NBA rumors: Boston Celtics keen to draft Dragan Bender as third overall pick

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Dragan Bender (Photo courtesy: Botend/Wikimedia Commons)

The Celtics’ management is showing keen interest on Croatian Dragan Bender as their third overall pick of the 2016 NBA draft. The Celtics were awarded with three first round picks in this month’s NBA draft lottery.

With the third overall pick in their kitty, 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 the Celtics.

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 many factors which lead to success or failure in the NBA. Behind every Porzingis, there’s at least one Stojko Vrankovic.

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 them 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 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.

Photo courtesy: Botend/Wikimedia

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