Six candidates to work out with Celtics
Six candidates to work out with Celtics
BOSTON — It hasn't even been 24 hours since the Boston Celtics found out they'll have the No. 6 pick in the June 26 NBA draft, so it comes as no surprise that they have yet to secure workouts with players for that pick.
Those workouts will be hammered out in the coming days, for sure.
But now that we know where they're picking, who should they bring in for workouts?
Here at CSNNE.com, we take a look at six prime candidates for workouts with the Celtics with an eye towards the No. 6 pick.
Dante Exum, G, Australia
It's hard to imagine him slipping past Orlando at No. 4, but anything's possible on draft night. Of the point guards in this draft, none have more upside than this 18-year-old.
He has length, athleticism and good instincts for a player so young.
But he'll need time to develop, and who better to learn from if you're a point guard, than Rajon Rondo.
But just like him being available seems unlikely, the same is true for getting him in for a workout.
A league source told CSNNE.com that the Big Four - Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Exum - aren't expected to work out for many teams.
So for the Celtics to get a workout from Exum, it'll signal that he's potentially slipping or that the Celtics are selling his camp on the idea that they may just be looking to move up a couple of spots to snag him.
Julius Randle, F, Kentucky
Convincing Randle to work out for the Celtics might be problematic if his camp gets word in advance that the Utah Jazz will take him at No. 5. Although Utah didn't know until Tuesday night that they were selecting fifth, Randle has been a player high atop their wish list most of this season.
They aren't alone.
Although Randle is seen by some as a player with a limited ceiling in terms of growth, he is a creative, deceptively athletic big man who has the potential to be a double-double points and rebounds kind of player.
But there has to be some level of concern for the Celtics in drafting Randle because in so many ways, he has a lot of same skills as Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynk. And it's not a given that when it comes their time to pick, he'll be the best available player on the board.
Noah Vonleh, F/C, Indiana
The Haverhill, Mass. native told CSNNE.com in Chicago that he "would probably" work out for the Boston Celtics leading up to next month's draft.
"After the ping-pong balls (draft lottery), we'll see," he said.
Projected by most to be drafted anywhere as high as No. 5 but no lower than 14, there's a strong possibility Vonleh will be one of the first projected lottery picks to line up a workout with Boston.
Despite being named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Vonleh believes he has plenty to prove.
The best way to do that, he says, is through team-specific workouts.
"I think my game could definitely translate to the pros," Vonleh told CSNNE.com in Chicago. "I'm a guy that's 6-9, can handle the ball, can shoot the ball, post-up ... I just have to keep working on it."
Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
With the No. 6 pick, the Celtics are very much in the neighborhood in which Smart should be selected. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is looking to add players with talent and toughness - two traits that have often been associated with Smart.
He comes with some baggage, obviously.
The pushing incident involving him and a fan last season at Oklahoma State has dogged him throughout his interviews with teams in Chicago, and it'll likely come up in some fashion during conversations with teams during team workouts.
But at No. 6, the Celtics will look to add a player who can help speed up the team's rebuilding process.
And Smart, warts and all, could easily be that player.
Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
You can count on Gordon trying to get a workout with the Celtics, which would provide him with a shot at increasing his draft stock. He's projected to go as early as No. 6.
Already on the Celtics' watch list, it would not come as a surprise if Gordon kills it in his workout and forces the Celtics to at least pause to consider him.
And unlike most players in this year's draft, Gordon has made no secret about being intrigued with the idea of playing for the Celtics and head coach Brad Stevens.
""Real, real good guy," said a smiling Gordon, in reference to Stevens during the Chicago pre-draft combine last week. "Good guy, loves basketball, good heart. Enjoys the game, enjoys coaching. (He's) one of the guys I'd like to be around."
Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan State
This is a bit of a stretch at No. 6, but a strong workout could change things dramatically especially if Stauskas had a chance to compete with someone like Marcus Smart.
And Ainge has a familiarity with Stauskas whose prep school competed against the prep school Ainge's son attends.
He came into this past college basketball season as an exceptional shooter.
Stauskas leaves as an exceptional shooter who can play some at the point and, following Chicago's pre-draft combine, displayed more athleticism than anticipated.
He's definitely a player who is starting to turn a few heads with a more balanced game than many expect.