The Celtics rookies not only give hope for the future – they can contribute right away. Danny Ainge drafted for talent and character. He got both.
Any group places their future hopes on the young members, but in the Celtics’ case, the hopes start right now. And I am not the only one that thinks that way. Add Marcus Smart to list of rookie boosters.
I asked Marcus Smart what excites him most about this team.“I’m excited about our young guys,” he said.
Grant Williams reminds Smart of himself. Smart told me the Celtics players call Carsen Edwards “Eddie House.” Here are Smart’s thoughts: https://t.co/iwC19x8OD9
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) October 11, 2019
The Eddie House comparisons are appropriate. The 6’1″ House spent three seasons in Boston, including the 2007-08 Championship season, when he averaged 7.5 points per game on 41% from the field – 39% on treys and 92% from the charity stripe. But it’s Carsen’s quick release that brings the comparisons. Eddie was a shooter-supreme, as is Edwards. When he gets comfortable with the NBA, watch out!
Grant is most well-known right now as a non-stop talker and occasional team clown. But he can play at the NBA level. In two exhibition games, he is averaging 7.5 PPG in 17.7 minutes/game. His forte is rebounding (5.5 RPG in exhibition), but he also is hitting his field goals at a 43% clip. He will be contributing right away.
Back to comparisons, rookie Tremont Waters has the hesitation moves reminiscent of former Celtics star, Isaiah Thomas. But Waters is not simply a scorer – he is a small, but effective, defender. He carries with him the trauma of his dad’s suicide shortly after Tremont was drafted. If this talented youngster doesn’t make it in the NBA, hopefully with the Celtics, I will be sorely disappointed.
Tremont Waters looking really solid. Change of pace is giving defenders fits pic.twitter.com/TbrEorhyKK
— Max Carlin (@maxacarlin) October 12, 2019
Langford was the 14th pick overall in the 2019 NBA draft, and due to injury, we haven’t seen much of him on the hardwood. Most mock drafts at the time had him being taken in the middle of the first round, and that is what happened. But a thumb injury most-likely hampered his performance at Indiana and adversely affected his draft position. He may turn out to be a bit of a steal by Danny Ainge.
In two preseason games, Tacko has played a total of 14 minutes, scoring five points on 2-of-4 from the field, 1-of-2 from the foul line, while adding five rebounds, one assist and two blocks. Fans in both Boston and Orlando went wild when he took the court. The 7’5″ Green Giant (he denies he is that short) is a huge fan favorite. The best place for him right now may be as a 2-way player if either Max Strus or Tremont Waters – both on 2-way deals – are waived or elevated to the full-time roster.
Green, Fall and Waters all have a shot at the 15th spot on the Celtics full-time roster. The 6’4″ Green has exquisite athleticism and has yet to miss a shot in exhibition play. In the two games this far, he is 9-of-9 from the field and 1-of-1 on 3-pointers. And his five total rebounds and two steals in only 18 minutes of floor time mean he is not just a super athlete. Javonte is signed to a $0.9 million, partially guaranteed contract for this season, and the possibility of him sticking on the full-time roster can’t be discounted.
The best news is that these youngsters all get along – with each other and with the Celtics veterans. Danny Ainge drafted for talent and character, and he got both. Here’s hoping that the Jay Team of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have matured sufficiently to mentor the rookies. But we have to remember that Tatum is still only 21 years old – still a kid. I have to quell my excitement about the upcoming season a bit – no more disappointments. The potent wing trio of Tatum, Brown and Gordon Hayward – the continuing progression of Marcus Smart – and the introduction of this rookie crew into the mix needs to work. And I believe it will.
Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @_Celtics_Center and Facebook