The final exit interview in our series goes to G-League standout Tremont Waters. The rookie became a hopeful young piece in a possible future backcourt the Celtics hope to develop over the next few years. While he did not play many games for the Celtics during the regular season, his raw skills showed out on the G-League stage.
The Celtics drafted Tremont Waters in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft. He was a late draft flyer who stood out at LSU because of his pure scoring ability and defense. He was a two-way player that the Celtics scout team saw potential in for the future of the guard position. In his last season at LSU, he co-earned the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year. Waters made his case of always bringing it defensively which gave the coaching staff hope it would translate to the NBA.
Waters then earned his roster spot on the Celtics after a strong Summer League performance. He signed a two-way contract with Boston, but would spend most of his time with the Maine Red Claws. This is where his game would develop over time, and he could show off his true work effort and ability on a competitive stage.
For his full rookie season in the G-League, Waters averaged 18.0 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. These impressive numbers earned him G-League Rookie of the Year for the 2019 season. He was putting up numbers that had the Celtics staff on notice.
When Kemba Walker was injured and missed some games, Tremont Waters answered the call. Over the full regular season, Waters played in eleven games. However, he never found his shooting rhythm, only shooting 28% from the field. Luckily, he occasionally showed flashes on the defensive end that gave Brad Stevens flexibility. He may only measure in at 5 feet, 9 inches, but he’s gritty enough to defend bigger guards in the league.
Even as there were not many major memories in the NBA for Tremont Waters, the key to his future in this league will depend on his defense. He showed off this ability at LSU and then in the G-League, averaging almost 2 steals per game. Waters could mold himself into a Marcus Smart-type and give 110% on the defensive end of the court. There is a role for that type of player in the league. The offense and shooting percentages will come over time, but the defense is something that has to be shown every day he competes.
At the end of the day, Tremont Waters has an uphill journey to make it in this league. He was a second round pick with no room to spare. First, he earned a two-way contract to prove his fit in this league and now will have a full offseason to work on his game. Teams can never have enough defensive perimeter players, and Tremont Waters fits that mold. The Celtics need to give a long look at him this offseason. He averaged 18 points per game for a reason, and now he needs to show he can produce offensively while bringing that constant defense. The path is there for Tremont Waters, and it will be a fun ride to see if he can take it.