The Celtics have trimmed their list of candidates if they keep the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s draft, writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com. Director of player personnel Austin Ainge said during workouts Saturday that the team has a good idea of who it will select if no trades work out by draft night. “We’ve been narrowing at this point,” Ainge said. “We have them in groups more than specific [players]. Maybe for our first pick we have it narrowed to these three or four guys, the second group a little bigger – eight or 10, because you don’t know whose going to be there. You do your best at guessing and debating the groups.” Petraglia names Oklahoma shooting guard Buddy Hield, Bosnian power forward Dragan Bender and Providence point guard Kris Dunn as the top candidates for the third selection, with Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray and California power forward Jaylen Brown possibly getting consideration. The Celtics also own picks No. 16 and 23 in the first round.
There’s more draft-related news this morning:
- The Spurs are working hard to move up in the draft, according to NBADraft.net (Twitter link) and Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (link). San Antonio currently owns the No. 29 pick.
- The Hornets are also making an effort to improve their draft position, tweets Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Charlotte has the 22nd pick.
- Several teams have contacted the Jazz about trading for the No. 12 pick, tweets Jody Genessy of The Deseret News.
- Providence power forward Ben Bentil has a draft promise late in the first round, according to NBADraft.net (Twitter link). The Clippers, who hold the 25th selection, are mentioned as a possibility because of their connection with Friars assistant coach God Shammgod.
- Hield made his case to be taken second overall after his workout Saturday with the Lakers, writes Joey Ramirez of NBA.com. It was Hield’s second session for L.A. after a private workout earlier. “I’m just what the franchise needs,” he said. “The Lakers are losing Kobe [Bryant] and need a scorer. Why not? Why not come in and fill in the spot? I’m a confident player. That’s what I’ve been. I’ve been under pressure my whole life; just overcoming obstacles and I know L.A.’s in the market and everybody says about the Lakers how they expect to win. I’m a player coming in and expecting to win right away.”