Swiss big man Capela could interest C's

Swiss big man Capela could interest C's
June 4, 2014, 4:00 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics are not in the business of dipping into international waters too often when it comes to the NBA draft.

But with the No. 17 pick in the June 26 draft, the Celtics just might make an exception.

There are several players that Boston has interest in with the pick, including Swiss big man Clint Capela who was among the six players to work out for the Celtics on Wednesday.

Other international prospects that Boston will give some thought to at No. 17 include 7-0 Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia, and 6-11 center Jusuf Nurkic from Bosnia although Nuric is likely to be drafted earlier.

The 20-year-old Capela, the first international player Boston has worked out this week, is projected to fall somewhere outside of the lottery (top-14) but fall no lower than the mid-20s.

If Capela were to be drafted by the Celtics and they elect to keep him, the 6-11 big man would indeed be a trail-blazer for this franchise.

Boston has used a first round pick to select an international player just once, and that was last year when they drafted Brazil's Lucas Nogueira for the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 16 pick, in exchange for the Maverick's No. 13 pick (Kelly Olynyk). Boston also sent over a pair of second-round picks to complete the deal.

One of the big concerns most teams have with international players is the level of competition they're up against which is at times of a lesser grade than what players in college face.

Capela played for Chalon (France) in the French ProA League, averaging 9.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 22 minutes per game.

Regardless of the numbers, ultimately it comes down to how Capela competes against other players who are also vying for as high a draft position as possible.

"It was good," Capela said of his workout with Boston. "There were good players; they were tough."

Joining Capela at Wednesday's workout were three other big men (6-10 Eric Moreland of Oregon State; 6-10 Adreian Payne of Michigan State; and 6-9 Victor Rudd of South Florida) as well as a pair of guards (6-1 Michael Dixon of Memphis and 5-10 Akeem Williams of UMass-Lowell).

While the Celtics have scouted Capela this season, he's still a bit of a mystery. He has shown above-average athleticism along with the potential to be an impact player defensively (he has a 7-4 wing span), but there's still plenty of room for growth in terms of his game offensively in addition to the need to add more strength to his 222-pound frame.

Regardless of how he fared on Wednesday (workouts are closed off from the media), having Capela work out at all is not the norm when it comes to international prospects.

Some are still in season this time of year, so they physically can not workout at team's facilities.  Others aren't sure if they plan to stay in the draft or pull out, so they see no value in working out for NBA teams. And then there are those who will only work out for teams that promise they will draft them if they are still available.

It doesn't appear as though Capela received any such assurances. Boston is his second workout. Capela said he had already worked out for Houston which has the No. 25 pick.

When asked about his reasoning for coming to work out for teams, " Capela said, "I decided to come over. I think it's a good time for me to come."

He'll find out for sure on June 26 when his name is expected to be called among the players taken in the first round.

But will that team be the Celtics?