Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Semi Ojeleye, is in a make or break year for the Boston Celtics.  Will he make an impact on this team moving forward, or stay a deep bench player?

This is the make or break year for Boston Celtics, Semi Ojeleye.  Semi is known by many names, such as: Muscle Jesus, The Ox, Thor, and my personal favorite, The Ojeleye Factory.  Standing at 6’7″ and a very muscular 240lbs, Ojeleye is the perfect fit for a combo forward.

Ojeleye posted impressive numbers during the draft combine in 2017, and showed his ability to be a versatile defender. With 10.58 seconds in the lane agility test, and 3.16 seconds in the three-quarter court sprint, Ojeleye seems to possess the quickness to run with some guards.  That is what makes Ojeleye unique.

Now these numbers are fine, but what do they mean within the context of the team?  Before we can look at this upcoming season, we must first see how Ojeleye fared in his previous two seasons.  Ojeleye’s rookie season resulted in him having a clear cut role, which was to play defense and shoot the 3-pointer.  Most games during his rookie season, he was responsible for guarding the opposing team’s best wing player.

While shooting 32% from three point range his rookie season, all things considered went pretty well for the second round pick.  With Gordon Hayward coming back from injury during the ’18-19 season, most assumed Semi’s minutes would drop, and they would be correct.  Ojeleye, in his rookie year, played 1,150 total minutes.  In his sophomore year, he played only 594 minutes, almost half as much as his rookie year.

The strange part about this, is the scoring output Ojeleye had during his time.  Ojeleye scored 195 points throughout his whole rookie year.  With almost half as many minutes the following season, Ojeleye only posted 9 less points, scoring 186 total points for the ’18-19 year.

What should we expect out of Ojeleye this coming season?  With Morris and Horford gone, R.Williams still learning and G.Williams being a rookie, I’d say the door is wide open for Semi to smash it with a medicine ball that weighs 200lbs.  This will be the year Ojeleye either: bursts onto the scene as one of the key 3-and-D guys, or it becomes the year he is a deep bench player.

The one element I am going to be looking for this season is instant impact. How can he impact the game as soon as he checks into it? Can he pressure the ball handler for Marcus Smart to come by and steal it, leading to a fast break dunk?  Can he stretch the floor on a Kemba Walker drive and hit an open corner three pointer?  Or will he fade away in the offense?

We all know how hard of a worker Semi Ojeleye is.  He makes sure he gets his sweat in on game nights, even if he doesn’t play.  Audibly, smashing the medicine ball into the wall during post-game interviews.  That is passion, that is commitment, it’s just pure “want”.  He wants to be in the game so badly, and make a difference to help his team.  That’s the kind of competitor Semi is.

But for now, we have to wait until the season starts to see if Semi has what it takes to make an impact on this 2019-20 Boston Celtics team.

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1 Comment

Tom Lane July 26, 2019 at 7:08 am

Semi still needs to work on better offensive production, but I love this guy. After being drafted, I referred to him as a Gem Found in the Second Round, and I am sticking with that, Brad Stevens early-on referred to him as “already an elite defender”. Hit a few more treys – take down a few more rebounds – and he sticks in Boston. Great contract, too.

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