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Thursday, September 16, 2010
Roster rundown: Harangody's shot

By Chris Forsberg

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty ImagesLuke Harangody made an early impression with the Boston Celtics this summer.
With about two weeks until Celtics training camp opens, we're breaking down Boston's roster from the bottom of the rotation to the top. Today's focus: Luke Harangody.

Fast Facts

Position: Forward
Vitals: 6-8, 246 lbs.
Experience: Rookie (2nd round, 52nd overall, 2010)
Last season: 21.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg (Notre Dame)
Salary: $473,604

Season Outlook

Little is expected of players selected in the back end of the NBA Draft. And despite Boston's success in finding second-round gems, you need look no further than the players the Celtics have selected in Harangody territory -- like Lester Hudson (58th overall, 2009), Orien Greene (53, 2005), and Brandon Hunter (56, 2003) -- to see the difficulty in plucking an NBA contributor out of the final spots.

Despite a stellar four-year college career at Notre Dame, Harangody arrived with cautious optimism. Then he went out and turned the Orlando Summer League into his coming out party, displaying NBA range and a scrappy game that helped land him a two-year guaranteed contract with the Celtics.

Role with the 2010-11 Celtics:: Celtics coach Doc Rivers raved about Harangody's potential this summer, but stopped short of identifying a role, likely needing to see him showcase his talents in the preseason to identify if he can be a rotation player.

"I don't know [his role], hell he's a rookie, but he can play, I can tell you that," Rivers said in August. "He can shoot the ball and stretch the floor. He shot the ball extremely well in summer league from behind the NBA 3-point line, which I didn't know he could do, honestly, watching him in college. I didn't know he had the range.

"He's going to be player in this league. He's quirky offensively, and he had to figure out a way of scoring by not being dominant athletically. I love players like that, because that means they play with their heads. That's the type of player that makes it in this league, so that will be good for us."

A beefed up front court means the undersized power forward could spend more time learning than playing this season, unless he shows the ability to drop down to small forward and not be a defensive liability at an extremely athletic spot in this league.

Best-case scenario: With four years of competitive ball in the Big East, Harangody doesn't look overwhelmed and finds a way to sneak into the rotation, showing an ability to hang with power forwards that will be bigger than him, while also spending time at the wing, where he's more able to utilize his size to create open looks. Despite never-ending comparisons to Brian Scalabrine, Harangody emerges as a reliable contributor at the end of the bench, and shows upside for future seasons.

Worst-case scenario: Giving up too much size at the 4 and not quick enough to defend at the 3, Harangody is forced to reinvent himself a bit. Unable to do so in Boston, he spends much of the season with the Maine Red Claws, honing the skills the coaching staff believes he needs to improve before being able to hang at the NBA level.

Delivery of Flowers

The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers released his first solo disc entitled, "Flamingo" on Tuesday. We're utilizing song titles (and lyrics) to help break down the player in focus each day. Today's track: "Hard Enough"

You let me into your life unaware / That there was magic and fire in the night

As we noted above, it's not every day that the No. 52 pick in the NBA Draft has a chance to make an impact, particularly on a team absolutely drooling with depth and talent. Just take a look at the No. 52 pick in recent drafts: Darnell Jackson (Miami, 2008), Taurean Green (Portland, 2007), and Guillermo Diaz (L.A. Clippers, 2006) barely made a blip on their teams' radars (To be fair: Indiana rookie A.J. Price averaged 7.3 points per game in 56 appearances last season, but the Pacers were not a playoff team).

Shaquille O'Neal might not have known his name, but Harangody has potential to make himself a household name (at least in New England) this season.

I know it's been hard enough on me / I'm telling myself that I can roll with the changes

Harangody's success in his first season might ultimately hinge on an ability to adapt his game to this level. There's promising signs from summer league as his outside shot makes him a real threat at either of the forward positions. If Harangody can find a way to muscle with the big boys up front and not be overwhelmed, it adds just another layer of versatility to that second unit and the Boston roster as a whole.

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