Celtics draft primer: Big men

Celtics draft primer: Big men
May 19, 2011, 11:12 pm
Share This Post

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

With the NBA becoming more guard-oriented, there's a very good chance that a number of the quality big men will slip down a few spots in next month's NBA draft.

For the Boston Celtics, that's a very good thing when you consider one of the C's biggest needs is to add more depth in the frontcourt.

With the return of the O'Neal "brothers" -- Jermaine and Shaquille -- next season very much up in the air, the C's will look to fortify its center position in the offseason.

The Celtics' preference will be to do it via free agency, but Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, has never been one to rule out any scenario if it could possibly help the C's.

Which is why the Celtics will indeed give some thought to adding a big man in this year's draft, even though all indications are that there are very few high-impact players at the power forward or center position.

Here we'll take a look at some of the top big men in next month's draft, which includes possible targets for the Celtics with the No. 25 pick, in bold.

==============================

Jonas Valanciunas, 6-11, C, Lithuania

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

Strengths: Excellent pick-and-roll finisher around the basket; has a wide frame that will allow him to carry more weight without affecting his mobility; does nice job offensive rebounding.

Weaknesses: Picks up fouls too quickly. Does not have great or even average foot speed for an NBA center. Low post game has very little variety to it.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14)

==============================

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: Impressive shot-blocker, courtesy of a freakishly long 7-7 wingspan. Does a good job of attacking the offensive boards. Plays with great energy.

Weaknesses: Inexperience; doesn't have a go-to move offensively, relies primarily on put-backs and dunks; listed as 18 years old, there are concerns about his age.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14)

==============================

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:Very talented big man with size, strength and intelligence to play the role of difference-maker. Better than average free-throw shooter.

Weaknesses: Talented, but just 18 years old. He has had some knee injuries that may impact how long he stays on the board.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14)

================================

Tristan Thompson, 6-9, F, Texas

By the numbers: 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game

Strengths: Has good hands and does a nice job of finishing around the basket. Long wingspan allows him to be a good weak-side defender.

Weaknesses:Undersized to play power forward in the NBA, spends too much time around the basket. Horrible free throw shooter; jumper needs a lot of work.

Projected draft status: Middle of first round

================================

Markieff Morris, 6-10, PF, Kansas

By the numbers: 13.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game

Strengths: Has an NBA-ready body. Has good range on his shot, making him an ideal pick-and-pop player. Good finisher around the rim.

Weaknesses: His mid-range touch is still a work in progress. Very little versatility to his around-the-basket game.

Projected draft status: Middle to late first round

==================================

Donatas Motiejunas, 7-0, PF, Lithuania

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

Strengths: Lefty can handle the ball extremely well for a player of his size. Can score from the perimeter as well as around the basket. Decent lateral quickness.

Weaknesses: Doesn't always play hard as he should. Needs to add strength.

Projected draft status: First round pick

==================================

Kenneth Faried, 6-8, F, Morehead State

By the numbers: 17.3 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game

Strengths: Incredible rebounder at the college level. He has great timing on his jump, and exceptional instincts. He's a high energy player.

Weaknesses: Undersized to play power forward in the NBA. Post-game needs work. Has no real perimeter-shooting touch.

Projected draft status: Middle to late first round

===================================

Jordan Williams, 6-10, F, Maryland

By the numbers: 16.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game

Strengths: Has a nice touch around the basket. Does a good job of getting position and holding it as a rebounder. Above-average athleticism for his size.

Weaknesses: Conditioning remains a concern. Offensive-game is still a work in progress. Still learning how to create space when tightly defended by a bigger player.

Projected draft status: Late first round to early second

====================================

Willie Reed, 6-10, F, St. Louis

By the numbers: 12.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game

Strengths: One of the more athletic players in this year's draft; has the potential to be excellent help-side defender.

Weaknesses: Needs to develop a mid-range game. Needs to add strength. Poor free throw shooter.

Projected draft status: Late first round, early second

=========================

Justin Harper, 6-10, PF, Richmond

By the numbers: 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game

Strengths: A "stretch 4," already has NBA 3-point range. He's another solid pick-and-pop big man. Better-than-average ball handler for his position.

Weaknesses: Needs to add more muscle to his lithe frame; doesn't use length enough in the post; usual concerns with being a mid-major player coming to the NBA.

Projected draft status: Late first round, early second

=========================
Trey Thompkins, 6-10, F, Georgia

By the numbers: 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game

Strengths: Big man with a nice pick-and-pop game; high basketball IQ; excellent footwork in the post, playing off the ball.

Weaknesses: Not a great shot-blocker despite impressive wingspan and basketball smarts; passing could use some improvement; lateral quickness may be an issue.

Projected draft status: Late first round, early second

=========================

JaJuan Johnson, 6-10, Purdue

By the numbers: 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game

Strengths: Runs the floor well; finishes in transition around the basket and above the rim; great timing defensively in terms of blocking shots.

Weaknesses: Pushed around too easily because of lack of strength and weight; limited offensive game.

Projected draft status: Late first round, early second

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