The Boston Celtics lost their first preseason matchup in their second meeting versus the Orlando Magic.
The Magic narrowly won by a score of 103-102 following a turnaround jumper by Jeff Dowtin with 0.2 seconds remaining. Despite the disappointing result, the Celtics played without most of their key rotational players and the young group displayed a lot of positives to build on going forward.
There is a lot to unpack as the Boston Celtics look to close out the preseason against Miami this Friday and finalize the roster before the season opener in New York.
Here are 3 of the biggest takeaways from the game:
Boston Celtics Takeaway No. 1) Aaron Nesmith makes his case to secure the final starting spot
Aaron Nesmith continued to show Boston Celtics fans why he is a legitimate candidate to secure a starting spot this season.
Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and either one of Robert Williams or Al Horford will likely take four of the five starting spots. The discussion the Cs need to have is whether or not to go with a double big lineup with Horford and Williams or to go smaller and include Nesmith.
The 21-year-old’s play against the Magic certainly boosted his chances to secure that final spot.
Nesmith finished with 23 points on 50 percent shooting from both the field and from 3-point land.
He displayed his scoring ability with catch and shoot threes, pull up threes, and a few strong drives to the basket. One of those drives is worth highlighting and shows the leaps he is taking offensively.
He is developing into more than just a 3-and-D wing by proving he can put the ball on the floor.
Nesmith showed this off by working through a double team, going downhill to the basket that ended in a fake to create separation for a turnaround jumper.
His addition to the starting lineup could provide more offensive versatility than a lineup with two big men.
If he continues to shoot efficiently, he will provide much needed floor spacing to let the Jays operate in the half-court sets. He could become a lethal offensive weapon on the catch and shoot if he is given the opportunity to start.
Nesmith can contribute on the defensive end as well. He has good size with a 6-foot-5 physical frame and provides energy and hustles on every play. He and Marcus Smart could prove to be quite the headache for opposing guards if the C’s decided to go this route.
This fits in perfectly with Ime Udoka’s wish to turn the Boston Celtics into a hard-working defensive force that can frustrate opposing teams.
Nesmith’s play has been trending upward ever since the end of last season and his development this summer and preseason gives no indication that he’ll be slowing down.
Pair this with what he adds to the team from a style perspective and it creates a convincing argument for why he should earn the last starting spot for the shamrocks.