• Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that some teams have Dragan Bender outside of the lottery on their draft boards:

    Kyler was asked if the Celtics would consider moving the third pick in this month’s draft for a team targeting Bender.  This news comes as a bit of a surprise, as Bender is considered a top-5 pick by many experts (including ESPN’s Chad Ford).  The Celtics, Suns and Pelicans all could use a big man like Bender, who can stretch the floor and handle the ball as a seven footer.

    There have also been reports linking Minnesota and Denver to Bender.  The Timberwolves are looking for another big to develop next to Karl-Anthony Towns, and the Nuggets have one of the stronger foreign scouting departments in the NBA.

    Bender is far from a flawless prospect, however.  Despite his impressive athleticism he weighs just 215 pounds, and will need to add strength in order to protect the paint in the NBA.  Bender will also likely take a year or so to develop.  He’s only 18-years-old and averaged just 5.5 PPG and 2.7 RPG playing overseas last season.  If a team feels that a prospect like Buddy Hield helps them more in the short term they may pass on Bender.

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