Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
UCONN star Shabazz Napier got the chance to throw out the first pitch at the Red Sox game on Saturday.
Could Boston sports fans get to see a whole lot more of Napier after the NBA draft?
The Roxbury native was asked what it would be like to be drafted by the Boston Celtics. He was very excited about the possibility.
“That would be crazy.” said Napier, “Growing up, that’s something I envisioned myself playing for the Celtics… When you’re from the New England area, you just want to be a part of it because you know how special it is.”
CSNNE – Napier: ‘Envisoned myself’ playing for C’s
I wrote about my desire to draft Napier with our second draft pick this summer (or trade for another late first-rounder). Admittedly, I haven’t seen him play outside of March Madness, but something about his approach to the game impresses me. He’s a tough kid and a big-game type of player. Seems like someone who could learn a whole lot as Rondo’s understudy.
Not that I really want this to happen, but imagine if we landed Noah Vonleh and Shabazz Napier in the draft. We’d be going into next season with three Massachusetts players on the roster: Noah (Haverhill), Napier (Roxbury), and Pressey (Waltham).
Page 2: Change is on the horizon
Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy wrote this piece detailing each player on the C’s roster, and what he thinks will happen to them this summer. Some are what you’d expect, keep Sully unless he’s the next Al Jefferson; consider moving Bass for Asik again this summer. Other make you think.
Celtics stats: 60 games, 14.8 points per game, .394 on 3-pointers.
Skinny: He’s an undersized shooting guard — ideally a third guard — who made great strides as a shooter late in the season. His pull-up 3-pointer is a legitimate weapon. He also turned down a four-year, $24 million extension from the C’s that will be hard to recoup now as a restricted free agent. He’s never had a healthy season and might be the kind of player who sacrifices his body too much to stay on the floor. He’s a sign-and-trade option.
During the season, Ainge mentioned that they have every intention to keep Avery Bradley this summer. But when you realize he’s already turned down six million a year, one must wonder if he’ll actually be here. With a draft coming up that’s loaded with shooting guards, a sing-and-trade might be best for both sides.
Celtics stats: 69 games, 8.4 points, 5.9 rebounds per game.
Skinny: The impending free agent wants to stay — it would have to be for a fraction of the $12 million he earned this season — and given steady minutes, he’s a double-double machine. That’s also what makes Humphries appealing to contenders as a role player. C’s coaches, though, value his professionalism and leadership with younger players.
How much would you offer Humphries to stay? Remember the original press conference after the Brooklyn trade? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of individuals so unhappy about making millions of dollars to play basketball. But Kris definitely found a steady pace here in Boston, a place to get away from the media, and a place to re-focus on playing basketball. He seems like a player worth keeping not only for his reliability, but for veteran presence as the team tries to return to contention very soon.
Celtics stats: 30 games, 11.7 points, 9.8 assists, 5.5 rebounds per game, .403 on field goals.
Skinny: So much depends on where the Celtics end up in the draft lottery, as well as whom they take on draft night. If a point guard along the lines of Dante Exum or Marcus Smart is available, much thought will be given to what Rondo can fetch in a trade. But the combinations of picks and players are endless. He’s the cornerstone of this franchise, as co-owner Wyc Grousbeck has said. Unless that right deal comes along . . .
Murhpy’s right about how so much depends on the draft lottery. According to the mock drafts, landing in that 5-7 range this summer means taking a power forward (Noah, Randle, Gordon) or a point guard (Smart, Exum). The Celtics could certainly look to trade the pick, considering they don’t need as much help at power forward or point guard, or they could look into trading Rondo and selecting one of those PG’s. Exum’s largely a mystery, but his scouting videos present a long player who can get to the rim easily. Marcus Smart is a hard-nosed competitor with the mindset one would want from their starting point guard, but he’s still got a ways to go, and his maturity is obviously still a question.
Boston Herald – Change on the Celtics’ horizon
And finally: Another day, another mock
The Celtics could go a lot of different ways here, but most of those ways duplicate something they already have. The team would love to get their hands on Embiid, as he would help them with one of their biggest needs. But Gordon is intriguing here. He’s a hybrid forward, but his athleticism and motor allow him to thrive at both the three and the four defensively. He adds toughness and does all the little things coaches love. I think he’d be a great fit on this Celtics squad.
Not entirely sure which power forward is considered the best at this point, but I’m also not convinced the C’s are interested in drafting another power forward either way. And for our second pick:
The Celtics could make a long-term move with their second pick. Capela has NBA length and athleticism (think Serge Ibaka), but he’s pretty far away from being an NBA player right now. Whether he sticks in Europe for a year or two or comes over now and learns the hard way, getting someone with athletic tools at this point in the draft is worth the gamble.
The rest of the links: