I don’t put any stock in drills where players just go through the motions, but it’s impossible not to feel good about this one. Tacko is so long and gangly that it’s hard to get a read on just how strong he is, and seeing him dismiss fellow rookie Vincent Poirier entirely is seems like real progress for Tacko, whose skillful summer league display didn’t show a lot of aggression at the rim. Of course, there’s no alternative option here other than to attack the basket, so I won’t assume he’ll look to body a defender like this in real game action until I see it.
Here's Tacko Fall dunking on Vincent Poirier pic.twitter.com/hr7LSbPaPP— John Karalis (@RedsArmy_John) October 1, 2019
That rip-through move he does before going into the shot is common in the NBA, but I’m wondering if he should caution away from it given how tall he is. Bringing the ball back up from that low is a lot of distance to cover, isn’t it? Here he is today working a similar move against a now bloodied Enes Kanter:
Unless he’s extraordinarily quick with the ball, I wouldn’t want my center facing up and bringing the ball so low like that. So I wonder - are the Celtics encouraging him to face up like that? It’s not something I saw him do in college, but it’s in line with how the Celtics initiate their offense in isolation. We can only infer so much from one video clip, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
I’ll take any news I can get. Tremont Waters, listed at 172 pounds, jumps straight into Tacko and he doesn’t even budge.
Tacko’s celebrity status won’t help him make the main roster, but his improved physicality might give him a chance. His willingness to play in Maine is a big question, and based on The Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach’s reporting, he might look to play elsewhere if Boston waives him:
The Celtics believe that with further development Fall could become an NBA contributor. But it’s unclear if they want to keep a development project on the roster. That’s where things become tricky. Fall signed an Exhibit 10 contract, meaning he will receive a $50,000 bonus if he is waived and agrees to then join the Maine Red Claws. But Fall’s agent, Justin Haynes has insisted that Fall will be picked up by another NBA team before that happens, and that has been reiterated to the team recently, league sources said.
Does this mean that teams have already reached out to Tacko and offered him a main roster spot if it doesn’t work out in Boston? Does it mean he would rather test the market rather than play in Maine? Is this just Tacko’s agent pressuring Boston with an all-or-nothing, take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum? Back in July, I wrote that signing a player purely due to fear of missing out would be a mistake, and I stand by that.
Boston’s depth chart at center is still in flux, and it’d be hard to argue that Fall is even fourth in line to play center behind the Robert Williams, Daniel Theis, Kanter, and Poirier, not to mention the possibility of Grant Williams sliding into a small-5 role if he can stand his ground. If we look at Boston’s 20-man training camp roster, who do we suppose Tacko could beat out?
Kaiser Gates, Javonte Green, and Yante Maten are probably lower on the depth chart. If Tacko outshines them, then he could take the 15th roster spot with Tremont Waters and Max Strus staying on two-way contracts. As far as I can tell, there’s room for Tacko to make the roster barring any major changes.