Blakely: NBA Mock Draft 2.0

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Blakely: NBA Mock Draft 2.0

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
Here's the second installment of CSNNE.com's Mock draft.

There was very little movement near the top of the draft board. However, the uncertain buyout status of Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas will likely result in one of the top international players sliding a few spots which as you can imagine, will create a domino effect felt throughout the lottery (top-14).

Locally, at least three players from New England schools are expected to be selected in the first round. Leading the way will be UConn's Kemba Walker, who is projected by most mock drafts as a top-10 pick.

As for the Celtics, they have plenty of areas in need of added talent, so they could conceivably go in just about any direction and it be a move that helps. The Celtics have made adding athleticism a priority this offseason, which could result in the addition of 6-6 Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech, one of the most athletic players in Thursday's draft. Of course, the need for size remains, which is why the Celtics might look to draft Nikola Vucevic (6-foot-11, 260) of USC or San Diego native Jeremy Tyler (6-11, 260), who bypassed his senior year of high school and has played in Israel and Japan, respectively, the last two years. He is projected as a late-first round or early second-round selection.

1. Cleveland
Kyrie Irving
6'3''
191
PG
Duke
2. Minnesota
Derrick Williams
6'8''
248
SFPF
Arizona
3. Utah
Brandon Knight
6'3''
177
PGSG
Kentucky
4. Cleveland
Enes Kanter
6'11''
259
PFC
Kentucky
5. Toronto
Jan Vesely
6'11''
230
SFPF
Czech Rep.
6. Washington
Marcus Morris
6'8''
230
SFPF
Kansas
7. Sacramento
Kemba Walker
6'1''
184
PG
UConn
8. Detroit
Tristan Thompson
6'9''
227
PF
Texas
9. Charlotte
Kawhi Leonard
6'7''
227
SF
SDSU
10. Milwaukee
Jonas Valanciunas
6'11''
240
C
Lithuania
11. Golden St.
Chris Singleton
6'9''
230
SF
FSU
12. Utah
Jimmer Fredette
6'2''
196
PG
BYU
13. Phoenix
Klay Thompson
6'7''
206
SG
WSU
14. Houston
Donatas Motiejunas
7'0''
224
PF
Lithuania
15. Indiana
Alec Burks
6'6''
193
PGSG
Colorado
16. Philly
Markieff Morris
6'9''
241
PF
Kansas
17. New York
Jordan Hamilton
6'8''
228
SF
Texas
18. Washington
Darius Morris
6'4''
190
PG
Michigan
19. Charlotte
Bismack Biyombo
6'9''
243
C
Congo
20. Minnesota
Kenneth Faried
6'7''
225
PF
Morehead St.
21. Portland
Tobias Harris
6'8''
223
SFPF
Tennessee
22. Denver
Marshon Brooks
6'5''
195
PGSG
Providence
23. Houston
Tyler Honeycutt
6'8''187
SGSF
UCLA
24. OKC
Nikola Mirotic
6'10''
226
SF
Serbia
25. Boston
Iman Shumpert
6'6''
220
SGPG
Geo. Tech
26. Dallas
Davis Bertans
6'10''
210
SF
Latvia
27. New Jersey
Nikola Vucevic
6'11''
260
C
USC
28. Chicago
Kyle Singler
6'9''
228
PF
Duke
29. San Antonio
Justin Harper
6'9''
228
PF
Richmond
30. Chicago
Chandler Parsons
6'10''
221
SF
Florida

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Jaylen Brown may be the future of Celtics, but he's focused on now

Jaylen Brown may be the future of Celtics, but he's focused on now

BOSTON – This is not how this is supposed to work.

When the regular season ends for high draft picks, there’s usually a nice, warm island awaiting their arrival in late-April when the regular season ends.

But this was no typical rookie season for Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

And as we have seen, Brown isn’t your typical rookie.

Drafted with the third overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, the 6-foot-7 Brown found himself in the rotation on a Celtics team that advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before having their season end at the hands of the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

The path towards individual and team success is littered with struggles and potholes of strife along with the pain of disappointment cluttering up things as well.

From within that rubble lies promise; the kind that has Celtics Nation justifiably excited about the future of Brown with the Celtics.

But Brown isn’t about the future, folks.

“I’m excited about the now,” he said. “I’m excited about this summer. I try not to look too far ahead. Everybody talks about the future and how much potential we have; I’m worried about the now. I want to be part of the now. That’s all I’m focused on.”

That kind of focus is among the many reasons that despite being a rookie, his teammates quickly sensed that the now-20-year-old had his sights set on not just talking about cracking the rotation but actually putting in the work that would leave head coach Brad Stevens no choice but to play him.

“He’s going to be really good,” said Boston’s Gerald Green. “If he keeps his same mentality; he’s humble. And continue to work on his game and continue to learn.

Green added, “he couldn’t be in a better place, than being here. With his talent and his work ethic, he’s going to be great.”

But like most rookies, Brown’s play was anything but a steady on-the-rise movement.

His first NBA start came on the road at Cleveland on Nov. 3.

Boston lost the game, but Brown won over many with his career-high 19 points while spending a good deal of the night guarding LeBron James.

In his next four games, Brown scored a total of just 17 points.

And in Boston’s first-round series with Chicago, Brown's role shrunk in the last four games – all Celtics wins. In those games, he played a total of just under 10 minutes.

So what did he do?

He got back in the gym, continued to work on his game and do a better job at making the most of the minutes he received.

More than anything else, Brown attributes his improved play as the season progressed to simply figuring out the NBA landscape as far as what he could do and what he needed to work on, to get better.

Which is why there are many who believe that Brown will be a much better player than the one we saw this season.

That said, he still had decent numbers – 6.6 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from 3-point range.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, coming into the NBA,” Brown said. “Throughout the year, I don’t think people expected me to contribute as much as I did. Now just getting to the Eastern  Conference finals and losing, it builds a hunger you know;  I have a bad taste in my mouth. Gotta put in work during the offseason and come back stronger.”

Like Brown, Al Horford came into the NBA as a high draft pick who wound up in the playoffs that rookie season.

Horford can totally relate to Brown’s comments about not knowing what he was getting into.

“The first year you’re really feeling everything out,” Horford said. “Jaylen has an understanding now of what the league is about. It’s a lot for a rookie to handle. Now he has a better idea (so) he can just focus on getting better, working on his game and I expect him to be much better his second year.”

Brown will have the knowledge gained from being part of a team that came within three wins of getting to the NBA Finals.

To come that close is tough to accept, but Brown sees it all as part of a bigger plan for him and his role with the Celtics moving forward.

“I can use it as fuel. I’ve been learning all year,” Brown said. “I’ve had ups, I’ve had downs, I’ve had opportunities, I’ve had mistakes. So I’ve been learning and growing and improving all year and I’m going to continue to grow and improve and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong.”

And that process Brown speaks of has certainly been aided by being in a successful situation like Boston compared to some other lottery picks who saw lots of playing time but showed minimal growth playing lots of minutes.

“Being on a winning team and developing good habits, learning how to win, play the game the right way … learning that at a young age is really going to help me,” Brown said. “A lot of young guys, they don’t learn that early. They have to figure it out three, four, five years in. I’m happy I learned it now.”

And while the learning will continue on for Brown during this offseason, it won’t be nearly as tough now than it was when he came into the league.

“I know exactly what I’m preparing for,” Brown said. “I expect a really different result.”

Brown added, “I want to be ready for whatever is thrown at me; no excuses whatsoever.”

Now that’s how this is supposed to work!