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Mannix: Cauley-Stein 'An Ideal Fit' For Celtics

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Boston Celtics are clinging to their postseason lives at the moment, holding on to a half-game lead for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston snapped a three-game losing streak with a 110-91 win over the Brooklyn Nets, though much can change with 12 games left in the season. While many fans are rooting for the current push for the postseason, Boston's tough schedule may leave them just short in the end.

There may be a consolation prize to missing the playoffs, too. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich on Tuesday morning, saying that, "One win might be the ceiling" for Boston's playoff aspirations -- with a likely first-round matchup with the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks or two-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.

But missing out on the playoffs and improving their draft spot may land the Celtics the rim-protecting big man they've been looking for.

"If you're looking at size, defense and rebounding, Willie Cauley-Stein is it," Mannix said of Kentucky's seven-footer. "He is an ideal fit for, really, any team, but certainly Boston who has some offensive options at the four and five spot with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. Can Boston jump up to get him? Not if they make the playoffs because he's going to go in the lottery. But if they can find a way to get their hands on him, he is a terrific defensive prospect."

Mannix says Cauley-Stein, who has averaged 8.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in his three seasons as a Wildcat, could make a big defensive impact for any team who drafts him right away.

"To me, if Boston can find a way to move up and draft Cauley-Stein -- and that may mean trading a future first round pick -- that's a guy who would step in seamlessly," said Mannix. "Unlike the other Kentucky players, he's a junior so he's more NBA-ready than a lot of guys coming into the draft. He could step into the team seamlessly next year and be that defensive presence they've needed."

Mannix also shared his thoughts on Marcus Smart's maturity, Evan Turner's future in Boston and even chatted about the upcoming Pacquiao-Mayweather bout:

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