A question often pondered in Celtics circles over the past few months is "When will Romeo Langford finally play this season?" Now that Langford has played nine games this year for the C's, a new question must be asked: Can Langford play point guard? In last night's game against the Chicago Bulls, Celtics fans got to see Point Langford in full effect as both Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart were out due to non-COVID related illness.
Langford, or "Romey" as Danny Ainge referred to him on last night's broadcast, is listed at 6'4" and 216 pounds. His whole career, he's been listed as a shooting guard who is known for his defensive abilities and athletic potential instead of ball-handling and playmaking. With Walker, Smart, and rookie Payton Pritchard in the fold for the foreseeable future, it's unlikely Langford will be given full run at point guard for long stretches of time. However, last night's game showed improvement in Langford's development as a passer, and though he only finished with three assists in 21 minutes, it'll be exciting to watch his development over the remainder of the season.
He first demonstrates his ability to facilitate in the pick-and-roll with a sweet pass to big man Luke Kornet. His poise and patience are important here, and as a young player, it's promising when he doesn't force his shot after Thaddeus Young effectively blocks his path to the basket.
Later on, he again runs the pick-and-roll, this time with the newlacquireded Jabari Parker. Parker's finish is arguably prettier than the pass, and if you want to read about Parker, check out this article from Celtics Life's Zach Brassard. But back to Langford, he intelligently sees the overcommitment by two Bulls' defenders, and passes it off to the open man in Parker. Vision!
Langford's final assist of the night came off of a wide-open three from Jayson Tatum (which the Celtics did not provide a video clip of). Point Romeo was in full effect here, as he ran the offense and waited for the play to develop. Tatum attempted to get Parker open off a pick for an easy backdoor cut, but Bulls' Troy Brown Jr. is able to pick up Parker quickly. Thad Young was slow to react, which gave Tatum time to pop out for the easy three points. Point Romeo!
After the game, Brad Stevens revealed some interesting insight about how Langford may be used as a point guard in the future:
"We tried to play Romeo there a little bit. I don’t know if that’s in his wheelhouse yet, but he has to get to that point with his size and his ability to pass the ball...We’re going to avoid it as much as we can right now obviously, because he’s not used to it, he hasn’t played enough games to orchestrate and organize a group. We will eventually go to Evan Turner mode, I guess."
The possibility that Langford may eventually serve as an Evan Turner type of point guard is exciting. Turner is presently an assistant coach focusing on player development for the Celtics, so Langford has the opportunity to learn from the aforementioned man himself. Turner played some of the best basketball of his NBA career while playing under Stevens in Boston, so it should be interesting to see if Stevens can utilize Langford similarly in the future. For now, I'd consider "Point Romeo" to be more a "break glass in the case of an emergency option," but I'll still enjoy the highlights as they come.