Celtics Draft Primer: International players

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Celtics Draft Primer: International players

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

The Boston Celtics have an illustrious history which includes contributions coming from various players in various parts of the country.

But in terms of international players, you'll find a scant collection of journeymen in Celtics lore.

To put Boston's penchant for passing on foreign players in perspective, the C's have never drafted an international player in the first round.

While the Celtics are exploring all their options, it's not out of the question that this season could mark a first for the C's in using a first-round pick to select an international player.

Here are some of the top international players in next month's draft, with those likely on the draft board when the Celtics choose with the No. 25 pick, in bold.

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Bismark Biyombo, 6-9, FC, Democratic Republic of Congo

By the Numbers: 6.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.

Strengths: Freakishly long 7-7 wingspan makes most games his personal block party; Good offensive rebounder; plays with intensity akin to Joakim Noah or Kevin Garnett.

Weaknesses: Inexperience; Relies way too much on generating offense through put-backs and dunks; listed as 18 years old, but there are concerns about his age.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Enes Kanter, 6-10, C, Turkey

By the Numbers: Averaged more than 30 points and a double-double in his one season (2009-2010) at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calf.

Strengths: Has the kind of size and strength to make a major impact for the Celtics; better-than average free throw shooter.

Weaknesses: Talented, but just 18 years old; has had some knee injuries that may result in him dipping some in next months' NBA draft.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Jan Vesely, 6-11, SFPF, Czech Republic

By the Numbers: 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 rebounds per game.

Strengths: A tough matchup for opponents because of his height; fearless when going to the basket, but can still raise up and knock down a jumper in your face.

Weaknesses: Poor rebounder which has to do with his lack of strength. Lateral quickness raises questions about whether he can defend at this level; his post-up game has improved, but still needs work.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Jonas Valanciunas, 6-11, C, Lithuania

By the Numbers: 7.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game.

Strengths: Valanciunas has wide frame that will allow him to carry more weight without affecting his mobility; does nice job offensive rebounding.

Weaknesses: Slow moving center, even by Joe Barry Carroll standards; low post game could use some work.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Donatas Motiejunas, 7-0, PF, Lithuania

By the Numbers: 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Strengths: Surprisingly effective ball-handler; Has a solid inside-outside game; despite his size, has decent lateral quickness.

Weaknesses: Doesn't always play as hard as he should; Needs to add strength.
Projected draft status: First round pick.

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Davis Bertans, 6-10, SF, Latvia

By the Numbers: 6.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game (Combined averages for teams in Latvia and Slovenia).

Strengths: Lightning quick release causes lots of problems for defenses; handles the ball well enough to create his own shot.

Weaknesses: Toothpick-skinny, even for a small forward; foot speed not so good, makes him a liability defensively; doesn't seem comfortable going to rim either to score or to grab rebounds.

Projected draft status: Late first round.

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

Blakely: Despite their spot in East, consistency remains a problem for Celtics

Blakely: Despite their spot in East, consistency remains a problem for Celtics

BOSTON –  Devin Booker went on a scoring binge for the ages against the Boston Celtics on Friday night, the likes of which won’t be seen anytime soon at the TD Garden.

The performance was so great, even the most die-hard Green Teamers had to give the 20-year-old props for dropping 70 points – 70 points! – on the Celtics who still wound up winning, 130-120.

And as Booker continued to pour on the points and the Celtics’ double-digit lead remained just that, a double-digit lead, the narrative of what we witnessed was a lot deeper than just some young kid getting hot.

The Suns are trying lose as many games as they can, while throwing youngsters out there like Booker to play major minutes and predictably make their share of mistakes with the goal being to learn from those miscues and get better.

But the true lesson in what went down Friday night had little to do with Booker’s big night or some Celtics being a little salty about it afterwards.

Lost in all of the hoopla surrounding Booker’s big night was the repeated revelation by Celtics head coach Brad Stevens after the game about his team’s play and their record not being on one accord.

“That’s why, like I’ve said before, I’m surprised at where we are record-wise because we’ve got to play at a higher level for 48 minutes,” Stevens said. “We just don’t do it.”

And Booker’s historic night is the latest example to illustrate Stevens’ point.

Not having Avery Bradley (sickness) was a factor, obviously.

But that’s no excuse for the way they allowed Booker to do anything and everything he wanted to on the floor, allowing a really good shooter to gain confidence to the point where there was literally nothing the Celtics could do to cool him off.

The Celtics looked casual for three-plus quarters defensively against the Suns and still managed to win which says more about Phoenix and its desire to lose as much as possible, than Boston’s ability to find success and overcome a player with a hot hand.

It was another case of Boston getting away from what works while settling into what felt good and easy.

Most of the guys Phoenix played on Friday weren’t players you would consider big-time scoring threats, so the Celtics defensively didn’t play with a defensive edge other than the first six minutes of the game.

In that span, Phoenix didn’t make a single shot from the field while Boston bolted out to a 16-3 lead.

From there, the Celtics didn’t play with the same sense of urgency.

Fortunately for them, they were playing a team that didn’t want to win.

That’s not going to be the case in these remaining games, a mixture of playoff-bound clubs, wannabe playoff-bound crews and a few others with rosters full of players fighting to stay in the league who will use these remaining games essentially as an audition for next season.

If Boston plays like this in any of their remaining games, they’ll most likely lose.

And that’s why Brad Stevens continues to harp on this team not being as good as their record.

Because when you’re in the same class record-wise with teams like Golden State, San Antonio, Cleveland and Houston, there’s a certain expectation of consistency you should play with most nights.

The Warriors and Rockets have explosive scorers; the Spurs play elite-level defense most nights and the Cavs have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Those factors form the basis of their consistency in terms of winning and overall play.

But the Celtics are very much a wild and unpredictable bunch, able to knock off Cleveland and Golden State, but get blasted by Denver and lose to Philadelphia.

If inconsistent play is a hallmark of this team, their potential for having a great season will be remembered as just that, potential.

Because games like the one they played on Friday against Phoenix on more nights than not, will result in a loss which could put the Celtics very much in the crosshairs for an early playoff exit.

Five takeaways: Booker's 70 puts focus on C's lack of D

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Five takeaways: Booker's 70 puts focus on C's lack of D

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