Evaluating Celtics Rookies Halfway Through the Season
Dec 20, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall (99) defends against Detroit Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya (45) in the second half at TD Garden. The Boston Celtics defeated Detroit 114-93. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics are halfway through the season. Sitting with the record of 31-14, the Celtics have been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Before the season started, many had high expectations for this group of rookies.
Romeo Langford has been disappointing, to say the least. Langford, who has only appeared in 12 games this year is only averaging nine minutes per contest. During this period, he is averaging 2.5 points. The biggest surprise is that he is spending most of the time in the NBA G-League with the Maine Red Claws. Langford’s biggest worry going into the season would be his consistency shooting the three-ball. In his time with the team, he is shooting an abysmal 22 percent, and when playing with the Red Claws it is 21 percent. Langford will not see an increase in games and minutes until he can show that he can be a capable shooter from beyond the arc. A very disappointing start for the 14th overall pick.
Carsen Edwards has also been subjected to little playing time this season. He has appeared in 29 games thus far into the season, however. Edwards is shooting very poorly from the field with 30 percent across the board. Although this can be skewed slightly as roughly 60 percent of his shots have been from three. Edwards, who was the team’s leading scorer in the Summer League, has seemed to cool off. Edwards who has spent 10 games with the Red Claws showed that he does not belong in the G-League, as he is averaging 21.7 points per game. Edwards is in between the skill level of dominating the G-League and fighting for minutes in the NBA. Given time and experience, Edwards should look like the player he was during the Summer League.
Another player who has been on fire with the Red Claws has been Tremont Waters. Averaging 20.5 points and 7.6 assists on 44 percent from the field and 37 percent from three. Waters has shown that he is a capable future NBA player. But with that said, he just like most of these rookies have been struggling offensively when playing with the Celtics. Although it is unfair to criticize a young player who has yet to take more than 50 shots in the NBA, Waters percentages are just tough to look at. With percentages as of 36 percent from the field and 14 percent from three. The saving grace from Waters’s six games in the NBA is that of his ball-handling skills and passing vision. Waters has a bit of Kyrie Irving handles and is showing ball handle control of an NBA veteran. By seasons end, I expect him to make the roster over Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards, and some others for their playoff run. This is because Waters has shown the potential to control the offense and could be used in case of a Kemba Walker or Brad Wanamaker injury.
Everyone’s favorite rookie Tacko Fall has impressed in the limited amount of time given. Playing in only four games, for about five minutes in each game, Fall has produced the best PER by any Celtic. At 23.92 (PER), Fall has been very productive for garbage time minutes. Going into the season, the team was worried about his mobility and lack of basketball experience at a high level. But the 7-foot-5 Center has proven that he can keep up to the NBA high pace playing style. He is not the fastest or most coordinated on the court but just like his teammate Marcus Smart he is high energy and always going for the ball. Fall is averaging 4.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in his NBA campaign. These are incredible numbers for someone who is only getting five minutes a game. Fall is a bright spot for the Celtics and could eventually see himself as a very solid rotation player if not a solid starter for the team in a few years.
The rookie that has been receiving the most minutes this season has been forward Grant Williams. Williams is a grit-and-grind kind of player. His style of play is very reminiscent of Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. A player who can be an anchor on defense and be the scrapper on the boards and for loose balls. Because of the lack of talent on the bench in the forward position, Williams has been solid when his name is called. Averaging 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds are not eye-popping for a player who has seen multiple games with over 20 minutes played and averaging 15 minutes a game. However, even though offensively he has struggled just like almost every rookie on the team, but has been filling the role of grit and grind that this team needs.
Center Vincent Poirer has been disappointing thus far into the season. Coming from overseas, the defensive big man was supposed to help anchor the board and close the paint for the Celtics. However, with sloppy play and a disappointing start, the European center has found himself sitting on the bench more than seeing the court. The Celtics last season was terrible on the offensive boards and were only mediocre defending the paint. They brought in Poirer believing that he could provide help to fill their needs. As of late, Poirer has been going between the Red Claws and Celtics trying to find meaningful minutes.
Javonte Green, a rookie that at the start of the season nobody knew about. Green has been a spark plug off the bench for the team. A high flyer, who has the capability of being a three-&-D player. Green has shown his worth for the team as he has the second-highest PER among the Celtics rookies with 14.49. Green does not always see the court and is only averaging nine minutes when he does but, just like his teammate Tacko Fall, Green takes those minutes and uses them to produce at a high level.
As the season progresses These rookies will either eventually get more minutes or stay with the Celtics affiliated G-League team the Maine Red Claws. Expect Tremont Waters, Javonte Green and Grant Williams to stay with the team when the playoffs start. Tacko Fall and Romeo Langford will eventually get more minutes as the season nears the end as they have more days left in their two-way contracts to play with the Celtics.