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Draft Rumors

Justin Bean, senior SF/PF, Utah State: As in “jumping Bean.” The first thing that stands out about Bean is his bounciness off two feet and his great hands in crowds, qualities which enable him to inhale rebounds by the boatload. He goes waaaayy out of his zone for a lot of them, too, especially on the offensive glass; the result is a sparking 20.9 Rebound Rate for a player who stands just 6-7. Scouts had always been attracted to that part of his game, but his shooting form looked more like Mr. Bean. Not any more. Bean has unleashed a legit 3-point weapon in the early part of this season, which makes him look very much the part of an NBA forward. Bean has made 10 of his 16 3-point attempts thus far after making ten all season in 2020-21; he’s also more than doubled his scoring average. As a career 80.9 percent foul shooter, there is at least some reason to believe that he can continue being a halfway decent 3-point threat.
Julian Champagnie, junior SF/PF St. John’s: The brother of Toronto rookie forward Justin Champagnie, Julian pulled out of the draft last year. His brother went undrafted and signed a 2-way in Toronto, but many scouts had Julian rated as the better player. They’ll be watching him more heavily this season. While achieving his listed height of 6-foot-8 requires measuring him during very specific gravitational phases of the lunar cycle, (he measured 6-foot-6.5 without shoes at the 2021 NBA draft combine) Champagnie profiles as a combo forward due to his springy athleticism around the rim.
Pippen immediately has an uphill battle at the NBA level if he’s going to play the point with those characteristics. However, his quickness, defensive activity and ability to draw bushels of fouls (13.7 free throw attempts per 100 possessions last year!) are all plus indicators. The Elite Camp showed that his style should translate pretty well to the more open floor of an NBA game. All those are reasons to suspect Pippen could hear his name called in the second round on draft night, but to cement that he needs to show more growth as a distributor and decision-maker.
How do you reflect on your journey from an undrafted player in the G League to an NBA champion on a $36 million contract? Alex Caruso: Yeah, it’s been quite a journey. But it’s still just another chapter in the book. I still feel like I have a lot more time to spend in the league in my career. But I’m just taking every day, trying to be as present as possible. I was a two-way player in the G League, whether I was called up or I was down with the G League team, I was just trying to make the most of whatever opportunity I had at that given moment. That has really served me well throughout my career leading into this new opportunity, from winning the championship to getting a contract with the Bulls and playing heavy minutes that is surging in the Eastern Conference.
Boston spent several years living in that rarified air, both signing and trading for multiple All-Stars en route to a stretch of three conference finals appearances in four seasons. Ultimately, however, the push to hang Banner 18 from the rafters failed, despite the amount of capital — both in dollars and trade assets — the Celtics spent trying to do so. Now, as Boston tries to retool its roster around its All-Star wings and return to championship contention, the Celtics will have to do so without the benefit of the draft picks and assets they had available to them over the past several seasons. “I can’t believe this whole era for them hasn’t really worked,” one league executive said. “They’re stuck in neutral — and maybe going backwards.”