Celtics draft primer: Perimeter players


Celtics draft primer: Perimeter players

By A. Sherrod Blakely

Ray Allen is coming off one of his best seasons ever shooting the ball, which is no small feat for the NBA's all-time 3-point shooting king.

But as much as the human Energizer Bunny seems to keep on going . . . and going . . . and going, at some point Allen's game will start to tail off.

The Celtics are expected to address this void in their roster via free agency.

But as Danny Ainge put it earlier this week, the Celtics "need talent," and may look to next month's NBA draft to add some depth at the wing position.

Here are some of the top wing prospects in next month's draft, which includes a handful, in green, that might be available for the Celtics when it's their turn to select with the No. 25 pick.

Alec Burks, 6-6, SGSF, Colorado

By the numbers: 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

Strengths: Has excellent shooting mechanics and has the kind of athleticism that will bode well for his chances of finishing around the basket in the NBA. Has great and instincts to be a solid defensive player at the next level.

Weaknesses: He needs to get stronger, which will help all phases of his game. Shot-selection could use some work as well.
Projected draft status: Lottery pick


Klay Thompson, 6-6, SGSF, Washington State
By the numbers: 21.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game

Strengths: One of the best pure shooters in the draft, Thompson already possesses NBA range on his shot. Does a good job of playing off the ball, well aware of how to use screens to free himself up or set up teammates for easy scores when he draws attention.

Weaknesses: Does not have NBA-caliber athleticism, which hurts him more on the defensive end of the floor. Because he does not have great quickness, taking players off the dribble is a part of his game that is seldom seen.

Projected draft status: Middle of the first round


Jordan Hamilton, 6-7, SGSF, Texas

By the numbers: 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game

Strengths: Just imagine Tony Allen with better mechanics, and a smoother-looking jump shot. His strength and ability to finish around the basket compliments a player who brings a high degree of toughness to the floor whenever he plays.

Weaknesses: Does a lot of things well, but doesn't do any one thing exceptionally well. His physical style of play defensively helps cover up - but not completely - the fact that he doesn't have great foot speed. His lateral quickness could use some work as well.

Projected draft status: First-round pick

Kyle Singler, 6-9, SF, Duke

By the numbers: 16.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game

Strengths: An instrumental part of keeping the Blue Devils among college basketball's elite programs. Has the size and perimeter-shooting skills to stretch defenses. Has the potential to be a good pick-and-pop shooter in pick-and-roll situations in the NBA.

Weaknesses: At 6-9, 230 pounds, he doesn't rebound the ball as well as he should for his size. Foot speed and lateral quickness are both major concerns at the next level. Unclear if he's reached his full potential.

Projected draft status: Late first round, early second


Josh Selby, 6-3, SG, Kansas

By the numbers: 7.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game

Strengths: This Baltimore native's game draws some comparisons to Celtics guard Delonte West, although he was not nearly as consistent during his time at Kansas as West was at St. Joseph's. Selby's first step to the basket is one of the quickest you'll find. He's also very creative around the basket, and his on-the-ball defense is impressive.

Weaknesses: Will have to play almost exclusively off the ball, which puts him at a huge size disadvantage just about every time he steps on the floor. Has shown the ability to break players down, but doesn't attack the basket with the kind of consistency a player with his skill set is expected to.

Projected draft status: Late first-round, early second

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn


After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

After flurry of moves, Celtics still aren't done

You’re probably thinking the summer fireworks are finished after the Celtics brought back Tyler Zeller, added ex-Celtic Gerald Green, and signed rookies Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil. It’s true, these moves do lower the likelihood of a multifaceted trade, but it doesn’t totally extinguish the odds of something seismic happening.

The Celtics still retain their flexibility, since none of these deals have actually been finalized. Even after they are, they’d still have the pieces required to make a deal work for a superstar like Blake Griffin. It’s not hard to make a valid trade for one player, but it is difficult if it’s a multi-step process like a Russell Westbrook renegotiate-and-extend trade.

“This is not necessarily what the team will be,” a source told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “There’s probably changes coming.”

Well, yeah. Changes have to come. The Celtics don’t really have a choice here.

Assuming Jaylen Brown is signed, they’ll have 18 players with at least partially guaranteed contracts. So at least three players will have to be exported before the season, since the NBA requires a maximum of 15 players on a roster.

Here’s a look at the Celtics’ current projected depth chart:

FRONT COURT Amir Johnson Kelly Olynyk Tyler Zeller  
Al Horford Jonas Jerebko Jordan Mickey Ben Bentil*
Jae Crowder Jaylen Brown* Gerald Green James Young
BACK COURT Avery Bradley Marcus Smart RJ Hunter John Holland*
Isaiah Thomas Terry Rozier Demetrius Jackson  

So, something has to happen. It’s just a matter of what. You can choose to believe the Celtics aren’t actually trying to make a blockbuster move. Or you can choose to believe the signals that have been firing off this month from the Celtics themselves indicating they’re “not done.”

It wouldn’t be difficult for the Celtics to get closer to 15 players by completing a blockbuster trade for a player like Griffin.
Perhaps some combination of veterans (Amir Johnson, Avery Bradley, and Jonas Jerebko) with youth (Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, and James Young) and draft picks (2018 Nets pick) could bring in Griffin and Paul Pierce.

Saturday’s moves make sense regardless of any transactions to follow.

Zeller is a bargain at just $8 million as a steadying presence on both ends of the floor. But, if Johnson were dealt, he’d be able to slide right up the depth chart as the team’s backup center.

Green shot 37.2 percent on spot up threes, per SportVU, over the past three years, so he provides spacing as a scorer who can catch fire. Considering Brad Stevens’ track record of sapping every ounce of talent out of each of his players -- hello, Jordan Crawford! -- it’s possible the Celtics will be getting the Green who scored an efficient 15.8 points per game just two years ago in Phoenix, and not the subpar Green who struggled to stay on the court last year in Miami.

If one or two of Boston’s young wings were dealt, Green, on a mere veteran minimum contract, would have an even easier path to playing time as a spark off the bench.

It’s difficult to read into the signings of second-round picks Jackson and Bentil, but either way the should both spend the season developing with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

The Celtics haven’t made a move yet, but they also haven’t done anything to suggest they’re entirely done. These moves could be precursors to something significant, or not. But at the least they provide depth to an already impressive roster.


Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil


Report: Celtics agree to deals with Zeller and picks Jackson, Bentil

On a busy Saturday for the Celtics, they have brought back center Tyler Zeller and agreed to deals with draft picks Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported.

Earlier Saturday, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported that the Celtics will sign guard Gerald Green. 

Himmelsbach reports that Zeller's is a $16 million, two-year deal with the second-year not guaranteed. Jackson, the point guard from Notre Dame who was the 45th overall selection in the draft, has a guaranteed deal and Bentil, the forward from Providence who was the 51st player drafted, has a partially guaranteed deal. 

Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald reported that the second-year of Zeller's deal is a team option and that Green agreed to a one-year deal at the $1.4 million veteran mininum based on his nine years of NBA service.

The 7-foot Zeller averaged 6.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes a game last season. 

R.J. Hunter, James Young, Bentil and John Holland are in position to fight for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reports, pending more deals, which the Celtics are reportedly working on. A source told Himmelsbach, that while there are probably changes coming, "There is no big deal right now." 

Bulpett reported that Celtics' talks with the Philadelphia 76ers involving a deal for Sixers' big man Jahlil Okafor have, according to sources, grown "stale" and that the moves Saturday put 2014 draft pick James Young's roster spot in jeopardy.

With Green, Zeller, and No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, the Celtics have has 15 guaranteed contracts and three partial or non-guaranteed deals. 



Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal


Report: Celtics to bring back Gerald Green with one-year deal

The Celtics will sign free agent Gerald Green, the guard they drafted with the 18th overall pick back in 2005, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported.

Green, 30, played for the Miami Heat last season and averaged 8.9 points a game. Deveney reports Green will sign a one-year guaranteed contract. 

Green has been well-traveled since being traded by the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal in 2007, the year he won the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest. He has played for seven other NBA teams and played two seasons in Russia. His best season was 2013-14 in Phoenix when he averaged 15.8 points a game for the Suns. 

Deveney also reports that sources around the league continue to indicate the Celtics are looking to make a trade for a "star-caliber type" player. Last week, he reported on their interest in the Clippers' Blake Griffin.