To seek to make the leap in the Eastern Conference that allows them, after several failed attempts in recent years, to return to the NBA Finals, the market of Boston Celtics in this preview of the 2020-2021 season it was quite quiet. Incorporations in the Free Agency? Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague. Yes, two veterans with a lot of Playoff experience and a player with the characteristics of Thompson, which is what they needed in the paint thinking about the East Playoffs, but nothing but a true leap of talent.
Gordon Hayward, Brad Wanamaker and Enes Kanter left, names that were not among the essentials of Stevens but that were part of the rotation. So the eye in Boston will be on the growth of young people. From a Jayson Tatum who is already an All-NBA and a Jaylen Brown who should aim to be an All-Star for the first time, to younger players like Romeo Langford and Grant Williams who took more important places in a second unit reduced in terms of hierarchy.
In this context, the other two Celtics incorporations can make a relevant space for them. Aaron Nesmith Y Payton Pritchard, chosen by Boston in the first round of the last Draft, they come to those of Massachusetts to compete for a place from the beginning of their trajectory there. And they try to waste as little time as possible.
“I was starting to train, but mmore than anything I try to be a sponge, absorb everything around me and prepare for the season. Obviously it’s starting too fast so I try to learn quickly and be ready“Pritchard commented at his first Celtic press conference.
“That is what we are here for now. To anticipate the curve, try to absorb as much as we can and make this transition as smooth and fast as possible. It will be a huge leap for both of us. We didn’t have Summer League, so we couldn’t get our feet wet there. Being able to compete (with the veterans) now and learn from them will be a great advantage for us. “Nesmith explained.
The no dispute of the Summer League, the first competitive professional approach for rookies, has its impact on the development of this litter both such as the fact that there will be little more than a month between the day of the Draft and the day of the first official game of the season, or the question that the preseason is going to be so short. In addition, since March that the NCAA exits do not play a game due to the interruption of the university championship.
So why could Pritchard and Nesmith end up playing their role in this Boston?
Why the shipowner, chosen 26, he is a player who will turn 23 years old in a few weeks, enough formed in character, which comes from being chosen as the best point guard in college basketball (20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 42% on triples), with intelligence, a great three-point shot and defensive effort. Why the eaves, chosen 14, he is also a relentless shooter (52% success rate in 2019-2020), which is very productive without the need to hold the ball in your hands.
And because in their positions the Celtics are lazy behind the headlines. Pritchard can be encouraged to compete for Kemba Walker’s relief spot against a 32-year-old Teague who last season failed to perform at either the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Atlanta Hawks, far from the All-Star he was in 2015. Nesmith and his shot can unseat both Langford and Semi Ojeleye to accompany from the perimeter, opening spaces on the court.
MORE | How does Aaron Nesmith play?
Will they be able to sustain their college productions in the NBA? “For me, nothing changes. My warm-up doesn’t change, my mechanics don’t change, my footwork doesn’t change. So as long as I can keep working on those things, keep honing those attributes of my game, there’s no reason my shot can’t be replayed at this new level “Nesmith said.
A priori, from the context in which they enter it would seem that they could be among the 10 most prominent rookies of 2019-2020: They weren’t picked too high in the Draft because your potential is not projected so high like other players, but they do seem ready to perform from day one. They have the technical qualities and tactical understanding to do it.
Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to be the heart of the Celtics. But in the group of the rest, do not be surprised if these two names appear.
The first chance to see them will be the next Tuesday, December 15, when Boston plays its first friendly game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The second and last game before the start of 2020-2021 will be on Friday, December 18, when they face the Brooklyn Nets.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its organizations.