Celtics draft primer: Perimeter players

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Celtics draft primer: Perimeter players

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

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

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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

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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
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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

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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 sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

How the 1956 draft changed the Celtics franchise

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How the 1956 draft changed the Celtics franchise

We take a look at how the 1956 Boston Celtics draft landed them three All-Stars and changed the franchise forever.

Avery Bradley elected to NBA All-Defensive First Team

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Avery Bradley elected to NBA All-Defensive First Team

BOSTON -- It seems that while Avery Bradley comes back every season with something new that he’s added to his game offensively, his defense has always been solid.

But this past year, Bradley, 26, was more committed to being not just a great on-the-ball defender, but also to expanding his game at that end of the floor to be a better help defender, too.

Bradley’s efforts didn't go unnoticed. The NBA announced Wednesday that he was among the players named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team.

It was Bradley's first time being named to the first team. His only other all-league recognition defensively came in 2013, when he was named to the league's second unit.

Bradley's play certainly was pivotal in his selection. But it didn't hurt that Portland's C.J. McCollum praised Bradley via social media as the best perimeter defender in the NBA.

"I don't think it's close," tweeted McCollum. 

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard was the lone unanimous choice on the first team. In addition to Leonard and Bradley, the first team also included Golden State’s Draymond Green, Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan, and Jordan’s teammate Chris Paul.

Of the first-team players, Bradley was third in total points (149), which included 62 first-team votes and 25 second-team votes. The only players with more first-team votes were Leonard (130) and Green (123).

Players were awarded two points for a first-team vote and one point for a second-team vote.

The All-NBA Defensive Second team included Paul Millsap of Atlanta, Paul George of Indiana, Hassan Whiteside of Miami, ex-Celtic and current Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

Bradley wasn’t the only Celtic to receive some all-Defensive love from voters. Jae Crowder had a total of 47 points, which included 3 first-team votes. His 47 points were the third-highest among players not named to the first or second team.  Also, Celtics guard Marcus Smart received seven points which included 2 first-team votes.

Olynyk: Tough call to have surgery, but it was right thing to do

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Olynyk: Tough call to have surgery, but it was right thing to do

BOXFORD, Mass. -- It was just last week that Kelly Olynyk underwent right shoulder surgery that will keep him from playing for the Canadian National Team this summer in their quest for an Olympics berth in Rio, as well as have him sidelined until sometime in October. 

And yet there was the Celtics center on Wednesday with his right arm in a sling, chatting it up with kids at Spofford Pond School as part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lab during an unveiling ceremony, courtesy of the Celts and National Grid.

The C's and National Grid purchased 25 Chromebooks, 13 Samsung Galaxy Tablets and a 65-inch Samsung Smart TV as well as other high-tech, education-related items.

“I love the opportunity to come out, give back to the community,” said Olynyk who was also joined by former Celtic Leon Powe and Terry Sobolewski, the Chief Customer Officer for National Grid Massachusetts. “I’ve been sitting in my living room the last eight days, looking at the same four walls.”

And for Olynyk, the days of going stir crazy won’t end anytime soon.

The 7-footer had surgery on May 16, the day after he told CSNNE.com that if he elected to have surgery he would be sidelined for five months.

On Wednesday, Olynyk reiterated that the timeline for him to resume full contact had not changed.

Olynyk told CSNNE.com earlier that the surgery was “inevitable,” but that didn’t make it any easier.

“Probably the hardest decision of my life,” Olynyk said. “As far as weighing the national team, the opportunity to play in the Olympics. I played with Team Canada the last eight years, waiting for this opportunity, waiting for this day to come where we’d be on this stage, have this before us. But with the Celtics . . . talking to a bunch of people, it was inevitable that I was going to need surgery.”

Among the biggest concerns for Olynyk was the possibility of playing with Team Canada and suffering another right shoulder injury that would require surgery and potentially lead to him missing the start of the season.

By having the surgery last week Olynyk is expected to resume practicing with the Celts in the middle of October, which would give him a couple weeks of having been cleared before the season starts.

“I couldn’t miss next year,” said Olynyk who added that the decision to have the surgery was his and did not involve the Celtics pressuring him to do so. “We’re moving in the right direction. You want to keep that momentum going. It was a really tough decision. But it was something I needed to do.”

Olynyk said he will be in a sling for at least two weeks, adding that he will be in it for another 10 days or so.

“My guess is you progress, getting that motion back, making sure everything is fine, all that kind of stuff,” he said.

A healthy Olynyk could prove vital to the growth of his game as well as the Celtics’ desire to build off of last season’s 48-win club that made it to the playoffs for the second year in a row but also suffered a second consecutive first-round defeat.

Last season, Olynyk averaged 10.0 points per game and shot a career-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range. A stronger Olynyk could give the Celtics more options in how they want to use him going forward. For the most part, Boston likes to have Olynyk on the floor because of his perimeter shooting, which helps with spacing. But if he’s physically stronger, Boston can look to post him up from time to time as well, which would make him a much more dangerous weapon offensively.

No one anticipates Olynyk will suddenly morph into a dominant, inside-outside scoring threat. But added strength does give him a chance to improve as both a rebounder and defender, two areas in which Olynyk was up and down this past season.

And admittedly he was at his worst during the playoffs, when the Celtics desperately needed someone -- anyone -- to help space the floor as the Hawks packed in the paint, which limited the drives to the basket by Isaiah Thomas.

“(I was) cleared [medically to play], but I wasn’t able to help the team at all. I couldn’t do anything,” Olynyk said. “My arm . . . I couldn’t hold off one of these kids with my arm. Shooting pains, it was giving out. Motions without contact were okay. But once you put any contact on my arm, it was done. So I couldn’t do anything.”

Olynyk is hopeful the surgery will alleviate the issues with the shoulder, which sidelined him for 12 games in addition to limiting his effectiveness in the playoffs.

“[The doctors] tell me [I’m] going to be stronger than [I’ve] ever felt, ever been,” Olynyk said.