Brad Wanamaker has Stepped up for the Celtics
(Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports)
Brad Wanamaker has had an interesting basketball career. After starring at Pittsburgh University, the point guard went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft and started playing basketball in Italy.
In 2012, he joined the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League, where he won a championship. The following season, he went back to Europe and developed a reputation as one of the continent’s best players.
Wanamaker won four championships in the French, Turkish, and German top leagues. He was a two-time Turkish League all-star, a two-time German League first-team selection, and also received All-EuroLeague second-team honors in 2017.
Wanamaker’s great performances in Europe caught the eyes of many NBA teams. In 2018, the Boston Celtics signed him for guard depth and gave him his first chance at NBA basketball. Wanamaker’s first year in Boston was overshadowed by an underperforming team and a lack of playing time. Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier were ahead of him on the point guard depth chart, and he only saw lengthy minutes when one of the two or both were injured. When given the opportunity, the then-rookie played efficiently.
With the departures of Rozier, Irving, and other role players including Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes this past summer, Wanamaker was given another opportunity and a much bigger role on the Celtics. Many thought he wouldn’t even make the team this season and that the Celtics would give preference to younger players, but he impressed in the preseason and earned the backup point guard role.
Wanamaker has been called on to play big, meaningful minutes throughout the early stages of the Celtics season, and he has not disappointed. Through 18 games this year, Wanamaker has averaged 7.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in only 17.2 minutes per game. He has also shot over 38 percent from three and over 49 percent from the field. These offensive numbers accompanied by solid defensive play have made Wanamaker one of the most important pieces of the Celtics bench this season.
In countless games, Wanamaker has come off the bench to help provide a spark to a losing Celtics team. While rookies such as Carsen Edwards and Grant Williams have struggled, Wanamaker has stepped up.
The Celtics do not have many reliable bench options as of now, and unless they make a trade or add some more free agents, they will continue to require players like Wanamaker to deliver nightly.
If the 13-5 Celtics want to continue their winning ways, the 30-year-old backup must continue what he’s been doing.
A reliable bench in the NBA cannot be underestimated. Depth and bench performances can win and lose important games in the regular season and the playoffs. Wanamaker has been an integral part of the Celtics’ second unit and hopefully will improve even more as the year goes on.
As always, let me know what you think. How do you think Wanamaker has performed so far this season? Do you think he’ll continue to play well?