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Young players shine despite a loss: 10 Takeaways from Celtics-Magic

The Celtics lost, but the good play of several young players is the main takeaway here

Boston Celtics v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

1. Aaron Nesmith had a terrific game. With plenty of opportunities to be involved, Nesmith showed his known skills and flashed some new stuff too. There’s nothing fancy about this play, but Nesmith shows good composure. He then makes a smart skip pass to Grant Williams for the triple:

This play was even better from Nesmith. He does a nice job of moving to the ball as Grant Williams kicks it out. That gave Nesmith a head-start on attacking the lane. As he draws the defense, Nesmith makes the drop-off to Robert Williams for an easy dunk:

It’s good to see Nesmith playing with such confidence in his handle and his passing.

2. Of course, what Aaron Nesmith is known for is his shooting. This is a good pull off a double-screen. Robin Lopez does a nice job on the closeout, but it’s nothing but bottom for Nesmith:

On the very next possession, Nesmith is feeling it. A one-dribble pullup three is a great shot for him to have in his arsenal:

3. Payton Pritchard exited the game just before halftime with what is likely a broken nose. That was a shame because he had put together a terrific first half. We said we wanted to see Pritchard do more as an off-the-dribble scorer, especially on pullup jumpers. Here’s some evidence he worked on that.

Working off the DHO with Enes Kanter, Pritchard reads that his defender stuck on the screen and that the big has dropped. Easy money here:

A couple of plays later, Pritchard runs a similar action to the opposite side. This time, he gets a little deeper into the defense, but gets Wendell Carter Jr. on the backpedal. Again, this should be a money shot for Pritchard:

4. The other challenge for Payton Pritchard was to show he could be a distributor. Most of his rookie year, Pritchard was asked to score or to be a spot-up shooter. The next step is rounding out his playmaking game.

On this play, Pritchard does a nice job of keeping his dribble alive as he gets to the basket. Romeo Langford makes a really good cut and Pritchard finds him for the finish:

This is another nice play as a passer from Pritchard. He draws Mo Bamba on the drive, while still keeping his defender. The key is keeping the ball long enough to let Robert Williams relocate. Bonus points for Timelord dropping in a nice jumper:

5. Jabari Parker played a terrific first half. He was a little bit missing in action after the break, but that was more about other players getting the reps. As Ime Udoka said postgame, “We know what Jabari can do as a scorer.” This buzzer-beater to end the first quarter is a sign that Parker has never lost confidence in his scoring game:

This play shows Parker has pretty good instincts too. He reads that Carter is going to get the ball passed off quickly. Parker jumps it and comes up with the steal and layup:

It’s not locked in yet, but Parker went a long way towards earning the 15th roster spot for the Celtics on Wednesday night.

6. The rest of the Takeaways are quick-hit scattered thoughts…

Romeo Langford continued to be really aggressive. It’s not always pretty, but Langford seems to be playing with a new level of confidence on offense. That’s big for him moving forward.

Prediction: Both Langford and Aaron Nesmith pass Josh Richardson in the rotation by midseason.

7. Garrison Mathews isn’t shy about shooting the ball. He’s got that rare skill of being able to contort his body around the defense, while keeping his shoulders square to the rim. Whether it’s in Boston on a Two-Way or with Maine as an Affiliate Player, keep an eye on Mathews.

8. Sam Hauser did a nice job on offense. He’s got a nice shot with a fairly quick and high release. Defensively, Hauser has miles to go before he can contribute at the NBA level.

9. Theo Pinson showed why he’s the NBA equivalent of an MLB 4A player. He’s too good for the minors, but not quite good enough for the show. He’ll do an excellent job for the Maine Celtics and could earn a callup this season.

10. It was a rough shooting night for Ryan Arcidiacono, but he did a solid job as a playmaker. He’s also not afraid to challenge players on defense. He’s also probably headed to Maine, where he’ll get a lot of on-ball reps as the primary point guard.

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