After getting second-rounded by the Bucks and losing multiple vital pieces, the Boston Celtics looked to rebound through the draft and free agency heading into the 2019-20 season.
Danny Ainge had collected three first-round draft picks in the 2019 draft, including one lottery pick, which landed at 14th overall.
Many expected Ainge to trade the pick after losing so many veterans, but he held tight. He selected Romeo Langford out of Indiana, hoping he could revert to what he was on track to be before his injuries.
It is unfair to use revisionist history for Langford; he was a top prospect heading into college and showcased potential in his games.
Langford was a perfect scorer in college, specifically under the rim and creating his shot. His unreal athleticism created a gap between him and everyone else that was on the court. On top of this athleticism and scoring prowess, he had a good handle and was an okay passer, leading some GMs to believe he could be a pick-and-roll threat once he adjusted to the NBA’s speed.
The dilemma with Langford was his health, as he played 32 games at Indiana but has since only appeared in 50 of his Celtics games.
He’s suffered setback after setback, and his injury proneness is leading to some impatience from the Celtics’ management.
He is far from safe this summer, but if Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics choose to keep him, here are a few things he can do to secure a spot on the team long-term.
Area of improvement for Romeo Langford No. 1) Off-ball play
Romeo Langford is not going to take the same leap Tatum did in year three.
He will not become a sub superstar or anything close to it, but he doesn’t need to be with Tatum and Brown on the roster.
What he needs to become is an asset off the ball. Langford needs to learn how to impact the game on offense when the ball is not in his hands. Since he’s a non-shooter right now, the best way to do this is with elite cutting.
Take Jimmy Butler, for example; his jump shot has fallen off a cliff since he got to Miami, and there’s no sign of it coming back.
Yet, the wing remains a 20 point per game scorer. How does that happen?
It’s simple, really — Butler has mastered the art of cutting to the rim, where he shoots 72%. On top of that elite finishing, he’s also perfected drawing fouls and getting defenders up in the air. This remodeling of Butler’s scoring play style is what Romeo Langford will have to do to an extent.
Even if Langford does not get the ball on 90% of his cuts, he’s creating more space for the Jays and the C’s shooters to score.
The more player movement the Boston Celtics have, the better and Langford can contribute to this since his size and speed make him a cutting threat. If he were smaller like Carsen Edwards, his cutting would be ignored because he’s too small to finish slightly contested shots.