Boston Celtics: Chris Wright
Joseph, who had recently signed a D-League contract with Maine, was flipped to Springfield in exchange for forward James Mays. From the Claws:
Mays, 26, averaged 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in 26 games (all starts) for the Armor this season. Originally acquired by the Armor out of Brooklyn Nets training camp under the NBADL’s Affiliate Player rule, Mays was recently selected as an NBA D-League All-Star. Mays will join new teammates Micah Downs, Chris Joseph, Shelvin Mack and DaJuan Summers at the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game next weekend. Also making the trip will be the Red Claws coaching staff, led by Head Coach Mike Taylor, who will coach the Futures Team.
“James is one of the best rebounders in the league,” Boston Celtics Director of Player Personnel Austin Ainge said of the acquisition. “He can bring energy, toughness, and leadership to our team.”
Between Mays and Chris Wright, the Claws now have two of top rebounding power forwards in the D-League. Wright was named the D-League Performer of the Week on Monday after he averaged 26.3 points (shooting 66 percent form the field) and 14.3 rebounds over his last three games.
The Celtics have two open roster spots and promised to fill them out by the end of the month. While Boston clearly needs to fill one of those spots with an NBA-ready body -- likely in the frontcourt -- it could err on the side of youth with the other depending on its post-trade deadline needs.
In other Red Claws news: Celtics camper Micah Downs will participate in the D-League 3-point contest at All-Star weekend in Houston.
Also in town for the backcourt-heavy workout were UMass guard Anthony Gurley, Morehead State guard Demonte Harper, Georgetown guard Chris Wright and Indiana guard Jeremiah Rivers, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Lee, a long guard at 6-foot-6, averaged 13.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2 assists per game in his junior season at UCLA. He's got combo guard potential and Chad Ford's scouting report suggests he's actually more comfortable at the 2, but he's got an inconsistent jumper and shot only 29.5 percent from 3-point range last season.
So why the fuss about Lee? Allow Ford to explain: "What do Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo have in common? They were UCLA guards who didn't appear to be great NBA prospects at first glance (Westbrook may have been the exception, but not for everyone) who have gone on to have excellent careers in the NBA. All four were starters on playoff teams this season despite their youth. Here's a prediction: Lee will continue that hot streak for UCLA. Lee was a top-rated prospect coming out of high school but struggled to dominate in college. While he's earned a rep as an elite perimeter defender, his offensive game has been a work in progress."
Combo potential? Elite defender? Sounds a bit like Avery Bradley, but clearly the height makes Lee appealing for a team like Boston that's not necessarily looking for a pure point to back up Rajon Rondo.
None of the other players in town are likely to have their name called any earlier than late second round. Though it would have been interesting to see exactly how the Celtics worked out Rivers, who is no stranger to getting up some jumpers in the Celtics' practice facility.
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