5 Out podcast: Which Celtics rookie will have the greatest impact this season

Nick Friar
October 17, 2019 - 10:02 am
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The Celtics rookies have garnered attention since the day they were drafted, simply because Boston took four players in the 2019 NBA Draft. There’s also the addition of Max Strus and, of course, Tacko Fall.

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With the exception of Romeo Langford, the draft picks and the two undrafted signees have had multiple opportunities to carve out a spot for themselves this year.

In this week’s episode of 5 Out, we discussed which rookie will be most impactful:

Tremont Waters

He had a huge game against the Cavs in Cleveland. Even before the C’s embarrassed Jim Beilein’s team, Waters has shown how well he can run an offense. And he can shoot the three-ball, too.

“He’s a great on-the-ball defender, he’s just crafty,” 5 Out co-host Matt Medeiros said. “He just does stuff I think they need coming off the bench.

“He reminds me of, sort of, (Rajon) Rondo (as a rookie).”

Waters’ only drawback is his size. Working as a two-way player this year will allow him to show how he can make up for that one deficiency.

Carsen Edwards

With the way he’s shooting, Edwards has put himself at the top of the conversation for rookie most likely to contribute to the C’s in 2019-20. He can get going in a hurry. And if he’s on the floor for an extended period, Edwards can become a greater threat on offense.

However, he can be streaky. And his size is a bit of a problem on defense. Though, he does have a 6-foot-6 wingspan.

As a player coming off the bench, Edwards should be able to make an impact when Boston’s starters need a break in the middle of games.

Grant Williams

Right after the draft, Williams looked like the favorite to contribute right away.

There were questions about his offense, but his size and ability to impact the game without scoring make him an ideal role player.

His major obstacle is Semi Ojeleye. The third-year veteran hasn’t looked great in the preseason, but he should get more chances early in the year to take the role he or Williams could fill.

“In terms of year one production, I think (Williams is) most ready to do it,” 5 Out co-host Tyler Devitte said. “I would take Grant over Semi right now.”

Romeo Langford

We’ve seen so little from Langford, it’s hard to know what he’ll do this year. He’s good at getting to the rim and finishing, but he hasn’t been able to go through the same steps as his fellow rookies in preparation for real NBA games.

And Langford still has to improve his shot.

Tacko Fall

Fall will get called up to Boston a few times throughout 2019-20, like Waters, but there’s still a fair amount of development ahead of him. He may command two defenders in the post and can protect the rim, but his mobility on both ends of the floor is still an issue.

Max Strus

Strus is now battling for the final spot on the Celtics roster against Javonte Green after his two-way deal was turned into an NBA contract. He’s a shooter, but not much else at this point.

He probably won’t be of much help this year, but Strus may be worth the investment over Green because of how he moves without the ball. 

“If you need a guy just to come off a screen, Strus is that guy,” Devitte said. “He was one of the top guys in America (while at DePaul) in terms of coming off the screen and just getting a bucket.”

Medeiros agrees.

“I’d rather take a guy that’s a shooter, stretches the floor, can move around without the ball,” he said when weighing out Green versus Strus.

Edwards and Williams are the two most likely to contribute right now, with the slight edge going to the guard early in the season. Fall, Strus and Waters could help Boston down the line, but seem more like investments for next year and beyond. Langford could fall into either category — we just haven’t seen enough to know yet.