Providence Friars guard Kris Dunn (3) says he’d be fine playing in Boston. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
As it becomes more and more likely the Celtics will wind up making their pick at No. 3, one of the likely candidates for selection is renewing his public affection for Boston.
“I’d be fine if they selected me,” Kris Dunn said Wednesday in the final media availability before Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. “I’d definitely be comfortable. My friends and my family are right down the road.”
Dunn made headlines at the start of pre-draft workouts when reports came out that he did not want the Celtics to draft him. Last week, he denied that claim and reiterated it Wednesday in New York.
Dunn also revealed that not only did he not work out for the Celtics, he added that didn’t formally workout for any team. The Providence College product, considered by many to be the top guard in the draft and a definitely Celtics possibility at No. 3, had two shoulder surgeries in his first two seasons at Providence.
He tore his labrum in June 2012 and immediately underwent shoulder surgery immediately. He was able to recover and made his freshman debut in late December, playing 25 games that season and averaged 5.7 points. Then the next season, in Dec. 2013, Dunn had a second shoulder surgery and missed the rest of his sophomore season after playing only four games.
But Dunn recovered impressively in his final two seasons, winning back-to-back Big East defensive player of the year honors while establishing himself as one of the most explosive guards in college basketball at the basket. Dunn has rocketed up the mock draft boards of late, despite not working out for teams.
The speculation around the Celtics includes the suggestion that they might draft him and trade either Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley to make room on their roster.
In another bit of news Wednesday, Buddy Hield told reporters that the Celtics went out to California to see him work out twice.
Wednesday also provided the first public glimpse of Dragan Bender, the 7-foot, 18-year-old Croatian forward/center who is considered a top-10 pick but has slid down many mock boards.
“Anything’s possible,” Bender said. “It’s a lottery so you never know what’s going to happen. You just have to wait for that moment when they call your name. Whatever that place is, you just fulfill your dreams and that’s it.”
There’s also Jaylen Brown, the 6-foot-6 swing man from Cal who might be rising fast on the Celtics draft board.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the draft. We don’t know what might happen. People might trade up. People might switch their picks around. For me, all I can do is focus on me. I can’t focus on what everybody else is doing. All I can do is hope that I end up in the right place. You never know at this time. It’s draft time. It’s driving me crazy, actually.”
Brown went on to add that if the Celtics indeed do pick him, he’d be more than happy about it.
“The city of Boston is amazing. I love being there,” said Brown, who added that he felt like he connected with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens on June 1, when he came to Waltham to work out on the same day the Celtics announced contract extensions for president of basketball operations and the head coach.
“The teams know who they want,” added Marquese Chriss, a power forward out of Washington. “None of us really know that much. I just think whoever’s blessed enough to go up there is fortunate. If it’s me, I’m going to be very happy and very grateful to be playing for such a good team and organization like that.”
“It’d be great, working with Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Tyler Ulis is like Isaiah Thomas so it’d be cool,” said the ever-confident Jamal Murray. “I’ll get better offensively and defensively. I think I have a lot to learn.”