Romeo Langford has spent most of this season watching. Waiting. Wondering when he would get on the floor.
Most of Langford’s lack of playing time stemmed from a series of random injuries that derailed his growth and with that, opportunities to prove himself.
But in the latter stages of the Celtics’ season — prior to it being suspended on March 12 — Langford got some love from Brad Stevens in the form of playing time.
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Drafted by the Celtics with the 14th overall pick last year, Langford saw action in Boston’s last six games, and nine of the last 10. It was the most consistent stretch of playing time he had seen all season.
And while injuries certainly opened the door for him to see some action, it was Langford’s play — especially defensively — that endeared him to both Stevens and his teammates.
It was a 127-117 win in February at Minnesota that opened the eyes of many to how Langford’s best contributions at this point lie on the defensive end of the floor.
In that win, Langford defended 10 different Timberwolves players who were a combined 1-for-7 when he guarded them.
“They can try me; a lot of people try me,” Langford told NBC Sports Boston following the win. “It’s just funny to me. Because I know what I can do defensively.”
So does Stevens, who went almost exclusively with Langford after Jaylen Brown fouled out of the game. And when teams tried to go directly at Langford, Stevens didn’t adjust but instead allowed Langford the freedom and opportunity to hold his own.
To his credit, he was up to the challenge.
“When [teams] isolate him late, I feel really good about Romeo being isolated,” Stevens said at the time. “He’s got great length, great agility.”
But with the NBA restart and most of the Celtics at the top of their game health-wise, opportunities are likely to be few and far between for Langford. However, the Celtics now have the confidence knowing that if called upon, he’ll be ready to contribute defensively which is critical to Boston’s success.