With the 14th pick in the 2020 NBA draft, Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics took Aaron Nesmith, a sharpshooting sophomore out of Vanderbilt with a high floor but a relatively low ceiling.
With Hayward gone and the C’s wing rotation already thin, Ainge took Nesmith hoping he could provide the Celtics with some much-needed floor spacing and learn on the fly how to leverage his near 7-0 wingspan on the defensive end.
Although Nesmith ended the year on the right foot, he started off looking like one of the worst misses in the draft. The rookie had no time to prepare and familiarize himself with Boston’s core and Brad Stevens’ intricate offensive system with no offseason.
He received multiple DNP’s to start the season, and when he did get in he did not look good.
The development staff for the Boston Celtics had taken a hammer to his jump shot, hoping to reform it and perfect it, but in doing so, they handicapped Nesmith in the short term. His release was inconsistent and often rushed, and his body movement was erratic.
Nesmith probably is shipped to the Thunder instead of the 16th pick had he not broken out towards the end of the season.
However, he is still on the team and it is likely to remain that way given Boston’s financial concerns.
With that said, here are a few things Nesmith needs to improve upon if he wants to stay with the Boston Celtics long-term.
Area of improvement for Aaron Nesmith No. 1) Shooting form
The Boston Celtics development staff was right to tear down Nesmith’s form to build him a better foundation.
His jumper was efficient in college, but he was going against subpar competition, and the sample size was not very sufficient.
Had Nesmith played more games and played against more robust defenses, his jumper’s flaws would have bleed right through the screen. Unfortunately, that did not happen, leaving the Celtics to discover it two weeks before the season started.
His form looked more fluid and faster as the season progressed, but even towards the end, when Nesmith’s percentages rose, his jump shot still looked far from polished.
There is still a massive hitch in his back when he releases, and his footwork is still very sloppy.
Nesmith needs to work on his balance so he does not have to overcompensate with his back to make up for lost power. Improving his footwork will go a long way for the young swingman, allowing him to improve his jumper’s speed and efficiency and enable him to drive closeouts and attack the rim more comfortably.
Given how fast Nesmith learned mid-season, this adjustment will not be as uphill a battle as it may seem. As long as Nesmith puts in the work and continues along the path the Boston Celtics have laid out for him, he can be the team’s shooter of the future.