NBA Draft Update: UC Irvine Anteaters’ Mamadou N’Diaye forgoes college eligibility as others withdrew as deadline looms

NBA Draft Update: UC Irvine Anteaters’ Mamadou N’Diaye forgoes college eligibility as others withdrew as deadline looms

The Boston Celtics have the third overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft. So, it’s unlikely that Boston can take a crack at Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, who are expected to be the top two picks of the upcoming NBA draft. Some experts feel that 18-year-old Croatian Dragan Bender is the best option as the third draft pick for Boston Celtics. The Celtics have three first round picks in their kitty.

Will Bender work out like the way Latvian Kristaps Porzingis did this season with the Knicks? Such comparisons are meaningless. One has nothing to do with the other. There are lots of factors which leads to success or failure in the NBA. Behind every Porzingis, there’s at least one Stojko Vrankovic.

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Like all the European players, Bender has sound basic skills. He can handle the ball, shoot three-pointers and block the shots. Toughness is an issue for the skinny 18-year-old. In another two years, this seven-footer needs to gain 15 to 20 pounds of muscle and learn the on and off-court rigors of the professional league.

Celtics’ President of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, recently hinted on Toucher & Rich that he is interested in drafting Bender. Ainge is eyeing the best move for his team, for a long term benefit. The Celtics may trade their third pick if they get a deal for Jimmy Butler of Bulls or Sacramento’s Boogie Cousins. But now, it seems both the players will stay with their respective teams.

If Celtics keep their third pick, and Sixers and the Lakers pick the top two projected draft picks- Simmons and Ingram; Dragan Bender is the best available option for the Boston Celtics ahead of Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray or Kris Dunn.

He is also considered as the tallest rookie in this year’s class of draftees who has considered available for the draft which will take place on June 23 in Brooklyn. With his very raw talent, teams are looking at him as the future of the NBA with his height and size.

If he gets drafted, N’Diaye will be the league’s tallest player since Yao Ming – becoming just the fifth player taller than seven-foot-5 to play in the league. Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol were seven-foot-seven, and Shawn Bradley and Yao were also seven-foot-six.

The UC Irvine center is not afraid of not getting into the NBA this summer and hopes that the NBA D-League could give him the needed experience as well to boost his chances of hopefully getting into the NBA.

But teams might take a second look at him, with N’Diaye inside the court opponents will think twice about driving inside the shaded area and will have to increase their perimeter shooting to camp him outside the paint. Aside from that teams will have a hard time stopping him if he inches closer to the basket as he will need less effort to score with his height and size.

The UC Irvine center’s skill was often considered “raw” in high school, and received comments from Brethren Christian head coach, Jon Bahnsen, who said, “Right now his game is basically catch, turn, drop-step, dunk.” He is also capable of touching the standard basketball rim without jumping.

As N’Diaye made himself available for the draft, three of his colleagues namely San Diego State’s Malik Pope and Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe and Marcus Lee while Isaiah Whitehead has yet to decide.

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