Question for the staff (and for you—comment below): Aside from Tatum, which rookie will have the most impact this season?
Keep in mind that the rookies to pick from are Ante Zizic, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele, Abdel Nader, and Daniel Thies.
Here are our answers.
The Dancing Bear. My biggest concern is that the Celtics don't have another point forward like Horford on the roster. Olynyk filled in nicely during the playoffs when Al needed a blow, but he's gone. Enter Guerschon. French Draymond Green has the range and the footwork to play the high post, but can he be a triple threat in the NBA this early?
I'm going to go with Semi Ojeleye. He has an extremely NBA-ready body for a guy his age, and despite his size he's shown that he has the quickness to guard smaller players out on the perimeter. He's also virtually unmovable on the low post when opponents try to back him down. Add in a solid stroke from three-point range and you've got steal potential written all over the second-rounder. Think Brandon Bass with a three ball.
I really like Ojeleye's versatility on both ends, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Theis. I like that he plays tough on the inside but can also stretch the floor from the big-man spot. I feel that Brad Stevens will be quicker to sub in a 25-year-old rookie with plenty of pro experience overseas than the younger lads on the bench. Theis could fill the Jerebko’s former role but provide more from a rebounding and shot-blocking perspective.
My heart desperately wants to go with the Dancing Bear, but my head says it's Semi Ojeleye. He might struggle to find minutes, but Stevens will undoubtedly love his mix of defensive versatility and shooting. The Celtics will need to lean on small-ball lineups significantly for him to play often enough to really make a meaningful impact, but I suspect that is in their plans this year.