In our final edition of ranking the Celtics we’ll close it out with the “Situational Team.” These are the guys that aren’t going to be in the everyday rotation, but based on injury, foul trouble, or match ups, could get the nod for extended time.
Semi Ojeleye (2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.3 apg, 73 gp)
Semi has a big year coming up. The second-round pick was able to get about 16 mpg in the 73 games he played and was trusted instantly by Stevens because of his commitment to the defensive disciple. He still had his rookie mistakes and looked tentative as a shooter, but coming into this year the experience he got from the season and playoffs should give him confidence in his abilities. Confidence is the one ingredient Ojeleye needs to take his game to the next-level. He’s a capable shooter, a good athlete, and someone who has potential as an off-ball cutter. He just needs to trust himself and he could quickly find himself getting minutes over a guy like Marcus Morris.
Brad Wanamaker (11.3 ppg, 3.5 apg, 2.6 rpg, 36 gp)
The Euro star may not be in the everyday rotation, but his versatility will give him plenty of chances to break in. Wanamaker is a strong creator out of the pick-and-roll, a good outside shooter, and an absolute dog defensively. His versatility and Stevens love for 3-guard lineups will mean he’ll get more opportunities beyond third string PG minutes.
Jabari Bird (3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 13 gp)
Bird captured the attention of many Celtics fans with his name and then captured their hearts with his game. During Bird’s last stint for the team at the end of the season he showed an advanced feel as an off-ball cutter, above the rim athleticism, and solid defense. He’s already in the drivers seat to take Nader’s roster spot next year and is a consistent spot-up jumper away from becoming too expensive for the Celtics once his deal is up.
Guerschon Yabusele (2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.5 apg, 33 gp)
Yabusele is an interesting case. He has quickly become a beloved Celtics player on the internet for his sideline celebrations and his overall personification of the “Dancing Bear” brand. However, it’s still very up in the air if he can actually play basketball. Stevens noted earlier in the year that he wanted Yabusele to be able to play out of the elbows like Horford but he never really showed a consistent ability to do so. He might be a solid shooter, he might have some ability to pass, but right now he’s just too slow on both ends to get a consistent stream of minutes. He’ll need to prove a lot this year.
Abdel Nader (3 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.5apg, 48 gp)
While Yabusele was praised, Nader drew the constant scorn of the fan base for just an inability to show he had reliable NBA skills. He had a couple games against the Knicks where he showed an ability to be a strong spot-up shooter and I don’t think he got nearly as much credit for remaking his body and becoming the first Egyptian to win ROY of the G-League. I think going from a high-usage player in Maine to a situational shooter in the league was a hard adjustment for Nader that he never got comfortable making. There’s a really strong chance he could be off the team this year after a strong end of the year performance from Jabari Bird so it’ll be important to show immediate, tangible improvements from the jump.
Kadeem Allen (1.1 ppg, 0.6 rpg, 0.7 apg, 18 gp)
I don’t think Allen will be on the official roster, but he’s worth bringing up since he started a game. At his age (25) and inability to run an offense or shoot, he’s essentially in the mold of a Tony Allen and Tony Allen types have had a hard time sticking in the league. He may stick around as a two-way for another year, but I think his best bet of playing professionally will come overseas.