Guerschon Yabusele - how, when & where does Brad Stevens use him
There are certain players that come into the NBA and coaches and fans have no idea just what position or role they would play. Westley Unseld and Charles Barkley are two such examples. Unseld was listed at 6'7" but was closer to 6'5.5" and played center - and did it well. Barkley was a bulky, 6'5" "tweener" and thrived in the League.
Guerschon Yabusele is in that same category. So how does he fit with the Celtics? Or does he fit at all? I have previously written that Yabu is one of the few individuals where I can say he needs to lose both muscle and body fat - but he handles that extra weight very well as things stand right now.
Last night against the New York Knicks Summer League entry, Guersch played a team-high 29 minutes and had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Coach Jay Larranaga has been using Yabu on offense at the high post, and he does nicely there.
He has three assists, and they were all perfect passes to teammates that he made from the area of the 3-point arc. His deliver is excellent. He also has the ability to drive to the hoop from outside and finish. Honestly, it looks like his defenders want no part of attempting to pick up a charge. He's just so damned big. His passes and drives, including one full-court gem with a nice finish, can be seen on the video below.
Guerschon Yabusele on pulling the team together for the final mins: “I was trying to settle the guys down and tell them that we needed to play the way we know we can play.” He has shown such leadership during consecutive games now.
His inside game needs work. He does not have Larry Bird-like hands and it seems he gets lost on offense under the hoop. So for the time being, his best location on the court, both on offense and defense, is out past the foul line. He does have the ability to move well, even against the smaller opponents. Commentators often use the word "nimble" to describe his movements. And no opponent is going to be able to move him off a screen.
Yabu played 33 games with the Celtics last season, and his per-36-minute stats tell us quite a bit. They project to 12.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.5 APG. The numbers show he is not turnover-prone (1.8 TO/36 minutes) or foul-prone (3.5 F/36 minutes). His free-throw shooting needs improvement, but at 68%, it is not awful. It would not preclude him from finishing close games.
It looks like Guersch may end up at both the four and five spots on the floor. His minutes will be limited this season, and he needs to join the G-League crew often to get sufficient floor time. He needs to play at roughly 250 pounds and 6% body fat, and the Celtics staff will work with him on his nutrition. Lebron James at 6'8" plays at 260 pounds and an estimated 5-7% body fat. To play at peak performance, Yabu needs to be in that vicinity.
I have conducted roughly 45 12-week fitness challenges, and I have found that men can cut their body fat in half in that time span. And by coincidence, there are about 12 weeks remaining until the beginning of the regular season. We are looking at a terrific young man away from his home country of France, and it is vital for him to remain in the NBA, preferably with his teammates on the Celtics. He has a role on the Celtics. We have a good idea what it is. Brad Stevens will make sure it is the right one.
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Photo via Christopher Evans/Boston Herald
Video via Tomasz Korylewski