Celtics first-round options in NBA Draft: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura

Celtics first-round options in NBA Draft: Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura

BOSTON — Even with the recent success of the Gonzaga men’s basketball team, it’s still a program whose best players often fly below the radar when it comes to national notoriety. 

But if you drop 20 points while also grabbing seven boards on the way towards an upset win over Duke? 

Game changer. 

And that is how many view Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura, whose stock has only risen in the days and months since that win over Duke. 

It is to the point where Hachimura has played himself into being one of the first players chosen in next week’s NBA draft, a reality that’s based on the fact that he has been given an invite to the Green Room which is reserved for players pegged to be among the first players selected. 

The most likely shot at him being a Boston Celtic will be if he’s on the board for Boston with the No. 14 pick. 

At 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, Hachimura has the protypical size of an undersized NBA power forward. 

But in today’s small-ball generation, his physical strength along with a 7-2 wingspan will allow him to play against bigger foes. And his dribble-drive game gives him the ability to make bigger defenders pay by getting past them or impose his muscle on smaller defenders by dribbling into the spot he wants to score from and just shoot over the top. 

And what most teams love most about him is he’s a high-energy player whose effort — particularly when it comes to crashing the glass — is not an issue. 

“Relentless” is how one Western Conference scout described Hachimura when it comes to rebounding before adding, “guys like him with his skills ... that's the future of the NBA.”

But as talented as he is, Hachimura has some shortcomings as well. 

The two that jump out are his passing (he averaged just 1.5 assists per game) and defense. Balancing out his ability to at times beat guys off the dribble, has to be a passing game that makes teams pay when they double-team him or devote too much time trying to limit his scoring. 

Hachimura must also work to improve his 3-point shooting. While connecting on 41.7 percent of his 3’s does look great, he only averaged 1.0 attempts per game. And with the NBA 3-point line extended from what he’s used to in college, there’s no sense as to whether he’ll adjust appropriately and deliver at a similar clip in the NBA. 

And while there are certainly positives and negatives about Hachimura’s game, the one thing that few have doubts about, is whether he’s an NBA player.

But will he be a Celtic?

Stay tuned … 

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NBC Sports Boston to televise all 2019-20 Maine Red Claws home games

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NBC Sports Boston to televise all 2019-20 Maine Red Claws home games

Tacko Time is must-see TV for basketball fans, and there's about to be many more chances to see the 7-foot-7 Celtics rookie.

For the first time in the 11-year history of the Maine Red Claws, their full home schedule will be televised on NBC Sports Boston.

“This partnership gives both Red Claws and Celtics fans an opportunity to closely follow their G League team throughout the season, while providing an up-close view of the development of next-generation Celtics players,” Celtics Team President Rich Gotham said.

That next generation includes Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters, who are both signed to two-way contracts this season. The TV slate kicks off Friday, November 15 with live coverage of the Red Claws' home opener against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Here is the full list of dates, times, and opponents for Red Claws games that will be aired on NBC Sports Boston.


Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the Maine Red Claws vs. the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, which tips off Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET , followed by Celtics Pregame Live before the C's face the Warriors. You can also stream both games through the MyTeams App.

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Warriors betting predictions, plays against the spread

NBA picks: Celtics vs. Warriors betting predictions, plays against the spread

Welcome to the "upside down," where the Golden State Warriors are the worst team in the NBA.

The Warriors are plummeting from grace, taking a 2-10 record and a five-game losing streak into Friday's matchup with the Boston Celtics, who remain the No. 1 team in basketball at 9-1.

We haven't quite had Celtics-level success picking Boston's games this season, but we're still above water at 15-8-1 overall and are 5-1-0 picking the moneyline, point spread and point total in the Celtics' last two contests.

As the C's pack their bags for a five-game West Coast swing, we'll look to roll along with them. Here are our betting picks for Celtics-Warriors, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET

Moneyline: The Celtics (-330) got great contributions from their bench in Wednesday's win over the Washington Wizards. They'll need to tighten up that defense, but Boston's talent up and down the roster should help the C's cruise to their 10th consecutive win.

Point Spread: We suppose this could be a trap game. The Warriors have to snap their five-game losing streak at some point, and upstart rookie Eric Paschall could give Boston problems in the paint. That said ... Golden State is 1-4-1 against the spread at home this season (isn't Chase Center lovely, though?), and the Celtics (-7) are too deep not to win by double digits.

Point Total: The Celtics just scored their most points in regulation game since 1992 and are facing the second-worst defense in the NBA. The 223.5 point total is actually lower than Wednesday's game, but regardless, we're taking the OVER with the Celtics until notified otherwise.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 15-8-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves (-7): The Wolves smoked the Wizards by 22 points in their own gym earlier this month. Maybe Washington makes an adjustment, but I'm riding Andrew Wiggins' hot hand and banking on Minnesota to handle its business.

Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets (-5.5): This line has dropped after opening at 7.5, which suggests an upset could be brewing. I'm not buying it. Indiana is down Myles Turner and Jeremy Lamb against a Rockets team that's won five in a row and just dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 9-6-1

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Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Warriors, which tips off Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.