After starting the season injured, Romeo Langford is now proving to be the missing piece the Boston Celtics have looked for.
Since bouncing back from his injuries from the start of the season, Romeo Langford has shown positive signs of being an important contributor for the Boston Celtics. His efforts will be even more needed during the second half of the season as the team is heading towards the playoffs.
The Celtics and their fans have been patiently waiting all season for Langford, the 14th overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft, to be healthy enough to make an impact on the season. With that being said, it only took him one game to show why the historic franchise took a chance on an injured 19-year-old freshman.
The rookie did just that in the team’s most recent game against the Atlanta Hawks when he logged in a career-high 16 points, five rebounds, three blocks and one steal in 29 minutes. Langford, surprisingly showcased himself to be an athletic two-way player, which is something the Celtics can truly benefit from.
After his career-high game as a professional against the Hawks, Langford expressed to Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com that he could always play defense and that Celtics head coach Brad Stevens expects all of his players to be able to do so.
“I felt like I’ve always played defense, it’s just a matter of doing it. Coach Stevens tells us young players that the way we get on the court is with defense, and him trusting us in the defensive end. That’s what I work on, as well as my shooting.” – Romeo Langford, per Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com
We all knew the efficacy of Langford’s offensive game, that’s what made him a high draft choice to begin with. But now that he has shown to be an adequate defender, he’s now going to be required to add that element of his game to his everyday arsenal.
Langford has slowly made the transition from bench player to role player and it couldn’t have come at a better time than right before the second half of the season. He’s very instinctive on both ends of the court and it’s becoming more noticeable with every opportunity he’s been given during his first NBA season.
In only 19 games and 10 minutes per outing this season, Langford is averaging three points per game while shooting a modest 45.2-percent from the field. He has connected on 19 of his 42 total shots, and in my humble opinion, Langford has one of the smoothest shooting motions on the team; something he’s noticeably worked hard on in the gym.
Langford has treated his time on the Celtics (and in the NBA) almost like an apprenticeship and has essentially been able to “learn on the job” even while he was injured and just sitting on the bench.
“Even though I haven’t been playing, I’ve still been learning the sets, and I’m not a step behind just because I wasn’t able to play. I was paying attention and able to learn.” – Romeo Langford, per Mike D’Amico of Celtics.com
It’s also worth mentioning that the Boston Celtics didn’t make any moves prior to the trade deadline because they believe in what they see out of Langford on a day-to-day basis during practices and workouts. The entire team sees him as a contributor down the stretch of the season.
Coach Stevens has praised the hard work of assistant coach, Joe Mazzulla, and Langford in preparation for games. The two have gone over both offensive and defensive sets hours before the game even starts.
With exception to the center position, the rookie wing-man has the size and skills to hold his own and defend all four positions on the floor. Langford is finally transforming into the contributor the Boston Celtics thought he would be when they drafted him.