Could Celtics target any European players in this year’s NBA draft?

Could Celtics target any European players in this year’s NBA draft?

Last year the Celtics drafted power forward Guerschon Yabusele of France as the No. 16 overall pick, therefore the possibility of a European player coming to Boston isn’t completely out of the question. Most of these desirable European players are projected to be selected late in the first round unless these players slip under the radar and are available come the Celtics’ No. 36 pick.

Here are some potential options. 

Jonathan Jeanne

The 7-foot 2-inch center from Les Abymes, Guadeloupe, has a 7-foot 6-inch wingspan and averaged just 3.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 13 minutes per game in the 2016 season with he SLUC Nancy club team of France. At the NBA draft combine, he measured a 9-foot 5 1/2-inch standing reach and a 31.5-inch vertical. His length is an immediate advantage and he appears to be an athletic big man that moves without the ball and has a smooth stroke from deep range. However, Jeanne was recently diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and put on hold for any future NBA workouts, but remains optimistic about his return to basketball, agent Bound Ndiaye told The Vertical. 

Frank Ntilikina

The 6-foot 5-inch point guard from Brussels, Belgium, is just 18 years old, but projected to be a top-10 draft pick in the draft. His stats from the 2016-17 season aren’t dazzling, as he averaged 5.1 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. However, it was during the 2016 FIBA U18 European championships where he exploded for a 31-point performance in front of NBA scouts and got noticed. His length and speed combines for a lockdown defender that stays in front of opponents by moving his feet, something that isn’t seen too often in the NBA. The projected No. 1 pick by Celtics in mostly all mock drafts is Washington’s point guard, Markelle Fultz, therefore the probability of the Celtics choosing another point guard like Ntilikina is unlikely.  

Rodions Kurucs

Rodions Kurucs from Riga, Latvia, was given an overall score of 92 by Nbadraft.net, which rated athleticism, size, defense, jump shot among other categories. At 6-foot 8-inches, the small forward averaged 9.5 points and 2.8 rebounds with Barcelona in the LEB gold league during the 2016-17 season. He shot 55.7 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from 3-point range. Kurucs’ shot from deep is smooth and he runs the floor well in transition and has the ability to lead fast breaks. This years draft is stocked with impressive small forwards like Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Jonathan Isaac and Justin Jackson to name a few. He is a player that might still be available early in the second round, even late enough for the Celtics to have a look at him. 

Andzejs Pasecniks 

The 7-foot 1-inch center from Riga, Latvia averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds during the 2016-17 season in the ACB league with the Gran Canaria club team in Las Palmas, Spain. He shot just 58.3 percent from three-point range, granted he rarely stepped out that far, and 66.2 percent within 2-point field range.  “He’s a late bloomer. He’s coming on. He’s going to sneak into the first [round]. He’s not as athletic as Porzingis, but he’s just more of a late bloomer than Porzingis. He’s coming on quick,’’ ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla told The New York Post. “He’s going to play himself into the first round. He’s a reasonably good athlete for 7-2, he can run and jump.” While multiple mock drafts have him going late in the first round, he is slowly making his way up ranks and someone to keep an eye on. 

Isaiah Hartenstein

The 7-foot 225-pound power forward was born in Eugene, Oregon, but moved back to Germany where he competed on the Zalgiris Kaunas club team. When he played on the U18 Zalgiris Kaunas during the 2015-16 season he averaged 23.5 points (shooting 35.7 percent from three-point range,)  11.3 rebounds, 3.3 blocks. The 19-year-old is a big-body player that has the ability to contest shots at the rim and have powerful finishes himself. He is projected to be picked near the end of the first round, but if he lingers near pick No. 37, he might could be an asset to the Celtics’ organization. As a versatile power forward, he could be great in pick and roll scenarios, however, his pick and pop game might not be solid enough to fit in the Celtics’ offense. 



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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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