a great visit there with Tom Izzo. I got to see the campus and got a real good feel for the school and the team. It was a real close decision for me to choose Marquette over Michigan State, but I enjoyed my time in Michigan very much." So he chose the smaller school.

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.

He 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 Bio2015-16 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: They seem to have some good players, but never seem to win. "I watched a little on him," Van Gundy said. "I watched two games, but quickly just so I knew who he was. I didnít even take notes, to be quite honest." That doesn't sound good.
The kid has good length and can really move on the court. "I liked what I saw and have great faith in our staff," Van Gundy said. "When they have a guy that high, thereís no doubt at 18 that youíre making the right move. And heís such a great fit for what we need, too." He is very aggressive on offense.
Drummond has already contacted him as well. "It will make the learning process, I would think, easier," Ellenson said "Because theyíve already had success, and theyíve kind of found a groove. Iím just happy to bring a whole kind of dimension with my versatility so I think this is the right fit." He could give them the stretch-4 to compliment Drummond.

Henry could add some rebounding and shooting off the bench. "We were really surprised," Van Gundy said. "[He] was a guy we had as basically no chance to get at 18 so we didnít bring him in here for a workout. We loved him. All the scouts loved him, but he was guy we just didnít think we had any shot at. Everybody thought he was going to go higher. So you canít get those guys in that go higher." Maybe this is the best place for him. He reminds me of Bill Laimbeer. 

He is physical on the floor like Laimbeer, and nether could get off the floor much. "I didnít expect to be on the board at 18, but God has a plan and I feel this is a right place for me to go to," Ellenson said. "It's in the Midwest. Itís a great team that made the playoffs last year. I feel like I can contribute a lot right away. Iím just excited to be playing for the Pistons." The Pistons will be excited if has a similar career as Laimbeer.  

Malik Beasley

19. Denver- Malik Beasley- SG FLA ST,

6-4.5, 189, 19 years, WS 6-7, ST 9-3, 15.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.3 BLK,†

The Team: This was one kid I missed. He is a terrific shooter. "Just compete every day, work hard, and whatever Coach wants me to do Iíll do it," Beasley said. "Itís time to get to business. Iím still going to work hard to compete against [Jamal Murray]. Weíre friends, and weíre going to work hard together to get Denver back on again." Ironically he and Murray have been long time friends and rivals.

He averaged 15.6 PPG and 5.3 rounds. He could work out at the combine because he was recovering from surgery. He is from Georgia and played at FLA ST. He is said to have a great work ethic. Shows basketball intelligence on the court. And can be a stunning athlete sometimes as well.
Great worker with great smarts on offense, but doesn't work as hard or show the same instincts on defense. It can show a lack of effort sometimes sometimes on defense. Bigger wings with length can give him trouble sometime. "He needs to improve as a defender," Bilas said. "I think he can get more steals. His defensive rating was low. But heís got a solid frame and good athleticism. So: excellent shooter, really good teammate, really good kid, and really works hard. I like this pick for Denver. Malik Beasley has got a terrific future ahead of him. Heís young and he is ready to roll." You just have to hope his legs are fine.
Because when his legs are fine, he can really shoot. "Now getting drafted, it takes a little bit off of me," Beasley said. "But, now itís a business and Iíve got to give extra work and Iím ready for that moment to prove to people.'" But he still has to show the same "want-to" on defense.

He shoot 39% from Three, and 47% from the floor. "This is a kid that has got NBA range right now," Jay Bilas said. "He shot 50% adjusted field goal percentage on all jump shots. This kid can shoot it. You mentioned the NBA range. Heís an athlete that can run and heís really really good in transition. And he shoots threes in transition." He instantly adds speed to this team.

Likes to shoot threes, and shoots too many on the break. "This is a perfect situation for Malik," his HC at FLA ST Leonard Hamilton said. "The Nuggets play a style of ball that fits his skills. Itís a perfect situation for him." He doesn't have great size for a young wing. He doesn't have the size to get minutes at small forward.

He just had surgery for a stress fracture in his leg, and didn't slip out of the 1st. "Iím thankful for Denver drafting me and Iím excited to start my journey," Beasley said. "I didnít work out for them but my interviews with them went very well. I talked to them at length at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago." I thought it would slip him out of the 1st.

The Reason: He really had a great season last year. "As a freshman, if youíd have told me he would be an All-American type who declared for the draft after just one year, I wouldíve said it was a long shot," his HC in high school Catlett said. "It just goes to show that if you put in hard work and are coachable, good things can happen." You cannot talk about Beasley with out saying work ethic, and those are the guys who usually succeed.
He is known for his elite work ethic. "From a character standpoint, heís off the Richter scale," Hamilton said. "He's one of those kids who is unbelievably hardworking, extremely passionate, a gym rat. Tremendous effort is not work to him, itís just kind of like who he is and what he enjoys doing." He is driven for success.

He had a stress fracture in his right tibia. He had what was called pre-emptive surgery to insert a metal rod in his tibia, to hopefully prevent long-term issues with his legs. He healed so quickly that they jokingly said he has mutant healing powers. "He has Wolverine powers," Michael Beasley said. "We didnít have to do [surgery to insert the rod], but we didnít want him to have to sit out at all later. Heís already touching the rim. He was touching the rim three weeks after. Heís a special kid, a caring kid. And from what Iíve heard throughout this process, you donít get that very often." His has such a great work ethic that doctors said helped his amazing recovery. 

Caris LeVert

20. Traded to Nets- Caris LeVert- Michigan, Sr, PG 6-7, 190, 8-5 WS, 

4.9 APG, 16.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG. 

The Team: Thank you Indy. The trade of Young just made the Nets the worst team in the NBA. They had Lopez and Young as their only veterans who can help a team win, and they just ditch him. Do you remember when the Celtics where trying to help facilitate a trade of Young. The Nets were so upset they shut it down, and accused the Celtics of purposely trying to make them worse to make their picks better. Then they go and trade Young.

And then they draft another guy I left out of the 1st because of injuries. "You know, I went for a visit about a month ago," LeVert said. "I knew the staff really liked me but I didnít know if they had any first-round picks. I probably wonít be doing Summer League, but my X-rays and CT scans look good. Itís just a matter of rushing back right now." He had three surgeries is the past four years. 

He is a really good shooter. He shoot 40% from Three over his career. He has a terrific handle, and is a good passer. He could see some minutes on the Point. "We are all so happy for Caris," his HC from Michigan John Beilein said. "Despite the setbacks the last two years, he never wavered in his belief in himself and his future. Caris' future is so bright and the best is yet to come for that young man. He will always have a special place in my heart." He can play. But he can't stay on the floor. His body can't handle the stress of high level basketball. And it only gets worse in the NBA.

He couldn't participate in the Combine because of injuries. He only played in 18 games as a junior. That is not what you want in the 1st round. "Iím blessed to be here," LeVert said. "Through all the adversity I went through the last couple of years, Iím lost for words right now to be here." I'll be rooting for the kid, in a couple of years.
Now if you're the Celtics you just have to get them to trade Lopez. "I know it's a great city. I played here a couple times in college," LeVert said. "We played in this arena. I'm a Midwest guy, so I'm not from far away from here. But like I said, it's a great city and I'm glad to be here. I'm ready to work my butt off." He just needs to stay healthy. 

The Reason: He has some Penny Hardaway in him. "The Michigan senior was once projected as a late-lottery to mid-first-round pick," Chad Ford wrote. "However, injuries his junior and senior year have taken their toll. NBA teams were hoping that LeVert's leg would be healed enough to participate in the combine." I can't believe the Nets took this kid in the 1st.
They needed help right away. "Don't read too much into LeVert's big senior year, which mostly came against a relatively weak non-conference schedule before an injury ended his career in Ann Arbor," Kevin Pelton wrote. "Even before that, LeVert offered a solid combination of size for the wing, shooting ability and ball handling." Didn't play was well when he had to be the initiator. 
But he has length and handle, and was a great scorer and passer last year before he got hurt again. "Iím a long-term thinker, a long-term type of guy, always have been," LeVert said. "Iím just excited." If he can get low and wide and cover PGs, he could play some point guard in the NBA, or never make it through a season. Extremely risky pick for a franchise that needs to get on some solid ground more than anything else.

DeAndre Bembry

21. Atlanta- DeAndre Bembry, SG/SF, Saint Joe's, 21 years old , 6-6, 206, 

38" MV, 32" SV, 6-9 WS, 8-5 SR, 11-7 MVR,

36 Games,  17.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.5 APG,  22.7 Min. 48% 2-P, 63.8% FT.

The Team: This is a great pick by the Hawks. Getting two Wings was not how I saw this Draft going for them. "Man, those guys are great, straightforward, which I love," Prince said. "No gray [area]. Itís black-and-white type of guys, and those are the type of guys you need to be behind you, thatís going to tell you when youíre wrong and let you know when youíre right. I love those guys up there, man. They brought me up for a second workout so I knew that they were really interested and we were vibing the whole entire time and I enjoyed every single minute in Atlanta." Prince and Bembry essentially play the same position. Maybe they think one of them is a SG.  

Bembry and Prince can add some dynamic scoring to the Hawks offense. Having Schroder getting them the ball will be a big deal for those young kids. He can drive and kick as well anyone in the NBA. With Horford gone, they just got a lot smaller. So getting a wing like Bembry, who garnered 7.8 RPG last year is a big deal. If you want to go small ball you still have to rebound and play defense.

He is a smart and excellent passer. He average 4.5 assists. He also has a great handle. "He's is an exceptional passer," Wilcox, the Hawks assistant GM, said, "He is uniquely unselfish. Shooting is one of the areas that he has to improve ... but we've seen with many players that come to the NBA and improve in that area. If you're open-minded and a hard worker, you will improve as a shooter." And he is a shot-maker, it's just the area that needs more consistency." He could see minutes at four positions, 1 through 4.
He also is an older more mature kid. He could see more minutes as a rookie than most guys, especially if he can backup four positions. "I would say Iím a very versatile player, offensively and defensively," Bembry said. "I feel like I can run a little bit of point guard sometimes, backup point, two or the three. I can guard multiple positions, so I think my versatility on both ends of the court can contribute to the NBA." He was one of my favorite players from this Draft.

The PlayerBembry is one of those Wings who has a chance to be a great one. He has to work on his jumper, and spend a thousand shots a day on his 3-point shot. 32.7% from the college Three last year is not good enough. But he is a natural scorer. He scores on the move as well as anyone in this Draft. He also might be the top wing at passing the ball not in the Lottery. 

I'm starting to like him more than Malachi Richardson. He played at a little lower level of competition, so he soared over guys who weren't as talented. Richardson has a better stroke from Three, but I love Bembry's game. He can pick up the dribble before the foul line, take two steps, and take off for the long distant call dunk. Shoots the jumper nicely on the move. He can dribble left and then take a step back Jumper. There is a Wing or two from this Draft, after the Lottery, who is going to be a star like George, Butler, Middleton. It happens every year. Bembry could be that guy if he can shoot the Three with more consistency.   

He has a little Dr, J in his game, with his long arm straight out and flicking it in. It is fun to see that shot again. He can use his body to change his flight pattern when in the air to avoid a Big. To be that Playoff Killer Wing shooter, you have to able to pass and rebound as well. He can do that. He average 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assist. He can go hard to the hole with either hand, and not just dunk, but scoop it under or use that Dr. J finger roll. 

Great on the pick and roll. I love how he can bounce it between the two defenders to hit the rock an' roller. He has a nice look away pass to the cutter inside. Plays not only with his eyes up, but with his peripheral vision as well. Great floor vision. He can really see the whole court on the offensive end. He can make passes to open teammates look easy. Sees the backdoor pass as quick as Simmons. Great look away pass inside off the dribble. He has all the traits of a first option Wing who can be a star. Very smart and very aware player. 

He doesn't have great length, but he really does have everything else. His jumper is a little off. He uses his legs nicely, and snaps his wrist. But he tends to shot with a little too much twist in his body. He shoots it while still going up, and the angle of his body varies too much. One thing Malachi Richardson does a great job at getting his feet set before he leaps on his Jumper. Bembry too often looses his feet when going into his shot on the move. It is not easy for a scorer to become a shooter, or a shooter to become a scorer. He can be moving in any direction, but when he bends to shoot his feet are in great position. Squeezes his fingers tight when he shoots sometimes. 

Sometimes his feet are at pointing to the baseline. One time his foot where pointing to the sideline. Too often they are pointing to the corner. When he looses his feet before he goes up, he looses the shot. When he goes up and his foot kicks sideways even a little, he looses the shot. Used to going up out of balance and scoring, but he can't do that shooting past the 3-point line yet, like Malachi. His right hand and wrist will float to the right on the follow through sometimes. That is just not good. 

He understands position on defense. He is so good at regaining position after he makes a mistakes. He can cover college point guards, and might be able to play a little PG in the NBA. But he certainly can play some point forward. He has such nice anticipation on defense that he can jump into a passing lane and catch the ball with both hands. Sometimes decides to shoot too early and doesn't take what's given. That is when he gets into trouble and over dribbles and hops around aimlessly. Smart player, who makes himself look dumb by playing like a kid.  

He has a nice smooth jumper, which also means it is a little slow. But he gets up so high and falls back enough to make it very tough to bother. He has the great versatile game of a great scorer, but can he do it in the NBA. And can he jump straight up and down enough to shoot 40% from NBA Three. I'm not saying he is the man. I'm saying he is one of those guys who has a chance. He is Wing with length who can create his own shot, and is the second or third best wing passer. Obviously Simmons is the best. He is a great scorer, but not a true shooter yet. But one or two come out every year. From MJ (who was the third pick in the Draft), to Kawhi Leonard to Giannis Antetokounmpo to Gordon Hayward to DeRozan. Every year there is a wing or two outside the Lottery that turns into a star.

He creates shots for his teammates as well. One of his best passes is when he dribbles to the left, and you can see him peeking, and hits a cutter going down the right lane. I love how he turns or angles to the right, and then passes left or visa versa. Smart passer who not only knows when to use a bounce pass, but when and how to skip it past a defender's feet.  He does a great job advancing the ball down court off the rebound. 

Sneaky good offensively. He can hop dive to the right, when he sees the center going for the offensive, and scoop it past him. Snaps his wrist well, and has a straight arm delivery. Raises a leg sometimes for balance. He uses his legs so well in his Jumper. If he can find that consistency he could be a star. He can absorb the contact, and then extend his arm straight out past the Big and score. He has a nice little lefty hook turning to the middle from the right.

He so is natural and smooth in transition. He can handle the ball, lefty, going end to end and do different things when he gets to the paint. Great leaper on the break. He can look a little like George on the two handed dunk. Skies in the air when he springs off of one foot. Athletically he will have no trouble in the NBA. He can dribble lefty, and then sprung up on the cut back leap to dunk it righty. He can also can double pump it in with the left hand. 

Official Bio: Career/Records: Finished career with 1,590 points to rank 15th on the Hawksí all-time list... Ranks 25th in career rebounds with 672... Had 88 double-figure games, 26 games of 20-plus points and 15 double-doubles in 101 career contests... Scored 627 points in 2015-16 for the seventh-best single-season total in SJU history... Had 161 assists, which is tied as the 11th best single-season total in program history... Tied as record-holder for most double-figure games in a season with 35 in 2015-16... Member of two Atlantic 10 champion teams (2014, 2016)... Helped Hawks go 65-36 in his three years, with two Atlantic 10 titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances
2015-16: The Player of the Year in both the Atlantic 10 and the Big 5... All-Atlantic 10 First Team and All-Big 5 First Team honoree for second straight year... Teamís second leading scorer (17.4) and rebounder (7.8)... Led team in assists (4.4) and steals (1.4)... Averaged 20 points per game, six rebounds and five assists in the A-10 Tournament as SJU won its second A-10 championship in three years... Named to the A-10 All-Championship Team... All-District selection by both the USBWA and the NABC... Saint Josephís Co-MVP with Isaiah Miles... Helped SJU to a 28-8 record for second-most wins in school history... Recorded double-figures in 35 games, which is tied as the school record... Ranked third in the nation in total minutes (1,341)... Had 16 points and 12 rebounds in NCAA Second Round vs. 5th-ranked Oregon... Team-high 23 points in NCAA First Round win over Cincinnati... Poured in season-high 30 points by hitting a personal best 13-of-16 from the field in A-10 Finals vs. VCU... Turned in nine points, season-high eight assists, and seven rebounds in A-10 Semifinals vs. Dayton... Scored game-high 21 points in A-10 Quarterfinals vs. GW... Scored 27 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists vs. Saint Louis... Notched 18 points by converting 8-for-12 from the field, to go with nine rebounds at UMass... Recorded 16 points and season-high 13 rebounds vs. #15/13 Dayton... Had 16 points and 10 rebounds at Fordham... Netted 22 points by shooting 7-of-11 vs. St. Bonaventure... Posted 15 points and 10 rebounds at Rhode Island... Had 16 points, six assists, and season-high four steals at La Salle... Tallied 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and four steals at Penn... Recorded 26 points and 12 rebounds vs. Fordham... Posted 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists at George Mason... Recorded 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals vs. Rhode Island... Had 17 points and eight assists vs. VCU... Recorded 22 points vs. Virginia Tech... Shot 6-for-9 from the field, with 4-of-6 three-pointers, to record 16 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists vs. Illinois State... Had 17 points and 13 rebounds at Temple... Posted 27 points, 10 rebounds and four steals vs. Princeton... Recorded 12 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists at Columbia... Scored 17 points against #8 Villanova... Posted 15 points and 10 rebounds vs. Old Dominion at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off... Scored 1,000th career point vs. Buffalo... Netted game-high 23 points and four steals vs. Drexel... Two-time A-10 Player of the Week and six-time Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week... Team captain for second year... Named to Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List and the Naismith Trophy Early-Season Watch List... One of five finalists for the Julius Erving Small Forward Award

The Reason: He will be 22 in August. "He is a player who we have watched for quite some time," Wilcox said. "Great deal of versatility. Very good passer. High basketball I.Q. Very good person. Very hard worker. We are excited to bring him to the Hawks family." His age limits his upside a little, but I'm not sure as much as teams seem to think. 

He brother was just shot and killed visiting him in Charlotte just before the Draft.  "It's been a very rough time for me and my mother," Bembry said. "It seems unreal that my brother isnít here. He was my best friend." That's why he wasn't able to attend the Draft.
So much tragedy and joy in a such period of time. Before he could even process the horror, he was a Hawk. "He is a very accomplished college basketball player
," Wilcox said. "but I think our focus of all of our young players is pretty much the same: get him in the program, get him working with our coaches, and athletic-performance team, and really focus on helping him improve. As it relates to any young player, I donít think we have any expectations. We are a good team. We have depth at that position. We say it in our (draft) room. He is a good Hawksí fit." They want to turn the Hawks into more of a small ball team.

They lost their two veteran leaders so they won't be a threat in the Playoff next year. But they got themselves younger. "We say it in our room: He's a good Hawks fit. He can handle, he can pass, he's unselfish," Wilcox said. "We came into this draft ]thinking] if we could address the level of athleticism of our team, we would love to do that." They also got themselves much more athletic.
The questions with seniors is how much better can they get. "I'm just thankful, but I don't think my road stops here," Bembry said. "I'm ready to get better." The Hawks are betting both Bembry and Prince have a lot of upside left.

They are going to need more rebounding from their wings with Horford gone. "Heís a very capable, athletic, long, competitive defender," Wilcox said. "Defensive rebounding is actually an area of strength of his. I think he projects well as a defender in the NBA." They are also going to need more interior defense.
In the new small ball world shooting Wings rule the NBA "We call them wings," Wilcox said. "The ability to play multiple spots. We think he has the potential to be a play maker. With the way we play, really 1, 2 and 3 are many times interchangeable. We just think heís a good basketball player. Who in our system has a chance to play a lot of spots. Certainly he has a skill set that we believe fits the Hawks." It will be interesting to see him in Summer League.

Second Choice: Demetrius Jackson PG

Malachi Richardson

22. Traded to Kings- Malachi Richardson- Syracuse, Wing, 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 Player:  This was the guy I was hoping the Celtics would snag at 23. But, he only played Zone defense in college. "It definitely wonít hurt me," Richardson said. "I played man-to-man my whole life. And Iíve been able to show that I can play man in these workouts, so [Iím] just going to have to get out there and play." I love the games of Bembry and Richardson. 
They have traits that Wings in the middle of the 1st have had that made them stars. "That means a lot," Richardson said. "You canít really worry about what people say anymore. Theyíre not in my shoes, and I just got to make the best of the opportunity." I love the way this kid shoots the ball. 
He already has a buddy in Sacramento. "I just look forward to going out there and working my tail off, trying to help that organization,Ē Richardson said. "I was able to hang out with DeMarcus Cousins a little bit while I was out in Vegas." But of course, this whole Franchise rest on the mental state of Cousins.

The Player:  Malachi Richardson: Shooting Scorer.

The Reason: 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 22nd 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. 

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.

Ante Zizic

23. Boston- Ante Zizic Center Cibona Zagreb,

6-11.5, 249, 19 years, WS 7-2.5, ST 9-3, 13.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.3 BLK,

The Team: I had him as my Second Choice here. Which means: I had Brown as my second Choice at 3, Yabusele going to the Celtics at 35, and Zizic as the second choice here. I had all three 1st Round picks going to the Celtics in one form or another. It doesn't get any better than that! 

Also, I had Zizic going 19

If you didn't see this coming than you weren't paying attention. They went to see him play in Europe, and needed rebounding and draft an' stash guys. "We drafted them because they're good players," Ainge said. "The fact that they have people that want them on their teams on the international top level competition just tells you how good of players they are. They can easily find jobs overseas at the top level. They're earned that reputation. They're both very, very productive. Guerschon was very productive in the Pro French A League this year and Ante was an incredible rebounder and scorer in the Adriatic League. So those guys are wanted players and that's why we drafted them. Now we're trying to figure out the best way that they can best help us and for their development. We're working with their representatives on figuring out that plan." He was one of the best Euro rebounders last year in the Adriatic League, and he was only 18 playing against grown men.
The Celtics needed a rim protector, and Zizic was one of the top rim protectors in the Adriatic League last year as well. "
The biggest needs as we look at it are continuing to grow ourselves on the offensive end, and what we decide to do with regard to protecting the rim," Stevens said. "You can protect the rim in a couple of different ways. No. 1 is you have somebody in there to protect it. No. 2 is you donít let the ball get there, and you need versatile guys at a bunch of different positions. You need to keep guys out of rotations. If you look at our team right now, No. 2 would be more of the option." Zizic owned the paint when he played against Euro veterans last season.  

He needs to go back overseas and mature as a person and player. "These guys are top prospects wherever they play this year," Danny said. "So if they play in Celtics uniforms and are in a Jordan Mickey role of last year [be-bopping up and down from Maine]. Or is it better from them to play in the top division in Spain or France or Germany. Which is better for their development? Because we really believe in these guys. but last year, Zizic as an example, he's getting 31% of defensive rebounds and 12% of offensive rebounds, in a top Adriatic League at 199 year old. So he'll probably take a step up if he goes back, and play on a big boy team. [Or] even a bigger team in Europe. Or we bring hi over here and put him in a lesser role. And which is better for his development? So those are the things that we're gonna discuss with his repetitive. In my opinion, in an ideal world, I would like them to continue to play in Europe and develop bring them to the Celtics when they're ore ready. I'm not saying their not ready now bur, they'll be ore ready in anther year of development over there, or two years even." In two years he will still only be 20-years old. 
Not that he is terrible now. but the reason everyone had him in the 1st (I had him at 18) is because he plays with great heart and hustle. "One thing that stood out in watching him on tape is he has a huge motor, and heís very physical," Stevens said. "Heís a great rebounder and heís a guy that scores the ball, mostly in the paint, but will just continue to improve and improve." He pretty much played in the Paint only, and only left to set picks and run back on defense. 

The thing that Zizic can really bring is that he might be the most physical guy in the paint colliding with other Bigs in this years Draft. "I more of a, 'what kind of value can the add today and What kind of value will they add down the road [type guy],'" Stevens said. "This is a hard league t impact coming straight out of the Draft. Whether your 19 or 22 or whatever, there's not a lot of guys who can make a big impact right away. So one of the things that does help you make an impact is the fact that you bring something to the table [like banging inside] that m akes you unique to the team your going to." You have to be able to bang in the Paint in the NBA. 

But there just isn't any room at the inn, unless they make a multi asset trade for one big star. "That could change it, but shouldn't," Danny said when asked about the lack of roster spots. "We should be most interested in how we can maximize those players talent, and usage for the Celtics. And that should be our number one priority. But we have agents to deal with. There negotiations that have to happen. There is a possibility that one of them, or both of them, could be with us this year." No there's not.

When they are overseas, they do not count against the Cap. "It's complicated," Ainge said. "But yes, we have had initial discussions with their representatives. And we have not concluded anything yet. We're still in that discussion and we're not sure on some things." They took two draft an' stash guys in the 1st, not just because it saves them two roster spots, but it also saves them two contracts on their Cap. The Bigs are back.

The Player: Ante Zizic: Pure Explosion. 

The Reason: Everything they have been doing the past month has been to make Kevin Durant a Celtic, including drafting two draft an' stash guys in the 1st. Which means they have to have room on their cap for over two Max contracts. They were actually 45 Mil under the minimum salary figure for the Cap. Horford will be just over a 28-Mil Cap hit this season. So they still have to fill 17-Mil to get the minimum Cap cash you can have on this years Salary Cap. Which means the Celtics will pick up Johnson and Jerebko one year options if Durant doesn't here sign this year.

But I also have been touting Horford as a guy who fills so many more needs for the Celtics than just as a lure for Durant. "You know whatís interesting," an anonymous coach said. "You get to this time of the year, particularly this summer with the new cap [cash] and all that, and you have teams just trying to sign the best guys or the biggest names. But how many times do teams really go for a guy who fits their needs? I donít just mean a guy who plays a position they need to fill, but a guy who really fits how they want to play. I think Horfordís that kind of guy for Boston." He can shoot Threes, is a veteran leader, protects the rim well, and plays tough defense.

He can score inside, and drags 4s and 5s out to the 3-point line when they want to drive tot he Paint. "We direct you to this quote from an NBA coach that ran in this space in the last few days," the same coach said. "Of Horford and the Celtics, he said, ďOh, heíd be perfect there. Look at what they were trying to do with Sullinger, and now put a guy in that spot who can make the shots. That would change their offense big-time." He is also is known as one of the top character and locker room guys in the NBA.
He runs the pick and roll with aggressive dunks to the hoop, and add a pick and pop to his game. "I think that Al has signaled his intentions to be a Celtic is really a historic step for this franchise," an anonymous team guy said. "To take a 48-win team with a young core and a great coach, and you add a four-time All-Star as a max free agent, and you can just see the direction weíre going in." The Celtics are a 50-win team right now with Horford.

Horford can do so many things that the Celtics need. "I probably got a little away from the post this year trying to expand my game and do different things," Horford said. "That is a point of emphasis, that I will try to be better in the post and be able to put the ball down a little more on the floor. Being able to drive a little more. Even though I had some strides in that area this year, I think I can be even better at that." They need that stretch-5 who can open things up inside for Isaiah to drive into the Paint.

With all the talk of 3rd pick it seems one thing that seemed to be lost is that the Celtics should have finished second in the East, if not for some screwy tie-breaker BS. Which was the true struggle of this years off season. How to maintain that Cap flexibility to sign Durant, and improve a team that was in a 3-way tie for second place in the East. Danny has to put them in position to get Durant, and put them in position to snag sole possession of 2nd place in the East. Those are separate, and almost conflicting goals, and he somehow did it.

They have to fill that 45-Mil up with as many contracts that keep their flexibility alive for next season. "We had opportunities to do some trades," Ainge said. "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." Durant might be looking to come here next season, after one more run for the gold in OK City with Westbrook.

But Boston keeps getting more and more attractive to Durant if he wants to win a Ring. "I heard from two really powerful guys [from NBA offices] who donít normally BS around," Zach Lowe said. "They said that they have heard that Horford is on the shortlist of guys that Durant would really want to play with." If you want to give Durant the big Max deal this year or next year, you have to have space under the Cap.

The Celtics had Isaiah Thomas reach out to Horford to help snag him. "I just reached out to him," Thomas said. "I got his number and reached out to him saying, 'I'm interested in playing with you. I just want to put that in your ear. I know the Celtics would love if you came and are a part of the organization. Good luck with the process.' And things like that. And then he texted me back, he said, 'I'm a fan of how you guys play. I'm a fan of your game and would love the opportunity, but we'll see what happens.' The time is crazy for those type of guys right now so you never know what would happen but guys know about Boston. Guys are definitely talking Boston. And that's a good thing." So he helped with the pitch.

Now Horford and Thomas have to continue to reach out to Durant. "He's a fan of the game," Thomas said. "He knows the game of basketball. He's talked to me about how exciting it is to watch us on NBA LeaguePass and things like that. So he knows. And we're just going to do what we can to try to seal the deal. And hopefully we can get in his ear. And maybe he's a Celtic. Maybe he's not. But we're going to try. And I'm going to try." They have to keep the pressure on.

But not  bug him too much. "I read comments he said he just wants to have fun playing basketball," Thomas said. "I think it's fun playing over here. For the most part when I do communicate with him I try not to talk about it. He actually brought it up to me one time just saying how much he loves the city and it seems like a really nice sports town." I keep hearing that he has friends and family in Boston along with his basketball buddies.

-------

Zizic was not a reach here. I had him going 19 to Denver, and had him as early as my Second Choice to Memphis at 14. He was a mid 1st round talent in this year Draft. He is a third straight guy that has top speed in transition. "I think Iím ready right now so weíll see," Zizic said. "First I will seriously talk with the team and then see what they want. And weíre going to make a deal." They are really building a speedy fastbreak team here.

They were very impressed when they saw him in person, even though he didn't have his best game.. "They came once when I played a semifinal game and I was terrible," Zizic said. "Not terrible. I played OK but nothing special. It was normal because every day I got scouts at my practice. So for me that was normal. But when Danny came, I was really bad. But itís OK. They watched a lot of games. They told me they would watch a lot of games, so they chose me obviously." But he was so impressive physically it didn't matter.

So look for the Celtics to really start attacking in transition this year, as they wait for their kids to grow up overseas, and then come over. "I feel like a man," Yabusele said. "I canít say it but yeah, Iím ready for the NBA. I really think I just work on my body every time, try to be the best, and try to move the best." Brown, Yabusele, and Zizic not only have great NBA bodies for teenagers (remember, we are still taking about teenagers), all three can run like the wind in transition.

They were really impressed with hi when they saw him on Tape. "One thing that stood out, and I didnít have a chance to see Ante work out," Stevens said. "I saw him on tape, is that he has a huge motor and heís very physical. Heís a great rebounder. His rebounding numbers are fantastic. He scores the ball mostly in the paint, but will just continue to improve and improve. Another person who comes exceptionally highly regarded from the standpoint of work ethic, desire and team-ness." He is ready to bang with the Bigs in the Paint already.

So with the Summer League loading up to play, they have 25 guys on the Roster. "I'm not worrying about it was long as there's 25 guys on the roster. Right? I'll worry about it when it gets down to 15," Stevens said. "Loose sleep when the time is appropriate. As we continue to move forward, it's clear that we've got some really good players that are a part of this. We've got to address some needs in free agency. In regards to putting the ball in the basket, and maybe some size needs obviously.  That's something that we'll have to discuss. But we've gotten more versatile. And we've gotten a little bit more athletic. And those things should help us." But once it has to get down to 15 the numbers just don't work for the rookies.

So they can stash them on some of the best teams in the world outside the NBA. "The reason that these two guys are here. is because theyíre good players," Ainge said about Yabusele and Zizic. "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 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." With Guerschon's game getting such a good look fro the Celtics at Summer League, if they keep anyone it will be him. But Zizic is gone until the whole Kevin Durant sweepstakes is over.

Plus, bringing them over to America is more than just green cards and basketball. "If you look down this row right here: [Ante] is playing in a [grown] manís league, [Guerschon] is a man, look at every one of these guys, [all of them] are grown men that can play physically in the NBA," Ainge said. "I think instead of having to get their bodies ready, [we gotta] get them emotionally and mentally prepared and learning to live life and show up on time and get a driverís license and buy groceries. These things sound simple and silly but all these guys right here are capable. Wherever they go and wherever their journeys take them, theyíre ready to play, and I think that gives them an advantage in starting their careers." It is time to start preparing for life in Boston.

Second ChoiceAnte Zizic C

Demetrius Jackson

45. Celtics- Demetrius Jackson- Fighting Irish, Jr, PG 6-2, 194, 

43.5 MV! 37.5 SV, 6-5.5 WS, 7'9" SR, 11-4.5 MVR! 

He averaged 15.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.2 RPG and 1.4 SPG in Conference play. 

Averaged 17.8 PPG, 3.5 APG in Big East Tournament play, 

Last Season: 4.7 APG, 15.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG. 21.7 Min. 

46.7% FG, 78.2% FT, Career 3-P% 38.1, 

The Team: Stevens is a Longtime Fan of Jackson. "I recruited Demetrius pretty hard," Stevens said. "Demetrius lived with a family of Butler grads. He is a great kid. Really a hard worker. great personality for the point guard position. And has some real athletic gifts. And it's been interesting, because I've watch from afar. And I don't get to watch them (ND) a ton. But when I have seen Notre Dame play I really enjoyed his progress as a point guard. Not only from the stand point of shooting-scoring and everything else, but making plays for everyone else. So there was a great deal of familiarity there. I'll be candid, I thought both those guys (Jackson and Nader) would go higher than they did. So we were thrilled when they were available." He'll be more thrilled if they can fit him on the roster. 
I am also a big time fan of Jackson. I love his game almost as much as Stevens. "I've known Demetrius for a long time," Stevens said. "I believe in not only the athleticism and skill, but then in that special ability from a character stand point to raise the level every day. And I know that about him. So I believe in Demetrius Jackson for sure. I was shocked, shocked [he was still on the Board]. You know when we traded 31 and 35 the upside of that is you have a future asset to move in a deal, a future 1st round pick. The down side is that there were some guys we really wanted to take at 31 and 35 that we thought could add value to our team. And your trying to weight that in the heat of the moment. Demetrius Jackson was one of them. We were just crossing our fingers that one of those guys dropped to 45. I was surprised that he did." If the Celtics can scratch out one more roster spot for a rookie, we know who the HC will be voting for.
I thinks there's a little man crush going on here. "Heís a great kid, Stevens said. "A really hard worker. Great personality from a point guard position and has some real athletic gifts. Itís been interesting because Iíve kind of watched from afar; I donít get to watch them a ton, but when I have gotten to see Notre Dame play, Iíve really enjoyed his progress as a point guard, not only from the standpoint of shooting, scoring and everything else, but making plays for everybody else." His passing improved last season as well.

With his history, and recovery from homelessness, you have to root for this kid to make the team. "Itís a long story but just the journey made me and strengthened me into who I am today," Jackson said. "I'm just really thankful for the difficulties Iíve had in my life because itís shaped me into who I am today. Obviously thereís a lot of room for improvement as a person, but it really set me on the right track through all of my experiences. I ended up in a great spot [finding a foster family]. And that seems to be the thing because I also landed in the great spot [here on the Celtics]." He was scrapped off the streets and found the right path.

He also was able to turn to the one thing that seemed right in his life into his path to independence. "For me basketball was my outlet," Jackson said. "Everybody has a different outlet. Some people like to write, some people like to paint. The thing that you do when youíre down, you can really go back to that because itís always there for you. Through any emotion, I would just go outside, shoot hoops, do different moves that Iíd seen guys do on TV, on YouTube. Through all my difficulties, I would resort to the court and it paid off well." Finding his way to Notre Dame was a monumental feat for this kid. 
He also worked and worked and went past his athleticism to develop a jumper. "When I started shooting my jump shot, and at that time I didnít really elevate on my shot, and seeing Dwyane Wade do that, I would always go practice and really started to jump and shoot the ball,' Jackson said. "And even today, on my jump shot, I really elevate on it. And my first pair of basketball shoes, Dwyane Wade Converse. He was a big reason why I continued to keep working." But he shot a worse 3-point percentage in 2016 than 15 (from 42.9% to 33.1%). He missed more 3-point shots last season (109) than in his first two seasons a ND combined (107).

So don't cry for him, because he turned his personal horror into victory. "Just having back-to-back years with tournament success was really special," Jackson said. "The relationships you develop in college, your teammates are like your best friends. I loved playing with those guys. We had a lot of fun in practice games, to be able to keep that together, to be able to keep competing and to keep playing in big, sold-out arenas. To me, as a passionate player, I fed off the energy. It was just really special, I was glad I was able to be a part of it." Now he is on the Celtics Summer League team getting ready to play Philly tonight.

The Player: Demetrius is an elite athlete who unleashed a 43.5" Vert at the Combine. That is incredible. He leaped up over three and half feet. Jackson does nice job using his legs to go straight up on his jumper. You shoot with your legs and wrist, and he has that. He can set up for a second and then just go straight up and shoot, and still go over bigger players because of how mush he uses his legs in his jumper. Nice high release point for a small PG. His money is going to be made with his legs. His fall away is all but untouchable. 

Great wrist snap on his jumper. He has NBA range. He can bounce pass it inside to the big off the dribble. I think he might be more of a shooting guard playing the point, but he can pass. He can attack right past his defender, draw the big man to him for a split second, and jab a pass to his Big underneath. Knows how to split the defenders with a bounce pass on the pick and roll. Knows when he is being watched, and is terrific hitting the cutter going to the hole. Terrific look away passer in transition. He can side step to the left with the lefty dribble, and zip a bounce pass inside with his left hand for a layup. His offense tends to be over the top, but his passing tends to be underneath with a lot of bounce passes. He will hop up sometimes and high lob the ball to his Big. He also likes to go to the backdoor pass beyond the arc. 

He has developed into a great leader, which you have to be to play PG in the NBA. "Demetrius and Steve were fabulous," the ND HC Brey said. "But mainly Demetrius. He called a great game. Heís grown so much as a quarterback and a guard and a leader." He was the quarterback of the team last season. He also has a great story of great character, and has developed himself into a true citizen of this Country.

He has great quick hands and feet on defense. "I told [coach] that defense wins championships and it shows true leadership when you're able to step up and make key plays on defense,'' Jackson said. "My teammates look to me for that leadership. When I bring intensity and energy, they usually follow behind me." Great in straight up man and gets so low and wide and moves his great feet so well he makes PG look awkward. 

He has nice long arms, and can get right up in the the gut of an offensive player and slap ball out with his great quick and hands and feet. When he wants to, he has the quickest feet on defense in this Draft. It is amazing how low and wide his gets and keep his hands and feet moving while he dances backwards and side to side. He can be a gnat in the press. Short but very strong, and it shows on defense. He can cover NBA PGs. Terrific aggression on double teams. He is at his best on defense when he get ultra aggressive in the Press. He does a nice job watching the ball, and staying with his man. Sees the floor like a point guard on defense as well. He has great hands karate chopping the ball out of the PG's hands. 

He can more than two dribble to his left and has some handle in his lefty dribble as well. "When you have someone like him, he should handle the ball," Krzyzewski said. "He is a pro. He is a big-time player." He can also go nuts and do some "and one" dribbling sometimes. He might have to best handle in the Draft. When he gets defenders moving backwards with his dribble he has a great step back jumper. 

When he has space in the open court he will often dribble lefty, which shows how much he had to work on his lefty handle. With Jackson the first thing you have to talk about is his explosion off the floor. He has some serious Vert. "I don't know why he isn't mentioned for player of the year in our league more," Brey said. "He didn't make the Wooden. I know I already vented about that, but he's a player of the year candidate. He is in the position to chase down a regular season championship, especially with what he has done for our team." He knows how to use his legs to score. 

He can attack the hop with his elite handle and dunk over bigger guys with amazing aplomb. "Heís tough as nails, really hard to keep out of the paint," V-Tech HC Williams said. "He plays with great leverage, and his strength allows him to do that. Heís really good on shot fakes and drawing the and-ones. Very efficient at the free throw line. Heís a hard guard for anybody, any team, anywhere. He knows when itís time to get one for somebody else and knows when itís time to get one for himself." He is one of those guys that can get wherever he wants to the floor.

Terrific using the Bigs pick to go left or right and hit the jumper. "Him on the court gives you a chance to beat anybody because he understands his weaponry and he doesnít get tired,Ē Krzyzewski said. "He is an old, strong guy and he is perfect mentally. He is just really poised. He is a terrific player." He likes to spin away from guys and has enough quicks to get some space when he does. He is so much fun to watch when he dunks. Elite Vert and explosion off the floor. He loves to head left, and then stop and snap the ball back to his right hand and hit a teammate slashing to the hoop. He can use his great Vert to tip the ball back in the hoop off the offensive glass. 

JUNIOR SEASON (2015-16): Played perhaps his finest game in an Irish uniform in his final game at Notre Dame, scoring 26 points on 10-16 shooting with four assists vs. eventual national-runner up North Carolina ... dominated the final 20 seconds of Notre Dame's victory over Wisconsin to push the Irish to their second straight NCAA Elite Eight, scoring a lay up with :19 remaining, stealing a pass and scoring another lay up with :13 remaining, then stealing the ball at midcourt on Wisconsin's final possession (with :03 left), getting fouled and hitting two free throw shots to seal the game ... finished 5-11 from the field with 14 points, two assists and two steals in the second half vs. Wisconsin ... named to the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament team, scoring 17.8 ppg with 3.5 apg in four tourney games ... stepped up with 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half of the victory NCAA second round victory over Stephen F. Austin ... with the Irish down five points with 2:05 remaining, scored on a driving lay up, then hit two clutch free throws to set up Rex Pflueger's game-winning tip in with 1.5 seconds remaining ... 2016 Second Team All-ACC Selection (media and coaches) after averaging 15.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.2 rpg and 1.4 spg in conference play ... named ACC Player of the Week on Monday, Feb. 15, after averaging 22.0 points and shooting .444 from three point range in wins over Clemson and Louisville ... keyed Notre Dame's come-from-behind win over #2/1 North Carolina, scoring 12 points in the second half, going 9-9 at the FT line and grabbing six rebounds ... scored a career-best 27 points vs. Louisville, hitting a career-high six three pointers ... sidelined for the Syracuse game after suffering a hamstring injury in first two minutes of the Boston College game on Jan. 23 ... first career double-double in Notre Dame's win over Stony Brook on Dec. 8 with 19 points and a career-high 10 assists ... played all 40 minutes vs. Pittsburgh, finishing with 26 points on 9-18 shooting, including 5-10 from three point range ... flirted with a triple-double vs. Georgia Tech with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists ... started the season off with a career-best 27-point effort vs. St. Francis ... scored 20 or more points eight times in 2015-16 ... dished off five or more assists in 16 games ... scored in double figures 29 of 35 games played ... one of five Indiana natives on the Irish roster ... attended Stephen Curry Select camp in July 2015 ... won the camp's leadership award ... declared his eligibility for the 2015 NBA Draft on March 29, 2016 and announced his plans to sign with an agent, forgoing his final year of eligibility ... invited to take part in the 2016 NBA Draft Combine.

Junior guard Demetrius Jackson (Mishawaka, Ind.) has declared himself eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft:
"I am blessed with the opportunity to say I will be declaring for the NBA Draft. It was an honor to represent such a great University and program. There have been many people who've helped me along this journey, and I'd like to thank my family, teammates, and coaches for shaping me to be the player and man I am today.
The continuous support of the Notre Dame family has made these past three years unforgettable. a huge thank you to my foster family--you opened your home to me, gave me the best possible situation to be successful, and allowed me to open up and trust again. Words will never be enough to describe how you've helped me grow.
And to all those who believed in me through the ups and downs, thank you. Not only do I have a place to call home with my foster family, but now another at Notre Dame."
Jackson was a second-team All-ACC selection by both the league coaches and media in 2015-16, while leading the Irish in scoring (15.8 ppg), assists (164, 4.7 pg) and steals (43, 1.2). He was most recently named to the NCAA All-East Regional Tournament team, capping off his Notre Dame career with a 26-point performance against North Carolina in the regional final, while also pushing the Irish to the Elite Eight with two steals, one of which led to the game winning points, in the final seconds of Notre Dame's 61-56 victory over Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.
Jackson finishes his Notre Dame career with 1,204 points (11.7 pg), 335 assists (3.3 pg) and 114 steals (1.1 pg). He averaged over 31 minutes played per game in his career, including 36.0 per game in 2014-15 and 31.5 per game in 2015-16. He finishes 40th on the all-time scoring list at Notre Dame, 17th in assists, tied for 17th in steals and tied for 17th in free throw percentage (.782).

The Reason: Just a best player available here, and hope you can find a spot for him on the Roster. I don't see how? Everyone seems to forget about last years draft picks. They not only have to fit Jaylen Brown on the roster, but Rozier was the top rookie from the second half of the 1st Round in last years Draft. He was clearly showing some sparks on the floor last year. Plus, Mickey played in the in the Developmental League, and they have James Young from two year ago. He is fifth on that young list.

I though he was a 1st round pick, "I learned throughout the process that after you get drafted, you're all on the same starting point," Jackson said. "So I just want to come in, work hard. I know there's a lot of room for improvement, so I just definitely want to get better, learn from all those coming before me. But for me, a kid coming from nothing, being homeless at one point in time, not having very many things growing up, I think being drafted in itself is really good." I had him going 20th to Indiana (who trade for a veteran point guard instead). 

So all this excitement about his talent is not hyperbole. Plus, he is smart enough to take advantage of that talent. "He's a really smart-smart guy," Jackson said. "So when you talk to him the conversations are really intellectual. I really enough him as a coach. And I've been a fan of his for a long very time. He recruited me out of high school. My Foster dad is a Butler grad. So we have that connection there. I'm just really excited to play for such a great coach. I'm really looking forward to learning from him. And just really develop with him." But he still has a lot of growing to do to be able to play in the NBA.

His game reminds me a little of Isaiah, who still has a lot of work to do. "Definitely a challenge every day in practice, but that's good," Jackson said . "A challenge is set in place to make you better, so I'll be going up against a lot of great guards, a lot of really good defensive guards, which will only help me get better if I take the right mindset into it." He's short, but tough and has great Vert going to the hole. But he has to learn to kick it better when he draws three guys into the paint, like Thomas does.

He is already transitioning to the NBA. "Definitely a challenge every day in practice but a challenge is good," Jackson said. "It will make you better. I'll been going up against a lot of great guards. A lot of good defensive guards. It will help me get better if I take the right mindset into it. Just want to work hard, get better every day, learn from those who have come before me and have fun doing it." He is getting some serious lessons down in Vegas.
This is the beginning of his basketball career. "I learned that after you get drafted, everyone is on the same starting point," Jackson said. "I just want to come in and work hard. I know there's a lot of room for improvement. For me, from a kid coming from nothing, being homeless at one point in time and not having many things growing up, being drafted itself is pretty good." Now he has to find a spot on the Celtics busy roster.
He has the athletic ability to play in the NBA. "A big-time athlete who tested off the charts at the NBA Combine" Bilas said "43.5-inch vertical. That's two years in a row. Remember Pat Connaughton, and what he did with a 44-inch vertical? Notre Dame's putting out some athletes." It is all about the mental game for him.
He has some NBA skills already. "Really good off the pick-and-roll," Sam Vecenie, NBA analyst, said. "He can really score, gets to the rim and finishes and plays low. Keeps his shoulders low. He can be a really good defender, and has in fact said he wants to be an elite defender in the NBA."Solid frame. I like the way he can shoot it. He's really good off pick-and-rolls. A 62 percent finisher around the rim, and he had 114 assists out of pick-and-roll situations. Really good kid and really good player." He was dynamic on the floor last season.
He is in a battle he can't win against Rozier right now for the back up PG spot. "The ability to play in the pick-and-roll is such an important skillset for modern point guards to have, and so Demetrius not only is an incredible athlete but he understands how to operate that," Vecenie said. "He understands how to get a guy on his back and keep him there. He understands how to maneuver around a screen and how to get the screener positioned. He does a lot of that stuff really well, and it's easy to see him thriving in the NBA because of that. There's more space in the midrange. Guys are more athletic, but with that space there's a little more time for him to make reads. It will be interesting to see how he translates, because with the way his style translates, it's a perfect fit for where the modern NBA is going." So he has to be so dynamic in the Celtics system that they keep Smart at shooting guard, and keep another point guard.

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Jackson was a leader on court at Notre Dame. "I told [a teammate at ND] that defense wins championships and it shows true leadership when you're able to step up and make key plays on defense," Jackson said. "My teammates look to me for that leadership. When I bring intensity and energy, they usually follow behind me.'' That is always a positive moving forward.
He had some trouble as  freshman. "He had a great fall semester and summer," ND HC Mike Brey said. "He needs to improve academic habits. Iím putting on my H.S. teacher hat. He needs to get back to those good habits I saw in the fall. He just didnít get to as good of a start as he did in fall." He slacked off when he first got to Notre Dame, and had to adjust.

But he got his work habits to the level he needed. "That's part of relationships, having tough love and holding each other accountable,'' Jackson said. "He definitely has been a great mentor and father figure to a lot of us." He kept working harder every year.
Which what he has always done, work and survive. "That's how it's always been for me," Jackson said. "Just kind of been the theme throughout my whole life, fighting and just earning everything so never take anything for granted and just going out and working hard every single day. It just helped me keep that motivation, keep that chip on my shoulder, continuing those things which kind of defines me as a player." The question now is can he work and survive his way onto the Celtics roster.

 

Ben Bentil

51. Celtics-Ben Bentil- Providence, Soph, PG 6-8, 229, 

33" MV, 29" SV, 11-8 MVR, 7-1.5 WS, 8-9 SR,  

4.7 APG, 45% FG, 81.3% FT, 15.8 PP, 3.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG. 21.7 Min. 

The Team: His height is a little disappointing. "He had about 50 the last time they played Butler," Stevens said about Bentil dropping 38-points on Butler. "I saw Providence play a lot anyway just paying attention locally, in this area. So I saw Ben play quite a bit. Obviously, that familiarity helped." So he was very familiar with Ben.

He will not be able to play center in the NBA. "He's Versatile," Steven said. "You see from a body stand point, physically, he's ready in a lot of ways to step in and compete. So we'll see how the next couple weeks play out for him. We're excited he was available at 51." He played defense against all five positions in the Big East.

He might be able to play some small ball center, but I'm not sure. "Benís been really good. Heís a really good shooter, and we knew that coming in," Micah Shrewsberry said. "Weíre trying to put him in different spots. The 4 position is important for how we play and we want to play this summer. Heís a guy that can really stretch the floor. Heís pretty smart once he gets it. He can make reads. He can get it to different guys. Heís got a good motor. We can move him around, especially in the summer, kind of be a mismatch. Be a 4 or move to a 5, make those big guys come out and play him on the perimeter. Heís good enough to fake that shot, drive in the lane and cause problems that way, too." His versatility could entice the team.
He is a foreign born player. So maybe they can stash him overseas like Yabusele and Zizic "Itís like Iím back home when the Celtics called my number," Bentil said. "I'm not going that far away from where I played ball, so itís definitely exciting for me." He was born in Ghana.

He is on the bottom of the roster again. "I came in as a freshman and I wasnít the go-to guy," Bentil said. "I was a role player. I worked my way up. Itís starting again. Hopefully when itís all said and done Iíll be one of the go-to players." But showed he could make baskets when his team needed him the most. That was his best trait at Providence.
He has a long way to go to be close to making the roster "That was one of the first things coach Stevens told them," Shrewsberry said. "That there are 10 guys in the NBA that are superstars. They can go to whatever team and do what they want to. And you fit around them. Then there are 400 role players and you have to find your role, you have to do what you do well within that role on that certain team. So, and for these guys they have to find that spot; they have to find what that role is. We have to help define it for them." They might be able to stash him in the D-League.

He is already facing tougher competition in Vegas, in practice, than he faced at Providence. "When we play together, everybody is going to look good," Shrewsberry said. "When you try and overdue it and try to do too much, thatís when you start to look bad. Just make simple plays. Everybody will feed off that success. Everybody will share the ball and weíll all have fun." But there is just not a roster spot on the Celtics available to him.  

The PlayerBen Bentil: Offensive Versatility. 
Durant: The real news is that Durant went to the Warriors. The dream is dead. Long live the dream. He has to play with the Warriors for three years earn his Bird Rights. "The basic idea is that a player must play for the same team for three seasons for his team to gain Bird rights (two seasons for Early Bird rights). It can be a single three-year contract, a series of three one-year contracts, or any combination that adds up to three seasons (or two for Early Bird rights)." So it seems he can leave the Warriors if they win the Championship in one of the next two seasons.

So they came in second, which is like winning a hot dog eating contest. "I think we were in the final two teams," Wyc said about Durant. "I'm not even sure he was going back to OKC. Maybe so. I think we lost in the finals or lost in the final three, and it's very, very, very hard right after that loss to take a positive out of that, but I think it does say something about where we are. And I'm going to take it as energy to keep getting better." You won. But you just ate 63 hot dogs, and the farting has started.

So close and yet so far. "I know we were close," Wyc said. "Iíve got to say, this is just for me, not me trying to convince anybody else of anything, but just as I walk by myself thinking, I think we were in the final two teams. I think we lost in the finals, or lost in the final three. Itís very hard to take a positive out of that loss, but Iím going to take it as a positive." Coming in second here is like coming in second in the finals, like the Warriors did last year (cheapshot). It just leaves the stink everywhere of ifs, ands, and butts. 

So the Celtics came in second, to the NBA's second place team last year. Does that make them the 3rd place favorites next year? And is there a 3rd place in the NBA? "We went over trades with Kevin Durant and his advisors face to face," Wyk said. "And we went over trades, went over discussions, went over guys who were available. And all I can say about Kevin Durant is that he was very well-informed and I would say comfortable with the choices that we had, with things that we could do if he came on board. The things we thought we could reasonably accomplish. We weren't letting him run the team, we made it very clear. And he actually made it clear he didn't want to run the team, but it was just in the spirit of if you come on board, this is what the roster will likely look like opening night. And what about these tweaks? And it was part of the pitch." With my logic, a few tweaks and tweakers and we could be in 3rd place next year, according the Durant math.
Plus, they have a plan to beat the other two guys in the top three. "I would just say, thinking back on the two-and-a-half hours [that our pitch] was clearly resonating with him," Wyc said. "He was very interested in the idea of leading a team to a championship. He really liked the way we played. Brad  showed advanced stats, he showed plays that he would run for Kevin with game film. He showed how: we defended LeBron, and defended the Warriors, and beat them both on the road this year. Just in the regular season, and not making such a big deal that we beat both of them on the road, but just saying we've got to get through these two teams and here's how we would do it with you. At the end of two-and-a-half hours there were handshakes all around but there were no commitments from Kevin to come. It was just a well-executed pitch, and it was about the best we could do for where we are at this time. I actually feel pretty good about it." At least they do if they still had Kevin in Boston. I think? 

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The real good news is that Boston is a free agent destination again. "Yeah, but I don't want to overstate it," Wyc said. "Nothing's about to happen. We're not making a trade right now as we're on the phone. And we've got some time to try to improve this roster. We've got to probably add a piece or two to this roster to make it where we want to be. We want to be north of 50 wins. We were at 48 last year. We want to be a Conference Finals team or better if we possibly can be. But we're going to have work to do to get there." They are out of Cap cash right now, especially if they sign Sullinger and/or Zeller, though neither is likely to return. But they could still be in the market for a trade. 

They are in the market for a strong center. "Thatís always a hard question, because you never know," Ainge said about a deal in the works. "Youíre dealing with other teams. When you do major moves, they almost always happen out of nowhere. I mean, I couldnít have told you at this time nine years ago that we were going to get KG, but at the end of July we did. So weíre continuing to work. Weíre continuing to look and talk, and, I mean, look at how fast Chicago has changed. Thatís just sort of the way it works." They are still talking to Philly about Okafor.

And those talks they had with all those other teams before the Draft, still have some validity in them to some teams. "And we still have a lot of opportunities," Ainge said. " You know, we didnít probably have as many transactions as we wanted. We had offers for the third pick in the draft and some of our young players in this process, and we just didnít want to do it. We just thought it was too much. We like those things too much, so weíre going to move forward, and weíre excited about the direction that weíre headed." Granted, everything changed after Teams made their picks. 

But now they everyone has reassessed their teams they are still searching for roster balance. "I would be surprised," 76ers' HC Brett Brown said, when asked if Okafor, Noel, and Embiid would all be on their roster opening day. "I would be surprised. I talk freely always with my players. This is something that in a different world, maybe itís awkward, [but It isnít [here]. Because itís true. Itís real. Itís part of pro sport [positions matter]. Sometimes for the players too, like they have to understand that maybe itís best for them too. Instead of sort of hiding from this kind of, what could be the elephant in the room or an awkward moment. I donít like doing that. I speak freely with my guys about it. Itís just we understand the positional balance of our roster needs to rule the day. We have to find a balanced team." Rebuilding is still rebuilding. The Celtics still have too many assets, and could use a five for one deal.