The Celtics had a number of great storylines throughout this 2019-2020 season, but there may not have been a better one then the embrace and love of rookie center Tacko Fall. He came onto the NBA scene with his notable 7’5” height and his booming smile which the fans and other players came to appreciate. He may not have gotten that much playing time in his rookie season, but he became an icon of a Celtics’ bench unit having all the fun this season.
Tacko Fall was an undrafted rookie coming out of the University of Central Florida. He was known in college, of course, for his size, but he also put up the stats that created some buzz in the NBA. During his senior season at UCF, Fall averaged 11.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. The scouts took notice of his final season along with his workouts before the draft. He showed positives outside of just his size. The Celtics saw the opportunity and signed him to a two-way contract where he played most of his minutes in the G-League.
Once he arrived in the G-League, the Senegalese center flourished putting up eye-popping numbers. For the Maine Red Claws, he notched a double-double over the whole season averaging 12.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He also earned All-Defensive honors with almost 3 blocks per game.
Fall only played in seven regular season games for the Celtics this season, but he had the Garden crowd behind him when he made his way on the court. One of the best memories of Tacko Fall’s rookie season was when the Garden crowd started chanting his name late in a Celtics win.
This is the best thing you will see all day. I promise. pic.twitter.com/leNL2oiaIc— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) December 21, 2019
There have been countless interviews and platforms where he goes on saying that he is not complacent with this type of career arc. In his own podcast, “The Grant and Tacko Show” on the Athletic, Tacko has great conversations with Grant Williams about how he knows he can play the center position in today’s NBA even though it is trending smaller. One of his main takeaways is that he knows he can disrupt the paint and become a shot blocker that would throw a team off with any small lineup.
This is one thing he can build on and work on over a full offseason. It will be key for Tacko to work on his own skills and sharpen them up, and then he can see how that fits into a team’s scheme. Celtics.com’s Amanda Pflugrad sat down with Fall post-bubble talking to him about his thoughts on his first season in the league. Fall spoke on how he grew into a better player over his rookie year. “I was a two way player, I spent a lot of time in the G League, and in the second half, I was more in Boston while going back and forth. I appreciate the process. I’ve gotten a lot better.”
Credit to Celtics.com
When looking ahead to next season, Tacko Fall will still have some challenges to overcome to lock in his roster spot. The Celtics may have some openings in the depth chart, but Fall has to clean up on some of his weaknesses to see consistent minutes on the court. He projects out on being another G-League player that can put up big numbers because of the level of play, but once he can covert that to the NBA, then he can be an intriguing piece thrown into lineups.
The bottom line with Tacko Fall is that he’s a fun-loving, young player in the league that has a hungry appetite to learn more about how he can improve. He will carry the support he gets from the fans and players alike to find his niche into this league. As mentioned, Fall knows that there can be a position and role for him in today’s NBA even as it goes smaller. He can turn around the stigma he may have now to start impacting an NBA roster, either with the Celtics or elsewhere.