Celtics Draft Primer: International players

Celtics Draft Primer: International players
May 20, 2011, 10:17 pm
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By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

The Boston Celtics have an illustrious history which includes contributions coming from various players in various parts of the country.

But in terms of international players, you'll find a scant collection of journeymen in Celtics lore.

To put Boston's penchant for passing on foreign players in perspective, the C's have never drafted an international player in the first round.

While the Celtics are exploring all their options, it's not out of the question that this season could mark a first for the C's in using a first-round pick to select an international player.

Here are some of the top international players in next month's draft, with those likely on the draft board when the Celtics choose with the No. 25 pick, in bold.

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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: Freakishly long 7-7 wingspan makes most games his personal block party; Good offensive rebounder; plays with intensity akin to Joakim Noah or Kevin Garnett.

Weaknesses: Inexperience; Relies way too much on generating offense through put-backs and dunks; listed as 18 years old, but there are concerns about his age.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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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: Has the kind of size and strength to make a major impact for the Celtics; better-than average free throw shooter.

Weaknesses: Talented, but just 18 years old; has had some knee injuries that may result in him dipping some in next months' NBA draft.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Jan Vesely, 6-11, SFPF, Czech Republic

By the Numbers: 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 rebounds per game.

Strengths: A tough matchup for opponents because of his height; fearless when going to the basket, but can still raise up and knock down a jumper in your face.

Weaknesses: Poor rebounder which has to do with his lack of strength. Lateral quickness raises questions about whether he can defend at this level; his post-up game has improved, but still needs work.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Jonas Valanciunas, 6-11, C, Lithuania

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

Strengths: Valanciunas has wide frame that will allow him to carry more weight without affecting his mobility; does nice job offensive rebounding.

Weaknesses: Slow moving center, even by Joe Barry Carroll standards; low post game could use some work.

Projected draft status: Lottery pick (top-14).

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Donatas Motiejunas, 7-0, PF, Lithuania

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

Strengths: Surprisingly effective ball-handler; Has a solid inside-outside game; despite his size, has decent lateral quickness.

Weaknesses: Doesn't always play as hard as he should; Needs to add strength.
Projected draft status: First round pick.

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Davis Bertans, 6-10, SF, Latvia

By the Numbers: 6.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game (Combined averages for teams in Latvia and Slovenia).

Strengths: Lightning quick release causes lots of problems for defenses; handles the ball well enough to create his own shot.

Weaknesses: Toothpick-skinny, even for a small forward; foot speed not so good, makes him a liability defensively; doesn't seem comfortable going to rim either to score or to grab rebounds.

Projected draft status: Late first round.

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