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

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

There’s no such thing as a good time to have an injury. 

But in terms of Isaiah Thomas being sidelined with a right groin injury and the schedule awaiting the Boston Celtics … this is about as bad a time as you can imagine to be without their scoring leader.

Thomas returned to Boston ahead of tonight’s game at Orlando, marking his first game missed since the 2014-2015 season. 

He suffered a right groin injury in the second quarter of Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday. 

At the time, Thomas was optimistic that he would be able to play tonight. But with a day off from practice, the soreness proved to be too much for Thomas to suit up and play tonight. 

While it’s unclear just how severe his groin injury is, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious (like they are with most injuries) about his return which may result in him missing more games than Wednesday night’s matchup against Orlando. 

“Those things (groin injuries) are a little unpredictable,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier today. “Especially in this sport, you have to be able to stop and change direction on a dime, especially him. It’s important that he’s 100 percent.”

Stevens is spot-on when he talks about how uncertain a return for Thomas is currently. 

New York’s Kristaps Porzingis suffered a groin injury against the Celtics in a preseason game back in October that didn’t result in anything more than him missing a day of practice. 

It was a different story when Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic suffered a right groin injury last spring (March 7-29) that sidelined him for 13 games. 

The timetable for Thomas’ return to the floor is likely to fall somewhere within those two timetables which would make an already daunting stretch of games even more difficult. 

Following tonight’s game, Boston has 12 games remaining in the month of December with nine being against teams with a winning record. And of the three games against teams below-.500 (Miami twice, Indiana), two of them are on the road. 

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”