Original C's pick Nogueira tries to impress Hawks

Original C's pick Nogueira tries to impress Hawks
July 18, 2013, 11:30 pm
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LAS VEGAS -- The tie color was a coincidence.

Lucas Nogueira didn't know his draft night attire until the day of the event.  Earlier in the afternoon, a stylist made what would turn out to be an ironic selection for the 20-year-old Brazilian center. Nogueira wore green.

The Celtics selected Nogueira with the 16th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.  Shortly after taking a memorable photo wearing a Celtics hat atop a pillow of curls with NBA Commissioner David Stern, Nogueira learned he had been traded to the Dallas Mavericks and then dealt to the Atlanta Hawks.

"Before the draft, I knew a lot of teams believed in me and believed in my game,"  Nogueira told CSNNE.com at the Las Vegas Summer League. "The night of the draft was crazy. When I heard 'Lucas Nogueira from the Boston Celtics,' I thought I had a chance to go to the Celtics. They said my name, I went up, and when I  went back my agent told me, 'The Boston Celtics took you but you are traded to  the Hawks.' When I went to the back room I talked to the GM and the coach from the Hawks and they said, 'Welcome to the Hawks.'"

The news came as a surprise to Nogueira, who had been eagerly awaiting to learn where he would be playing. Whether it was the Celtics or the Hawks, though, he was most focused about being selected by any team period.

"In that moment, I was only thinking one thing -- I was happy to be drafted," he said.  

Word of the trade traveled slowly to many of Nogueira's friends who live internationally, including his best friend, a passionate Celtics fan living in Spain.

"Everybody thinks, Boston Celtics, great team," Nogueira said. But he knew he was good situation for himself. Nogueira is averaging 7.0 points and 6.5  rebounds through four games for the Hawks in summer league play.

"I was sad because the Celtics are a great team," he said. "But I was happy because I knew the Hawks, everybody liked me and believed in me and wanted to work with me."

While Nogueira is not playing for the Celtics, he is very familiar with another  Brazilian big man who will this season. Nogueira is friends with Vitor Faverani, with whom the Celtics reportedly agreed to a three-year deal. 

"He's very good," said Nogueira. "He's a defensive and offensive player, but I think he's offensively better. He has a lot of moves in the post. He's had a great  season in Spain last year. He's strong but can jump, can run. He's a great player."

Nogueira stood in the back halls of the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV, all smiles as he discussed his former and current teams. Wearing Hawks gear, he  was wide-eyed as he talked about starting a future in the NBA that began wearing green.

"[The stylist told me,] 'With your hair, your face, this color is better for you," Nogueira remembered.

Turns out red and blue suit him as well.