Nesmith spent his first two NBA seasons in Boston, where he didn’t see much opportunity. He averaged just 12.7 minutes per game in 98 total appearances for the Cs. In those short minutes, the 23-year-old tallied 4.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per contest while shooting 41.7% from the field and 31.8% from long range.
Since being traded away in the Malcolm Brogdon deal last summer, Crash has been able to find himself a more solidified role with Indiana. Last season, Nesmith’s minutes jumped up to 24.9 per game and his stats followed suit. His scoring average rose to 10.1 points per game, while he shot 42.7% overall and 36.6% from deep.
In Boston, the minutes were never going to be there considering how much talent the Celtics had ahead of him at the forward spot. Other young Cs have suffered the same fate at times. Just look at Payton Pritchard, Nesmith’s 2020 draft classmate.
Pritchard just spent an entire season looking on from the Celtics’ bench as Brogdon, Marcus Smart, and Derrick White ate up the bulk of the minutes at the guard spot in 2022-23. Fast PP played a career-low in minutes at just 13.4 per game, and the same can be said for his appearances in general as he suited up just 48 times last year.
After a summer of wheeling and dealing, Boston’s guard rotation got better — but also more thin, making room for more Pritchard minutes. Throughout the preseason, the 25-year-old took full advantage of the extra time and lit opposing defenses on fire. His early scoring outbursts made him a prominent storyline throughout the Celtics’ five-game exhibition slate and have left fans eager to see more in the regular season.
Other recent Celtics draftees like Grant Williams and Romeo Langford have suffered from the “not getting enough time to show what they’ve got” scenario in Boston — at least for a little bit.
Williams is a tough sell on this one since he did play a solid role during his time here. But, there were certainly times when he was left as the odd man out under all of Brad Stevens, Ime Udoka, and Joe Mazzulla. Had he stuck around past this summer, he certainly would’ve been trapped on the bench with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis.
As for Langford, he didn’t see much run with the Celtics at all. He was eventually traded to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the deal that brought Derrick White to town but wasn’t able to thrive under Gregg Popovic. Langford reunited with Danny Ainge in Utah this offseason, only to be waived before training camp.
Keeping a pro-career afloat while being glued to the bench isn’t easy, but it’s nice to see three-of-the-last four Celtics first-round picks doing a solid job and getting themselves paid.