Players picked by the Celtics outside the lottery often times find themselves doing a lot of sitting and watching their first year in the league. They get spot minutes here and there, spend a good deal of time shuttling between Boston and Maine, and generally try to soak in the experience. In other words, they aren’t trusted to play with the big boys till they’ve proved themselves.
Guerschon Yabusele’s rookie year fit right into that mold. He was more mascot than manchild. He was an in-flesh Gino, dancing through blowout wins. He’s a 260 lb. pork shoulder that’s been slowly smoking in the biggest Green Egg you’ve ever seen.
He’s so raw that you can’t even count on him being ready to contribute right away next year. Still, he’s so huge and nimble that I’m fine with that. Don’t get me wrong, at some point it would be nice to get some production from a first round pick, preferably before the end of his rookie contract. But we knew from the start that this guy was a long term project, and he could very well end up being worth the wait. Ginormous players with footspeed and outside touch don’t come around very often.
For now we’ll just have to enjoy the sideshow of it all. The wide open 3-pointers. The patented bow-and-arrow-dab celebration. The megawatt smile. The Dancing Bear nickname. The way he makes Tommy giggle. He’s pretty much adorable.
We can also dream of his future potential on the basketball court in games and situations that actually matter. If he can hold his own on defense and move the ball on offense, he’ll present some pretty amazing matchup issues for defenders. Just remember that before he made it to the Celtics, he was compared to a French Draymond Green.
(video courtesy of Tomek Kordylewski)
Imagine him setting a pick at the top of the key that blocks out the sun for Kyrie’s defender. If they switch, some poor big man is left to guard Kyrie and even if they send help, Guerschon is slipping out to the 3 point line for a wide open 3. Or if he rolls to the basket, he’s strong enough to bull his way to the basket and finish strong.
Occasionally Yabu has even shown some ability to put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop as well (eurosteps and all). Obviously his size and athleticism make him a candidate to make some noise inside the paint, but his game seems to be more finesse than you’d imagine from a guy his size.
Regardless, the Yabusele Experience is worth the price of admission and even if he’s our 11th or 12th man next year, I’m going to enjoy him on this team.