NBA Draft 2011: Nikola Vucevic and the 10 Best Options for the Boston Celtics

Justin Welton@JustinWeltonAnalyst IIJune 17, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Nikola Vucevic and the 10 Best Options for the Boston Celtics

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    DAYTON, OH - MARCH 16: Nikola Vucevic #5 of the USC Trojans runs onto the court as he is introduced before the game against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the first round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at UD Arena on March 16, 2011 in
    Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

    If LeBron James played the Boston Celtics like he played the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, the end of this season for the Celtics could have played out much differently.

    The Miami Heat brought their A-game though, possibly closing the window a little more for the Celtics and their big three.

    Could this have been Boston's year if they made a few plays here and there, and didn't have Rajon Rondo's arm injury and a Kendrick Perkins trade that shouldn't have happened? It could have been, but it is time to move on.

    The NBA Draft is June 23rd and the Celtics carry the 25th pick.

    Who are the best options for the Celtics in the 2011 NBA Draft?

No. 10: Charles Jenkins

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    Jenkins is a 6'3", 216-pound guard from Hofstra.

    He averaged 23 points, three rebounds and five assists in his senior season.

    Jenkins could be the backup to Rajon Rondo coming off the bench or possibly play alongside him for stretches.

    He has deep range to go along with his physical style of play. Being from Queens, NY, you already know that he can drive the basketball and finish around the rim.

No. 9: Tyler Honeycutt

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19:  Tyler Honeycutt #23 of the UCLA Bruins attempts a shot against the Florida Gators during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/G
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Honeycutt is a 6'8", 186-pound small forward from UCLA.

    He averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists in his sophomore campaign with the Bruins.

    Adding strength is an obvious focal point for Honeycutt.

    He holds a very high basketball IQ to go along with his underrated athleticism.

No. 8: Nolan Smith

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils moves the ball while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North C
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Smith is a 6'4", 188-pound guard from Duke.

    Some scouts don't know if he is a 1- or a 2-guard.

    He averaged 21 points, five rebounds and five assists in his senior season.

    Smith carries great strength and athleticism while driving the ball. He would much rather attack the rim and shoot from mid-range than shoot from the perimeter.

    His jumper will be something that he will need to improve upon in his career.

    One thing: Doc Rivers would enjoy having Smith and his defensive mind on his team.

No. 7: Reggie Jackson

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    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 11:  Reggie Jackson #0 of the Boston College Eagles shoots against the Clemson Tigers during the second half in the quarterfinals of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 11, 2011 in Greensboro
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Jackson is a 6'3", 208-pound guard from Boston College.

    He plays the point guard position, but could also play off the ball with Rajon Rondo running the show. Or, he could spell minutes for Rondo coming off the bench.

    Jackson averaged 18 points, four rebounds and five assists in his junior season.

    He carries a 7'0" wingspan, which is unbelievable if you think about it. Jackson is one of the better rebounding guards in the NBA draft class.

    If he could add strength for his slashing game to go along with his improved jump shot, Jackson could have a long and successful career in the NBA.

No. 6: Davis Bertans

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    Bertans is a 6'10", 210-pound forward from Latvia.

    This guy has shot the lights out in front of scouts at a variety of camps. Some say that his shooting touch reminds them of Dirk Nowitzki, which is unfair to Bertans. Nobody can shoot like Nowitzki, but if he is half as good, he will have a solid NBA career.

    Adding strength is a common focal point to a lot of young prospects and Bertans goes along with that idea.

    His shooting ability is worth the risk late in the first round.

No. 5: Jordan Williams

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    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 10:  Jordan Williams #20 of the Maryland Terrapins looks on while playing against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first round of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 10, 2011 in G
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Williams is a 6'9", 247-pound center from Maryland.

    In his sophomore season, Williams averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game.

    His frame allows him to bully defenders on the block while showcasing his soft touch.

    At 6'9", Williams is undersized at the 5, but his 7'0" wingspan helps that out significantly.

    He is a pure center, which isn't as common in the game today, but is still valuable.

No. 4: JaJuan Johnson

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    INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 12:  Center JuJuan Johnson #25 of the Purdue Boilermakers celebrates after a play against the Northwestern Wildcats during the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2010 in Indiana
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Johnson is a 6'10", 220-pound forward from Purdue.

    He averaged 21 points and nine rebounds in his senior season with the Boilermakers.

    Coming back for his senior season to not only work on his game, but also try to win a national title, tells you that he is dedicated to the sport of basketball.

    His mid-range jumper could be the best in the draft class. At 220 pounds, adding strength to his frame will be a focus.

    He is a long and athletic big man that stretches the floor.

No. 3: Justin Harper

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Justin Harper #32 of the Richmond Spiders puts up a shot against Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San A
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Harper is a 6'9", 228-pound forward from Richmond.

    He scored 18 points and seven rebounds per contest, while shooting 45 percent from the three in his senior season with the Spiders.

    His ability to stretch the floor from the power forward position is what stands out in his game. 

    One main concern with Harper is that he might be "soft." I think that if you are a big man that can shoot lights out from the perimeter, you are automatically deemed "soft."

    We will find out if he is indeed "soft" next season.

    If he adds strength, takes better shots and improves on his ability to drive the ball, he should turn out to be a solid NBA 4.

No. 2: Jeremy Tyler

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    People may not know much about Jeremy Tyler.

    He is a 6'11" center that played for Tokyo Apache. Some scouts believe that if he would have gone to college, he could have been a Top 10 pick.

    His athleticism for a 263-pound center is eye-catching. He is definitely a skilled big man—one of the better ones you may find late in any first round.

    Maturity issues are one of the biggest concerns when dealing with Tyler. He skipped his senior season of high school to go play professional ball in Israel. That didn't turn out so well, causing him to go to Japan to play professionally there.

    He only averaged 15.4 minutes per game for Tokyo Apache, but did manage 10 points and six rebounds per game.

    Tyler is one of the risk/reward type of talents that is worth the risk with the 25th selection.

No. 1: Nikola Vucevic

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    DAYTON, OH - MARCH 16: Nikola Vucevic #5 of the USC Trojans shoots over Juvonte Reddic #5 of the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the first round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at UD Arena on March 16, 2011 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Grego
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Vucevic was sitting around the 25th selection a month ago, according to ESPN's Chad Ford, but he has since moved up the board with his impressive workouts.

    Ford has Vucevic going 14th to the Houston Rockets. I don't know if he will go that high, but his services are looking bleak for the Celtics.

    It is possible that he might slide down the board a little. If he is there when Boston is on the clock, they will most likely snatch him up.

    They need youth, they need a center and they need his size.

    He is a 7'0", 260-pound center from USC.

    In his junior season with the Trojans, Vucevic averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game. His game fits the style of the Celtics perfectly. He has an array of offensive moves, with the ability to stretch the defense with his jumper.

    His 7'5" wingspan mixes well with his physical play, allowing him to be a superb rebounder.

    Personally, I like the fact that he wouldn't clog the lane for Rajon Rondo. Rondo would have more room to drive and create with another shooter on the floor.

    I don't know if he will be available with the 25th selection, but the Celtics would love to see him there.