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

Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

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Report: Paul Pierce '50-50' about retirement after Clippers' exit

After the Clippers were elminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, a disappointed Paul Pierce told ESPN that he was "50-50" about retirement. 

In a video after Portland's Game 6 victory posted on oregonlive.com, the former Celtics captain said his "heart is broken" by another playoff elimination. 

Pierce signed a a three-year, $10 million contract to return home (he grew up in Inglewood, Calif.) and play for his old coach Doc Rivers in Los Angeles.  He'll be 39 next season and coming off the worst season of his career. Pierce averaged 6.1 points, 36 percent shooting and 18 minutes a game, all career lows.

How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

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How does Isaiah Thomas improve? Eating right is one step

WALTHAM, Mass. -- This past season, Isaiah Thomas took a major step forward to becoming more than just a solid NBA player, but one of the game’s best.
 
He knows he won’t stay among the elite for long if he doesn’t make some changes with the most notable being to his diet.
 
“I do not eat good,” Thomas acknowledged following his exit interview this week. “I eat like a young guy, a young guy who got a little bit of money, fast food every day. But I’m definitely going to change.”
 
The change becomes necessary not only in light of how the season ended for him and the Celtics, but also for his long-term goals, which include playing in the NBA until he’s at least 40 years old.
 
“I’m not that old but the greatest players took care of their bodies the best,” Thomas said.
 
Among those cited by Thomas who excelled at taking care of their bodies was former Celtic Ray Allen.
 
But Thomas was quick to add that he won’t go to the lengths that Allen did in maintaining good health.
 
“Because he’s a little crazy with that,” quipped Thomas. “I just want to play at a high level for a long time, like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant. You have to take care of your body. That’s half the battle of performing out there on the floor.
 
Thomas added, “This is a big summer for me to start doing that.”
 
Eating right is just part of the transformation process for Thomas.
 
He’ll also modify is offseason workouts to include some work in the boxing ring with long time friend Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
 
“I’m definitely work with him a few times, get my conditioning right, probably train, do some boxing stuff on the side, just to get in that type of shape,” Thomas said. “You get in that type of shape you won’t get tired on the basketball floor. This summer is big for me, transforming my body, getting into the best shape possible and coming back and having another all-star year.”
 
For the Celtics to improve upon this past season, they will need Thomas to continue elevating his play as well as the play of those around him.
 
It is that latter point that was among the many reasons Boston’s season is over. No matter what he did, those around him could not step their game up to a level needed in order to get past the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Chalk it up to another lesson learned for Thomas.
 
“You can’t do it on your own,” Thomas said. “There’s no way you can do it on your own. Nobody can do it on your own; and how hard it is to win playoff games, a playoff series. It’s not easy.”
 
And when you come up short, for Thomas is created an uneasiness that he never wants to experience again.
 
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to not have this feeling again,” he said. “It really hurt me. I’m going to use that as motivation to continue to get better and to work on my flaws and make those into my strengths. I promise you’ll I’ll be back better than ever next year.”