With more minutes & confidence, Celtics Semi Ojeleye finding his shot
Under Brad Stevens, defense gets you on the floor and offense keeps you there. Celtics forward, and occasional center, Semi Ojeleye has averaged 15.5 minutes per game over the course of the season based on his superior defense. But his shooting has been tentative, erratic - and frankly - quite poor. The Terminator has averaged only 2.6 PPG on 34.1% from the field and 61% from the foul line.
Yesterday in the 112-106 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Ojeleye played 27 minutes and scored 13 points on 5/7 field-goal shooting, 3/3 on three-pointers, while grabbing 6 rebounds. His shooting percentages for the last three games show 57.1% on both field goals and threes and 100% on free throws.
Semi came into the League projected as a 3-and-D guy. The "D" has been there from the start and Stevens has even gone so far as to state that Ojeleye is an elite defender even in his rookie year. But the "3" specifically, and the offense generally, have not been there. And his rebounding was nothing to write home about. His per-36-minute numbers over the past three games project to 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds. Nothing earth-shaking but sufficient considering his lock-down defense.
Ojeleye is 23 years old and locked in on a very team-friendly contract for three more years. He goes from 1.3 million this year to 1.8 million in the fourth year, with next season only partially-guaranteed and the final two years non-guaranteed. With the Celtics team members resembling survivors of a natural disaster, he could be very valuable in the upcoming playoffs and future seasons. The rookie can shoot the ball (as in the video below). Hopefully, he just needed more minutes and increased confidence.