OFFSEASON

Blakely: Mock 2011 NBA Draft

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Blakely: Mock 2011 NBA Draft

By A. SherrodBlakely
CSNNE.com CelticsInsider
Follow@sherrodbcsn The NBA draft is about a week away, plenty of time for players to rise and fall in the eyes of NBA executives. While most would agree that Kyrie Irving of Duke and Arizona's Derrick Williams are the consensus top-two players, a lot can change from the No. 3 pick on down. Will Kentucky's Brandon Knight remain ahead of UConn's Kemba Walker as the second-best guard in the draft? Who will be the first international player selected? Will the Celtics snatch up one of the two locals (Providence's Marshon Brooks and Boston College's Reggie Jackson) with their first-round pick?

1. Cleveland KyrieIrving 6-3 191PG Duke
2. Minnesota Derrick Williams 6-8 248SFPF Arizona
3. Utah Brandon Knight 6-3 177PGSG Kentucky
4. Cleveland EnesKanter 6-11 259PFC Kentucky
5. Toronto JanVesely 6-11 230SFPF Czech Republic
6. Washington Jonas Valanciunas 6-11 240C Lithuania
7. Sacramento Kemba Walker 6-1 184PG UConn
8. Detroit Kawhi Leonard 6-7 227SF SDSU
9. Charlotte Marcus Morris 6-8230 SFPF Kansas
10. Milwaukee JordanHamilton 6-8228SF Texas
11. Golden State TristanThompson6-9 227PF Texas
12.Utah Jimmer Fredette6-2 196 PG BYU
13. Phoenix Chris Singleton 6-9 230SF Florida State
14. Houston Donatas Motiejunas 7-0 224PF Lithuania
15. Indiana AlecBurks 6-6 193 PGSG Colorado
16. Philadelphia MarkieffMorris 6-9 241 PFKansas
17. New York Klay Thompson6-7 206 SG Washington State
18. Washington DariusMorris6-4 190 PG Michigan
9. Charlotte TobiasHarris6-8 223 SFPF Tennessee
20. Minnesota KennethFaried6-7 225PF Morehead State
21.Portland Bismack Biyombo 6-9 243 C Congo
22. Denver KyleSingler 6-9 228 PF Duke
23.Houston Trey Thompkins 6-10 239 PF Georgia
24. Okla. City MarshonBrooks 6-5195 PGSG Providence
25. Boston ReggieJackson 6-3 200 PGSG Boston College
26. Dallas JeremyTyler 6-10 262PFC USA
27. New Jersey JaJuanJohnson 6-10 220 PF Purdue
28. Chicago TylerHoneycutt 6-8187 SGSF UCLA
29. San Antonio NikolaVucevic 6-11260 C USC
30. Chicago Chandler Parsons 6-10 221 SFFlorida

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

OFFSEASON

Celtics must address needs with free agency on the horizon

Celtics must address needs with free agency on the horizon

BOSTON -- With more salary cap space than they've ever had along with a slew of clear and well-defined needs, the Celtics are sure to be one of the busier teams when free agency begins on Friday.

And while the Celtics’ needs may be all over the place, there is one thing that head coach Brad Stevens and the rest of the Boston Celtics have made no secret about wanting to come away with this offseason.

“The need for increased versatility,” Stevens said.

Indeed, Stevens envisions the NBA becoming more of a position-less league going forward.

When you look at the Cleveland Cavaliers rallying from a 3-1 deficit to knock off Golden State, of course LeBron James was brilliant as well as Kyrie Irving. 

But one of the more stealth keys to that series that factored into its outcome, was the way Cleveland's 6-foot-9 power forward/center Tristan Thompson was able to hold his own defensively against two-time league MVP guard, 6-3 Stephen Curry.

His play was as clear an example of the value in having players with defensive versatility as you will find.

It also has value on the offensive end of the floor as well. 

That helps explain why LSU’s Ben Simmons was selected with the top overall pick, a player with power forward size (6-10, 240) with point guard-like vision.

And in many ways it speaks to why the Celtics decided to draft Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 pick instead of a playmaker like Providence College’s Kris Dunn or sharpshooters like Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield or Kentucky’s Jamal Murray.

Brown stands 6-7, weighs 223 pounds and has a 7-foot wingspan with elite athleticism and quickness getting to the paint. 

“Very few guys can move like Jaylen, can move at his size and at his length,” Stevens said. “So the defensive versatility is a big piece of that; that should be transferable right away.”

As for free agency, the same mantra – seek out versatile players – will remain in effect for Boston.

Of course Kevin Durant is at the top of the Celtics’ free agent wish list after Durant reportedly included Boston on the list of teams he will meet with in New York shortly after free agency begins.

In addition to the Celtics and his current team Oklahoma City, Durant is also planning to talk with officials from the following teams: Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami and San Antonio.

Along with Durant, the Celtics are also expected to express interest in Atlanta’s Al Horford; New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson; and possibly Golden State’s Harrison Barnes who will be a restricted free agent which often serves as a deterrent for potential suitors. However, Barnes could wind up being an unrestricted free agent if the Warriors feel as though they will land Durant.

Regardless of which free agents wind up in Boston, you can count on versatility being one of their strengths.

“I only look at the game in four spots; ball-handlers, wings, guys that can play that three-swing spot (some power forward as well as small forward) and bigs,” Stevens said. “The more versatile, the more position-less, the better. That overall provides more opportunities than it does not. That’s a positive when you talk about guys that can do different things at different positions.”