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Putting Nesmith in perspective



By LarBrd33

Note: We discussed a lot of this in the most recent episode of The Celtics Reddit Podcast.

I believe Buddy Hield is available. I believe his shooting could help us... though his defense, contract, and personality might be a problem. We'll continue to see his name floated as a TPE option as we continue to spend the early part of this year in showcase season.

Certainly, some fans are concerned about Aaron Nesmith. Our own Zach Brassard just wrote an excellent piece on Aaron Nesmith looking lost in limited minutes so far in Boston. The whole point of spending a lottery pick on this kid was that he was widely seen as "the best shooter in College basketball". We need someone to consistently spread the floor for Brown and Tatum as kick-out options. Often compared to Buddy Hield, the hope was that Nesmith could be our home-grown version on a rookie-scale contract. Him coming out of the gate shooting 2-9 from three in 39 minutes of action isn't that encouraging.

Let's actually go through the exercise of comparing them as a means of "Putting Nesmith in perspective".

I mean let's get real... if you were to compare 21 year old Aaron Nesmith to 21 year old Buddy Hield, it's pretty laughable. 21 year old Buddy Hield was a College Freshman averaging 7.8 points on 38% shooting with 23.8% from three.

Buddy didn't even enter the league until he was 24 years old, having spent 4 years playing College ball and having used those key years of development to go from a scrub who averaged 7 points on poor shooting, to an NCAA star who averaged 25 points on 50%/46%/88% as a Senior.

Aaron Nesmith, similarly, is coming off a solid Sophomore College season in which he averaged 23 points on 51%/50%/83% shooting (for reference, Hield averaged 16.5 on 45%/39%/75% as a Sophomore).

So Nesmith is 3 years younger and far less experienced than Buddy was stepping into the league. As many have mentioned, due to COVID, Nesmith didn't have a Summer League, the team had a shortened training camp, a shortened pre-season, and minimal practice time. He's getting thrown to the wolves having not really played major competitive basketball in nearly a year.

Still, let's see what old man Buddy Hield did in his first NBA minutes:

Hield's first 3 NBA games he was dreadful. He shot 5-24 overall (20%) and 0-8 from three in 51 minutes of action.

Compare that to Nesmith's who has played a mere 39 minutes in his first 3 brief appearances, and has shot 3-12 with 2-9 from three. Look, it's not great... but it's certainly better than Grandpa Hield did in those first NBA minutes.

It didn't get much better for Hield. Over his next month of NBA basketball as a rookie, Hield had 16 appearances (264 total minutes), and went 18-68 from three. That put his grand total over his first 19 games (317 minutes) to 18-76 from three = 23.6%.

Yikes.

At this point in time, plenty of people were called Buddy a bust. He looked like he couldn't shoot at all. Dude was total trash.

Hield really didn't start to turn the corner until 21 games into his season when he finally had a decent performance. Funny thing is, by the end of the Year, Hield was averaging 10 points with a blistering 39% from three.

Will Nesmith follow that example and slot into a huge role by the end of the year? Who knows. But it's certainly worth keeping in mind. I'd suggest having patience. I hope to see Brad force him some minutes so he can get comfortable with the speed of our offense/defense. My guess is those shots will eventually start to fall for him. Remember, just last year Grant Williams missed his first 25 three point attempts. So far this year Grant's actually shooting an impressive 40% from deep. Give this stuff some time.

LarBrd33 is a life-long Celtic fanatic who has contributed to CLNS, CelticsBlog, and CelticsLife. He currently co-hosts the “Celtics Reddit Podcast”. You can find more of his dumb takes via twitter @LarBrd33, via Reddit as u/LarBrd33, or via the weird Celtic videos he posts on his YouTube channel.

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