After 3/4 of the NBA season, where does the 2019 Boston Celtics rookie draft class stand in relation to their contributions to the second unit?
In the 2019 Draft, the Boston Celtics selected Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, and Tremont Waters. The first three would find themselves on the main roster, while Waters signed a two-way contract, playing the majority of the season in the G-League with the Maine Red Claws.
With the influx of draft picks gathered by General Manager Danny Ainge, the Celtics have been filling up their bench with rookies and inexperienced players, a strategy that has the potential to build a dynasty. If players such as Langford, Edwards, and Williams turn out to be above-average NBA players, the C’s will both be able to compete in the near future and in the long run.
However, if these draft picks turn out less than ideal, the lack of leadership on the Boston bench may prove to be detrimental in future playoff series.
Langford was the 14th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, the last pick of the lottery. During the season, he got minimal playing time. However, before the season suspension, he showed promise as a 3&D player, especially for a 20-year old. In 27 games, the Indiana product average 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.2 assists. His potential is sky high, as he’s already one of the better help defenders on the team.
The next pick in the draft was Grant Williams, who went 22nd overall. The forward/center from Tennessee had the most impact on the team, proving himself as a reliable option as a small-ball center. His offensive game has room to improve, as he only shot 25% from three on the year. However, he’s the most NBA ready player out of all the rookies, playing in 62 games this season. In those games, he averaged 3.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1 assist in 16 minutes of action.
Carsen Edwards, a second round pick, was one of the most exciting rookies for the Celtics, after he drained eight three pointers in the 3rd quarter against Cleveland in a preseason game. His role in the NBA will be a spark plug off the bench, as he has limited ball handling skills and defensive capability. Unfortunately, he failed to provide offense off the bench in his rookie campaign, only averaging 3 points per game while shooting 32.7% from the field and 30.9% from three. The way he’ll make an impact on the roster is if he becomes a high volume and efficient shooter from downtown.
Tremont Waters has spent limited time in the NBA, spending most of his time in Maine. In the few games he’s gotten into on the main roster, he’s been able to make an immediate impact with his hustle, engaging the Boston crowd. At 5’10”, Waters is undersized for the point guard position, yet makes an effort on defense, and has shown the ability to make step-back threes and distribute in the G-League. In Maine, he’s averaged 18 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in 36 games. He shoots 7 threes per game at 35.7%, showcasing his talents from beyond the arc.
For the upcoming playoffs and important moments in the future, Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics fans will have to count on these rookies to provide valuable minutes on the court. All of them have showed promise and potential, but they must garner that potential into becoming impact bench players on a championship contender.
Do you believe these players can lead the Boston Celtics bench for years to come?