Friday, May 6, 2022

Celtics bring in 21-year-old defensive ace for a closer look

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The Boston Celtics already seem to have a head start on their offseason plans. While her season is far from over, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start looking at potential college board diamonds. Thanks to the Derrick White trade, Boston doesn’t have a first-round pick this season, but they still have their second-round pick, which is currently their 53rd pick overall, according to ESPN.com.

Finding a player with rotary caliber playing this slot doesn’t happen very often, in fact, hardly ever, but it’s still been known to happen every now and then. So Boston has started evaluating its options. On May 5, the Celtics coached Texas Tech guard Kevin McCullar Jr. for an afternoon practice session. according to Jake Weingarten from Stockrisers.com.

Weingarten added that McCullar is choosing between another year of college for Gonzaga or Kansas or remaining in the NBA draft.

If McCullar isn’t drafted, Boston could potentially invite him to play for their Summer League team this July if he still chooses a roster spot in the NBA.

Whether or not they take McCullar, the Celtics have had some luck picking late in the draft in the past, although that was rare and hasn’t happened to them since 2011 when they picked E’Twaun Moore with the 55th pick. Moore had a prolific NBA career but was only one season with the Celtics.

Even if McCullar is acquired by the Celtics, there is no telling if he will stay with the team or if his successful NBA career will take place in Boston.

Whichever direction McCullar chooses next year, it seems he’s enjoyed his time with the Celtics. He as such tweeted after the workout.

Weingarten said in his tweet that McCullar completed his first practice session, suggesting other teams will do the same with him ahead of the draft. If McCullar got a good impression of the Celtics and the feeling was mutual, whether he was drafted by the team or added to the Summer League roster, McCullar could potentially get an invite to camp with the team.

That’s thinking ahead, but it sounds like at least one side thoroughly enjoyed their time during their individual training.

One of the reasons the Celtics have gotten to be as good as they are is the versatility and high IQ players they have at both ends of the arena. If McCullar falls to Boston, either by draft or freelance, his IQ and versatility should be a Boston match.

Jonathan Wasserman, NBA Draft Analyst for Bleacher Report, believes McCullar may be a sleeper in this year’s draft due to his passing skills, ground clearance and defending ability.

McCullar’s numbers won’t jump out at you, but some of his honors at Texas Tech this season might. McCullar was Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in the semifinals that season and earned an honorable mention for the All-Big 12 in 2022.

Diamonds in the rough are hard to find. That makes them diamonds in the rough. However, some of the league’s record-best teams have rounded the edges of their rotations due to the diamonds in the rough they’ve found from undrafted free agents. Take the Miami Heat for example.

Miami’s rotation is full of undrafted players like Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent and Dewayne Dedmon. They all contributed to Miami’s success this season. Nothing comes naturally with Kevin McCullar Jr., but his skills are intriguing enough that the Celtics made the right choice when they saw what he could do up close.



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