Boston Celtics

Celtics draft primer: Perimeter players


Celtics draft primer: Perimeter players

By A. Sherrod Blakely

Ray Allen is coming off one of his best seasons ever shooting the ball, which is no small feat for the NBA's all-time 3-point shooting king.

But as much as the human Energizer Bunny seems to keep on going . . . and going . . . and going, at some point Allen's game will start to tail off.

The Celtics are expected to address this void in their roster via free agency.

But as Danny Ainge put it earlier this week, the Celtics "need talent," and may look to next month's NBA draft to add some depth at the wing position.

Here are some of the top wing prospects in next month's draft, which includes a handful, in green, that might be available for the Celtics when it's their turn to select with the No. 25 pick.

Alec Burks, 6-6, SGSF, Colorado

By the numbers: 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Strengths: Has excellent shooting mechanics and has the kind of athleticism that will bode well for his chances of finishing around the basket in the NBA. Has great and instincts to be a solid defensive player at the next level.

Weaknesses: He needs to get stronger, which will help all phases of his game. Shot-selection could use some work as well.
Projected draft status: Lottery pick


Klay Thompson, 6-6, SGSF, Washington State
By the numbers: 21.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game

Strengths: One of the best pure shooters in the draft, Thompson already possesses NBA range on his shot. Does a good job of playing off the ball, well aware of how to use screens to free himself up or set up teammates for easy scores when he draws attention.

Weaknesses: Does not have NBA-caliber athleticism, which hurts him more on the defensive end of the floor. Because he does not have great quickness, taking players off the dribble is a part of his game that is seldom seen.

Projected draft status: Middle of the first round


Jordan Hamilton, 6-7, SGSF, Texas

By the numbers: 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game

Strengths: Just imagine Tony Allen with better mechanics, and a smoother-looking jump shot. His strength and ability to finish around the basket compliments a player who brings a high degree of toughness to the floor whenever he plays.

Weaknesses: Does a lot of things well, but doesn't do any one thing exceptionally well. His physical style of play defensively helps cover up - but not completely - the fact that he doesn't have great foot speed. His lateral quickness could use some work as well.

Projected draft status: First-round pick

Kyle Singler, 6-9, SF, Duke

By the numbers: 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game

Strengths: An instrumental part of keeping the Blue Devils among college basketball's elite programs. Has the size and perimeter-shooting skills to stretch defenses. Has the potential to be a good pick-and-pop shooter in pick-and-roll situations in the NBA.

Weaknesses: At 6-9, 230 pounds, he doesn't rebound the ball as well as he should for his size. Foot speed and lateral quickness are both major concerns at the next level. Unclear if he's reached his full potential.

Projected draft status: Late first round, early second


Josh Selby, 6-3, SG, Kansas

By the numbers: 7.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game

Strengths: This Baltimore native's game draws some comparisons to Celtics guard Delonte West, although he was not nearly as consistent during his time at Kansas as West was at St. Joseph's. Selby's first step to the basket is one of the quickest you'll find. He's also very creative around the basket, and his on-the-ball defense is impressive.

Weaknesses: Will have to play almost exclusively off the ball, which puts him at a huge size disadvantage just about every time he steps on the floor. Has shown the ability to break players down, but doesn't attack the basket with the kind of consistency a player with his skill set is expected to.

Projected draft status: Late first-round, early second

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety


NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

NEW YORK - NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.

Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden's attempts after he swings his arms into contact.

The new rules interpretations are being unofficially called the "Harden Rule" and the "Zaza Rule". The Washington Wizards accused the Celtics' Al Horford of a dangerous closeout on Markieff Morris that injured Morris and knocked him out of Game 1 of their playoff series two weeks before the Pachulia-Leonard play.

Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at a replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia said Thursday.

The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries. 

Officials can still rule the play a common foul if they did not see a dangerous or unnatural attempt by the defender upon review. Borgia said Pachulia's foul would have been deemed a flagrant.

With the fouls on the perimeter shots - often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up - officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.

"We saw it as a major trend in the NBA so we had to almost back up and say, `Well, wait a minute, this is going to be a trend, so let's catch up to it,"' NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.