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New Year’s resolutions: kids edition

For Romeo Langford, Payton Pritchard, and Aaron Nesmith to truly break into the rotation, they’ll need to address these areas in 2022.

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Romeo Langford: It’s been great seeing Romeo Langford earn a consistent role on this team throughout the season, and his defense has certainly warranted the increase in playing time. However, we’re still yet to see the best from Langford on the offense end of the floor, and that will come when he starts pressuring the rim and driving the lane more often. Sure, we’ve seen some improvements in Langford three-point shot, and he’s developing a reputation as a player who can drive out of the corners, but for him to take the next step in his development, we need to see him become more aggressive with his offensive possessions. If we can see Langford raise his season average to 10-14 points per game, we can feel confident about him taking another jump during the off-season, but he needs to earn those extra touches and scoring opportunities, and you don’t earn those by passively standing in the corners.We’ve waited long enough to see the rise of Langford, and the team sorely needs some additional ball-handling and scoring, it’s time to see him unleash the side of his game that got him into the NBA in the first place. We’re moving into the final season of the Indiana natives contract (2022-23) so we’re getting to that time where his offensive production needs to catch-up to the impact he’s having defensively. Langford has done the hard part by earning consistent minutes, now he just needs to trust himself to become a reliable scorer at this level. - Adam Taylor

Payton Pritchard: We all know that Payton Pritchard can light you up from deep, perhaps a little too deep sometimes. But teams are slowing scheming for Pritchard’s three-ball and making life more difficult for him on the perimeter. With his shooting mechanics, quick burst, and ball-handling skills, it makes sense that the second-year guard starts attacking defensive close-outs more which would allow him to penetrate. The reasons for this are two-fold, first it would allow Pritchard to diversify his offensive approach, which in turn begins to open his perimeter game back up, and second, additional passing opportunities will arise which can benefit his growth as a facilitator. Outside of his last few games, Pritchard has shown that he’s deserving of a bigger role within the rotation, and will likely put pressure on Dennis Schroder’s remaining time with the team, but if the sophomore guard wants to cement himself as the back-up guard, he’s going to need to offer more than just three-point shooting, and that will start with his ability to penetrate and get others involved. - Adam Taylor

Aaron Nesmith: We’ve all seen that Nesmith can shoot the ball effectively, and there are games when the kid gets hot from deep. But through 27 games this year, the second-year Celtic is shooting 23.8% from deep. He’s only hit multiple treys in a game on three occasions this year, a product of both his inconsistent stroke and minimal hold on minutes.There are plenty who are clamoring for more minutes for Nesmith on a team starving for 3-point threats. It’s almost like the chicken and the egg, though. What comes first, Nesmith making shots consistently or getting consistent playing time to make them in? Until he lives up to the billing with which he was drafted one year ago as a shooting specialist, it’s hard to trust him in the rotation. - Adam Spinella