Analysis of Celtics Games, '21-'22 Season

HomeRunBaker

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Will it though? I mean, as bad as the C's are shooting, they are currently shooting the deep ball better than Utah, Phoenix, Washington, Denver, Dallas, all of whom are getting back on defense better than the C's are?

The transition defense has been terrible, but their half court defense has also been atrocious this year too.
It’s also a systematic approach. Denver, Wash and Phoe are among the worse OffReb teams in the league. A lot of this is by design to protect against transition. There are many moving parts that determine where these numbers are. Most times you have to give up something in one area to get some in another…..and coaches have different approaches based on a number of factors. It’s hardly ever cut and dry.
 

pjheff

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Yes. It's the defense. That's it.
I don’t think that’s it, although the problem is evident there too. The main issue is that this team settles for easy rather than working for good on both ends of the court. It loafs into games thinking that it can turn it on when it needs to in order to seal a win when it wants to, based on old press clippings, but the last year plus shows that this team is not willing to exert the effort necessary to create good shots, get stops, or grab rebounds when it counts. This shortcoming was explained as tuning out CBS last year, and Udoka was hailed as the antidote as a black former player, but the problem persists. This team continues to be soft and lacks resilience when things aren’t going its way.
 

NomarsFool

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Maybe I'm just noticing it more, but I feel like Smart is trying to be unnecessarily cute with his passes. There was a moment in the Orlando game where Smart threw a behind the back pass, I think to JB, that really caught him off guard. He was able to control it, but it sort of seemed like a near turnover. Ball movement is good, but you don't want to be so fast that you throw the ball away - and it seems like Smart has had a lot of turnovers.
 

Cesar Crespo

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That dinner must have been about defense.

Good to see Nesmith and Langford have good games. We need more of this Nesmith.
 

Eddie Jurak

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This was a statement win for the Celtics.

Jayson Tatum had a terrible game, not scoring a point until the 4th quarter, finishing with 10 on 3 of 13. He did hit a 3 with the shot clock expiring to ignite a little run in the 4th.

Brown led the team with 17 points, on the strength of 3-5 from 3. (He was 2-9 frommthe field). He went out of the game with hamstring tightness in the 4th, hopefully nothign serious.

The Celtics were down 6 after one (24-18) and actually gave Jabari Parker a few minutes at center around the quarter break to get some extra rest for the bigs.

The second quarter was the Celtics best quarter of the season, just shutting Miami down and laying a 33-9 beating on them. Three of the keys to this were named Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, and Dennis Schroder. Langford and Schroder were part of the good defensive unit in the 3rd quarter yesterday, so seeing them doing it again - and without the injured Richardson - was a good thing. But Nesmith seemed to get them going, scoring his first non-garbage time points (13) of the year and bringing some energy. Did not look like the same guy who failed to score in the first couple of games.

Miami went on a little run in the middle of the third, eventually cutting the Celtics lead down to 8, before the Celtics turned it around quickly. Schroder scored, Romeo hit a 3, Brown hit the lone free throw on an away from the play foul, and then Al drove for the dunk posted above. That was it, though having 8 point lead felt like we were behind for a bit.

The Celtice got 45 points off their bench (most from 14 Schroder, 13 Nesmith, 12 Langford) along with some excellent defense. The +/- leaders for the whole team were Schroder +26, Langford +25, and Nesmith +15.

Grant Williams gets a demerit. He played 6 inconsequential minutes in the first quarter (did hit a three) and Ime did not go to him in the second. Then he came in just at the time when the Heat started to cut into the lead in the third. 2 or 3 minutes into his stint in the third quarter, he tried to throw a long pass to a covered Rob running down court for a dumb turnover, Miami came back and hit a 3 before Ime could get him out and he did not return until garbage time.

I think Grant has to slip down in the rotation. Too much wing talent that Ime needs to get onto the court. I like Grant more than some here do, but at the end of the day, Langford and Richardson are just better players. Unless Grant's eslight amount of extra size is needed, there's never a reason to have him out there instead of them.

Nesmith also made an impact today. With everyone healthy, I feel like the rotation needs to be: Rob, Al, Jayson, Jaylen, Smart, Schroder, Richardson, Langford. That's your top 8. Whichever others play should be situational. Nesmith, Pritchard, Grant should be in the mix for 9 and 10.

The bench unit should be Schroder, Richardson, Langford, Horford and someone else. That's a unit that can, at the very least, defend, and is not without offnesive ability, too.
 

RorschachsMask

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Both Jays shot like crap, but I think they had really good games. Excellent defense from both of them, and Tatum made a bunch of great passes, guys just missed the shots. He seemed to get into a rhythm late too, looked confident for the first time since the hornets game.

Edit: Team is up to 9th in defensive rating, if you filter out garbage time.

Oh, and this.

View: https://twitter.com/KenTremendous/status/1456440118441435136?s=20
 
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Jakarta

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I’m surprised it didn’t get shown on replay. But there was a play in the third where Nesmith grabbed a rebound, threw a 3/4 court pass to Romeo who had his layup blocked, but somehow Nesmith was there to follow the miss and get a bucket via goaltend. Incredible hustle and the type of energy play this team has needed in several games. Hope to see him get a few more minutes, probably at Grant’s expense now that he is no longer shooting 70% from 3.
 

tbb345

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This was a statement win for the Celtics.

Jayson Tatum had a terrible game, not scoring a point until the 4th quarter, finishing with 10 on 3 of 13. He did hit a 3 with the shot clock expiring to ignite a little run in the 4th.

Brown led the team with 17 points, on the strength of 3-5 from 3. (He was 2-9 frommthe field). He went out of the game with hamstring tightness in the 4th, hopefully nothign serious.

The Celtics were down 6 after one (24-18) and actually gave Jabari Parker a few minutes at center around the quarter break to get some extra rest for the bigs.

The second quarter was the Celtics best quarter of the season, just shutting Miami down and laying a 33-9 beating on them. Three of the keys to this were named Aaron Nesmith, Romeo Langford, and Dennis Schroder. Langford and Schroder were part of the good defensive unit in the 3rd quarter yesterday, so seeing them doing it again - and without the injured Richardson - was a good thing. But Nesmith seemed to get them going, scoring his first non-garbage time points (13) of the year and bringing some energy. Did not look like the same guy who failed to score in the first couple of games.

Miami went on a little run in the middle of the third, eventually cutting the Celtics lead down to 8, before the Celtics turned it around quickly. Schroder scored, Romeo hit a 3, Brown hit the lone free throw on an away from the play foul, and then Al drove for the dunk posted above. That was it, though having 8 point lead felt like we were behind for a bit.

The Celtice got 45 points off their bench (most from 14 Schroder, 13 Nesmith, 12 Langford) along with some excellent defense. The +/- leaders for the whole team were Schroder +26, Langford +25, and Nesmith +15.

Grant Williams gets a demerit. He played 6 inconsequential minutes in the first quarter (did hit a three) and Ime did not go to him in the second. Then he came in just at the time when the Heat started to cut into the lead in the third. 2 or 3 minutes into his stint in the third quarter, he tried to throw a long pass to a covered Rob running down court for a dumb turnover, Miami came back and hit a 3 before Ime could get him out and he did not return until garbage time.

I think Grant has to slip down in the rotation. Too much wing talent that Ime needs to get onto the court. I like Grant more than some here do, but at the end of the day, Langford and Richardson are just better players. Unless Grant's eslight amount of extra size is needed, there's never a reason to have him out there instead of them.

Nesmith also made an impact today. With everyone healthy, I feel like the rotation needs to be: Rob, Al, Jayson, Jaylen, Smart, Schroder, Richardson, Langford. That's your top 8. Whichever others play should be situational. Nesmith, Pritchard, Grant should be in the mix for 9 and 10.

The bench unit should be Schroder, Richardson, Langford, Horford and someone else. That's a unit that can, at the very least, defend, and is not without offnesive ability, too.
Richardson is a veteran and Ime clearly has a soft spot for him but I don’t think he should be guaranteed minutes or a rotation spot honestly. He’s a weird fit for the group because he’s a pretty poor shooter and off ball player and in most situations that’s exactly what he will be.

I’m hoping that this game gives Nesmith some rotation momentum. His skills and energy fit much better with the core of the team
 

Lazy vs Crazy

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Richardson is a veteran and Ime clearly has a soft spot for him but I don’t think he should be guaranteed minutes or a rotation spot honestly. He’s a weird fit for the group because he’s a pretty poor shooter and off ball player and in most situations that’s exactly what he will be.

I’m hoping that this game gives Nesmith some rotation momentum. His skills and energy fit much better with the core of the team
I thing Richardson at point with Marcus at the 2 works as a bench unit, and it lets the only true point on the team start.
 

JCizzle

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I’m surprised it didn’t get shown on replay. But there was a play in the third where Nesmith grabbed a rebound, threw a 3/4 court pass to Romeo who had his layup blocked, but somehow Nesmith was there to follow the miss and get a bucket via goaltend. Incredible hustle and the type of energy play this team has needed in several games. Hope to see him get a few more minutes, probably at Grant’s expense now that he is no longer shooting 70% from 3.
That was a very impressive play and the type of thing that should continue to lead to minutes for him.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Amazing Cs won going away with JT not scoring until 4Q.

Story to me was that suffocating defense we all expected to see more consistently. Lots of ball pressure was something we've not seen before this FL trip and I guess MIA is easy for Cs to guard because no one was breaking down the defense.

Duncan Robinson had 17 3PAs and after the first three he made early dud not have many wide-open looks. Herro wasn't beating anyone not named GW off the dribble and while he put Al on skates once, he missed the shot so no highlight.

Thought JT played ok as MIA was running a second guy at him every time he touched the ball and he generally got rid of it but still needs to work on that as he's going to see a lot of double- and triple-teams.
 

serotonin

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Horford and Smart together have the potential to be so disruptive. I continue to worry about Horford's minutes but it's hard to sit him when he's playing like this. Hope to see more Langford/Nesmith over the next few games.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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SSS alert but Cs held the Heat to 34.6% from the field a night after holding the Magic to 32.2%. This isn't to say they won't revert to their turnstile ways but its encouraging.
 

reggiecleveland

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I missed last two games maybe that has been the key.
But shooting 40% from 3 and holding other teams under 30 is great.
Maybe just making a few shots keeps them out of transition.
 

lovegtm

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They finally cleaned up the open 3s they were allowing on sloppy/lazy switches. Only 2 games since last effort collapse, but they have the personnel to be very good defensively if they focus.
 

benhogan

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The Celtics' length hurt Miami. Still don't love pairing TL/Horford, mostly due to health/length of season, but they are two of the better defenders. Horford's play is so freaking eye-opening it's hard for Ime to take him off the court. When healthy, Romeo should get a consistent run. Nailing AN to the bench has been asinine for numerous reasons, good to see his energy, effort, length and shooting on the floor. Both RL/AN helped slow down Butler, Herro, and Duncan. Should see more of both
 

Eddie Jurak

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Richardson is a veteran and Ime clearly has a soft spot for him but I don’t think he should be guaranteed minutes or a rotation spot honestly. He’s a weird fit for the group because he’s a pretty poor shooter and off ball player and in most situations that’s exactly what he will be.

I’m hoping that this game gives Nesmith some rotation momentum. His skills and energy fit much better with the core of the team
Richardson and Langford are the Celtics best defensive wings coming off the bench. And the Celtic have won these games in large part by having their bench units play great defense. It could be an idenity for them.
I missed last two games maybe that has been the key.
But shooting 40% from 3 and holding other teams under 30 is great.
Maybe just making a few shots keeps them out of transition.
It is too bad that you had to suffer through all of the other games and then miss these two.
  • Magic game, 3rd quarter scoring: 33-10, Celtics
  • Heat game, 2nd quarter scoring: 33-9, Celtics

Against Miami, they actally closed out that quarter on a 30-5 run.

Earlier in season:
  • Toronto game, 3rd quarter scoring: 33-17, Raptors
  • Bulls game, 4th quarter scoring: 39-11, Bulls
 

PedroKsBambino

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What struck me last night was how much better the Celtics bench and depth was relative to Miami's. Have to assume that's a bit aberrant for Nesmith/Romeo in particular until they show consistently but for one night, it was a legit advantage that made a huge difference.
 

Eddie Jurak

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What struck me last night was how much better the Celtics bench and depth was relative to Miami's. Have to assume that's a bit aberrant for Nesmith/Romeo in particular until they show consistently but for one night, it was a legit advantage that made a huge difference.
I think Miami came in leading the league in bench scoring - I assume a lot of that is Herro. C’s bench outscored them 45-20 in this one, but Miami came in averaging 40.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I think Miami came in leading the league in bench scoring - I assume a lot of that is Herro. C’s bench outscored them 45-20 in this one, but Miami came in averaging 40.
The MIA broadcast mentioned several times that Herro had set a record for bench points through the first 7 games.

It's funny how we've been wringing our hands with a switch-everything defense and MIA does it with two minus defenders in Robinson and Herro.

This article - https://www.thescore.com/nba/news/2215965 - on the MIA's defensive success is pretty interesting because I think the Cs probably have better individual defenders and are a bit longer than MIA
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Saw this on Reddit. After the last two games, and according to BRef, Cs are now 9th in DRtg; 8th in Adjusted DRtg after being in the 20s before the FL trip.
 

CreightonGubanich

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I don’t think that’s it, although the problem is evident there too. The main issue is that this team settles for easy rather than working for good on both ends of the court. It loafs into games thinking that it can turn it on when it needs to in order to seal a win when it wants to, based on old press clippings, but the last year plus shows that this team is not willing to exert the effort necessary to create good shots, get stops, or grab rebounds when it counts. This shortcoming was explained as tuning out CBS last year, and Udoka was hailed as the antidote as a black former player, but the problem persists. This team continues to be soft and lacks resilience when things aren’t going its way.
I should have been clearer - the offense is bad right now too, and there's lots of problems there to fix. I just think most of the offensive stuff is self-correcting. Tatum is going to make more shots. Rotations will crystalize. People will stop committing dumb turnovers. The ball will find the right guys in the right places, most of the time, as the team plays more together. And even if it doesn't work as well as it theoretically should, I think they'll score enough points to contend. But this team is built to be a good defensive team, and if they don't find a way to be one, it doesn't matter what they do on offense.
 

Dduncan6er

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Not really game analysis but Brad should be thanking the Thunder for putting Al on ice the 2nd half of last year. It's clear the extended break for Al was great for him.
 

JCizzle

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I’m surprised it didn’t get shown on replay. But there was a play in the third where Nesmith grabbed a rebound, threw a 3/4 court pass to Romeo who had his layup blocked, but somehow Nesmith was there to follow the miss and get a bucket via goaltend. Incredible hustle and the type of energy play this team has needed in several games. Hope to see him get a few more minutes, probably at Grant’s expense now that he is no longer shooting 70% from 3.
I saw it circulated on Twitter this morning for those who missed it:

 

jimv

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Two games in a row with effort and focus, would be nice to see a third Saturday night in Dallas. Does anyone remember the last time they played that way 3 games straight
 

GreenMonster49

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That was a very impressive play and the type of thing that should continue to lead to minutes for him.
I was going to embed the video from the NBA.com box score but say JCizzle found the twitter video. If you click on any of the linked stats in the box score, you get a highlights package of the plays with (say) Nesmith's defensive rebounds. Ypu can also get the video from any particular play from the play-by-play tab.
 

Fishy1

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Funny to think that everyone was panicking about the mental state of the team after Smart's public comments.

Maybe this is armchair psychology, but sometimes you do actually need a guy who's willing to say something in order to get everyone to dialogue openly about their responsibilities, failures, what they can do better -- and to actually light a fire under everybody to apply themselves to make things better.

Just seems like everyone is being much more accountable and focused on both ends of the floor. Shotmaking and energy help too.
 

RorschachsMask

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Both of the Jay’s defense has been excellent the last couple of games. Jaylen has been great on ball, and has stayed disciplined within the scheme. Tatum has looked like the team defense wrecking ball he was two years ago.

Please keep that going.
 

bakahump

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maybe "Jayson and Jalen need to PASS the ball" (when they HAD been passing the ball) was code. Or at least like @Fishy1 says a way to get everyone to talk
"Dude you need to pass!"
"I am Passing!"
"Well are you playing Defense??!!"
"Well.....umm....."
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I know they probably want the game to slow down for AN a bit before he is thrown into the fire more, but if any team needs a guy with boundless energy, it is this one. It's not like they are getting such great stuff from the guys whose minutes he would eat into. You have to see if you can get him to a point where things have clicked and it starts coming naturally, so you get the benefit of his energy without some of the downside.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I think Miami came in leading the league in bench scoring - I assume a lot of that is Herro. C’s bench outscored them 45-20 in this one, but Miami came in averaging 40.
I hear that, but look at the players: Herro (who can be very good), but then what? Markieff Morris; Dedmon; Strus; Caleb Martin? Some role playing ability there but pretty thin imo.
 

lovegtm

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Seemed to me that MIA also just missed a lot of open threes.
I agree; Miami definitely left some points on the table. But the Celtics had a very specific type of 3 they were allowing against other opponents--soft switches where the ballhandler just let it fly. They mostly cleaned those up, and most of Miami's open 3s were from normal successful offensive actions.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Hopefully AN starts getting more consistent minutes and does something with them. He's going to keep getting chances because the team has needed a player like him for a few years now.

I went into the season thinking PP would be the 8th guy but he hasn't been to date. It would be great if RL and AN could step up and fill that role together, while also taking minutes away from Grant.

The team isn't really all that deep (7) without one or two of PP, RL, AN, GW, everyone else contributing.
 

Just a bit outside

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I have been against the 2 big lineup but the way Al is playing I think it can work. Based on keeping minutes at a reasonable level how many minutes a game can TL and Al play together assuming one is on the court at all times? When do you think those minutes should happen during the game? Right now they are starting both in the first and second half for about 4 minutes. I think they may need to adjust in case they want to pair them together for the last 4 minutes of the game. Thoughts?

Also, AN has to play. He is going to make mistakes but he can shoot and if the game slows down having another shooter will be huge for this team. I think we need to live with the growing pains and hope he grows as a player.
 

sezwho

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Not really game analysis but Brad should be thanking the Thunder for putting Al on ice the 2nd half of last year. It's clear the extended break for Al was great for him.
He does seem to be on a mission, emphasized by that dunk clip upthread. Would like to manage his minutes a bit in spite of that though, but right now I get he’s too important to what Ime is trying to establish.

I’m also with those who want to push Grant down the depth chart a couple slots. I would miss the occasional wham blocks (Al gets a few off as well) in the paint.

Side note: and not taking anything away from him, because I realize he’s made it to the NBA, but I can’t help but think Grant would be an even better left tackle than forward. Maybe he loses some foot speed when he goes to 300+ and ends up at guard. I thought the same thing about Yabu, so maybe says more about me.
 

benhogan

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Hopefully AN starts getting more consistent minutes and does something with them. He's going to keep getting chances because the team has needed a player like him for a few years now.

I went into the season thinking PP would be the 8th guy but he hasn't been to date. It would be great if RL and AN could step up and fill that role together, while also taking minutes away from Grant.

The team isn't really all that deep (7) without one or two of PP, RL, AN, GW, everyone else contributing.
I'm confident AN will bring energy/effort every night, since that's exactly what he did the last 13 games last season when he played ~19mpg along with 46%+ 3pt shooting

In order to play the defense Ime wants (and we all want) the team will have to go 10 deep/night during the regular season. That should mean plenty of minutes for 1-13 (injuries & all). I'm not sure who is 8,9,10 - it probably depends on matchups.
Just don't run the starting 5 into the ground with massive minutes, the NBA season is a grind.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I'm confident AN will bring energy/effort every night, since that's exactly what he did the last 13 games last season when he played ~19mpg along with 46%+ 3pt shooting
AN has to find balance between giving energy and allowing the game to slow down for his shooting to show consistently. Those first two games he was running around with his head cut off but not accomplishing much with the energy and it clearly affected his shot. These things take time to figure out if they ever do. If he does, he can find a role like an Allen Crabbe did. It took Crabbe until his third year but he had an advantage of playing in a wide-open offense with open 3’s off of Lillard/CJ.

He showed energy early last year but he wasn’t able to sustain it (he was finally benched the final game for jogging up and down the court for 6 minutes). Here’s another opportunity for AN to win minutes. Again, it’s here for him to grab. He’s like 0-4 in these opportunities to begin his career but he has a long leash due to the shooting upside. At some point it’s up to him to provide consistent production. I’m not hopeful but hoping to be surprised.
 

benhogan

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AN has to find balance between giving energy and allowing the game to slow down for his shooting to show consistently. Those first two games he was running around with his head cut off but not accomplishing much with the energy and it clearly affected his shot. These things take time to figure out if they ever do. If he does, he can find a role like an Allen Crabbe did. It took Crabbe until his third year but he had an advantage of playing in a wide-open offense with open 3’s off of Lillard/CJ.

He showed energy early last year but he wasn’t able to sustain it (he was finally benched the final game for jogging up and down the court for 6 minutes). Here’s another opportunity for AN to win minutes. Again, it’s here for him to grab. He’s like 0-4 in these opportunities to begin his career but he has a long leash due to the shooting upside. At some point it’s up to him to provide consistent production. I’m not hopeful but hoping to be surprised.
Yep definitely recall that early game when Aaron was lost for a few-minute stretch (deer in headlights) during COVID season after no SL, little preseason, not many practices. He definitely made defensive miscues but it never felt like an effort thing to me.

I used the last month of the regular season since it was a larger sample size, Aaron received chunks of consistent minutes, he had time to figure things out and it's more relevant to assess his development by the end of his rookie season.

He and Romeo were the story last night (really Horford is the story every night). I'd expect if AN/RL play consistent minutes they both will perform/shoot better. It's next to impossible for a young player, especially a shooter, to perform when they get occasional 11-minutes stints mixed in with DNP-CD.
 

128

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He showed energy early last year but he wasn’t able to sustain it (he was finally benched the final game for jogging up and down the court for 6 minutes). Here’s another opportunity for AN to win minutes. Again, it’s here for him to grab. He’s like 0-4 in these opportunities to begin his career but he has a long leash due to the shooting upside. At some point it’s up to him to provide consistent production. I’m not hopeful but hoping to be surprised.
The idea that AN blew all his rookie opportunities is nonsense. Yes, the C's had a ton of injuries that put him in situations he might otherwise not have been in, but Nesmith appeared in each of the final 12 regular-season games, and he was 15 for 34 on 3-pointers during that stretch. In three of those games, including the miraculous comeback against the Spurs, he scored 16 points.

He was a mess early in the season, but once he found his footing, more often than not he was fine.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The idea that AN blew all his rookie opportunities is nonsense. Yes, the C's had a ton of injuries that put him in situations he might otherwise not have been in, but Nesmith appeared in each of the final 12 regular-season games, and he was 15 for 34 on 3-pointers during that stretch. In three of those games, including the miraculous comeback against the Spurs, he scored 16 points.

He was a mess early in the season, but once he found his footing, more often than not he was fine.
It isn’t nonsense at all. It was well chronicled here last year. Earned opportunity with work ethic, showed something in games with hustle, stopped producing, removed from rotation……it occurred at least 3x possibly 4 but I had lost count. He played at the end of the season out of necessity when Romeo was getting 35 min in a playoff game bc we had no bodies or he may have again lost those minutes. Fast forward to this year……first two games nothing short of a train wreck, benched again, given another opportunity, showed energy……

It’s a pretty clear trend. Maybe he’ll figure it out but it is far from a certainty.