The first player we're going to take a look at is Matt Howard. Howard is not projected to go in the draft and was not invited to the draft combine. He got a lot of press exposure as his Butler Bulldogs made it to the Final Four the past 2 years. He may be a player Danny is looking at for the 55th pick.
Howard is 6'8" tall and 225 lbs. In his four years at Butler, Howard improved and evolved as much as any NCAA player, combining energy and fundamentals to be productive against NBA-caliber talent. As a senior, he averaged career highs in points with 16.4, rebounds with 7.7, and three-point percentage at just under 40.
There are many warning signs that would keep players from taking a chance on Howard in the draft. First, he is definitely undersized. he's listed at 6'8" but that could be very generous. He's not very quick, and he doesn't have great athleticism to make up for his lack of size.
But, what Howard does have in abundance is heart. He plays every second he's on the floor with a determination and 100% effort. If Danny takes a chance on him in the second round, it will be because of his attitude, effort and heart. Those things you can't teach a player and are characteristics that often can make up for physical gifts.
Next up on our profiles is Jon Leuer, a senior out of Wisconson. Leuer is a legit big man, measuring out at 6' 11.5" at the draft combine. He has a wingspan of 7' 0" and a standing reach of 8' 9.5". He was in the top half of the pack ranking #19 out of 53 players in the Athletic Testing Composite Ranking and was in the top 10 in the Lane Agility test.
Leuer had a tremendous senior season ranking in the Big Ten conference's top five in both scoring and rebounds. Leuer was one of 10 collegiate players invited to play on the USA Select Team in the summer of 2010 that helped to prepare Team USA for the 2010 FIBA World Championships. Leuer possesses an excellent basketball IQ to go along with good offensive skills that he should be able to translate to the NBA game reasonably well.
At 6'10, Leuer presents matchup problems due to his size, his ability to hit from outside, and the ability to put the ball on the floor. He possesses excellent footwork in the post, using an array of post moves. Leuer is a good ball handler and passer. Defensively he has a high IQ and he seems to position himself efficiently, able to defend without fouling.
Leuer's weaknesses center around the fact that he lacks strength to body players, especially the players he will be going against in the NBA. He lacks the ability to body up and keep his ground, which will be an issue on the post offensively, and guarding the post defensively. He is a mediocre rebounder, which also may be due to the lack of strength to stand his ground under the basket.
While some mocks have him going late in the first round, most have him going in the second round. If he is there at 55, He'd be a nice pick to let build some muscle and develop for a year behind KG.
The final player listed for Wednesday's workout is Jamie Skeen out of Virginia Commonwealth. Like Leuer, Skeen is expected to go in the second round. He measured out at 6'8" with shoes at the draft combine. His wingspan is 7' 1.25" and his standing reach is 8' 10.5". He tested out as the second worst in the Athletic Testing Composite Ranking. He was also among the 5 worst in Max Vertical Leap and Lane Agility tests.
Skeen has a strong frame and excellent length and is a rugged inside-outside threat. His athleticism is underwhelming, however, and he lacks explosiveness. Skeen is also just an average rebounder. Skeen is oftentimes at a disadvantage on the defensive end due to his average size and lack of lateral quickness.
While Skeen does not really stand out in any one area at the moment as a pro prospect, his size, length, frame, versatility, and basketball IQ and skill-level will get him some attention from teams in the late first round and second round. If he is still there when the Celtics pick at 55, Danny may take a chance on him.
You can check out all of Celtics Life draft coverage here.