The Boston Celtics will need some of their younger players to step up and play a more meaningful role this season if the team is going to get over the hump and reach the NBA Finals.
One of the candidates to make a leap during the 2020-21 campaign is shooting guard Romeo Langford.
Injuries limited Langford to just 32 regular season games and only seven playoff matchups. Langford had surgery on his right wrist in September, and while his recovery is going well, he's still not able to do much with his shooting hand.
“I can basically work on anything I want, just not using my right hand,” Langford told reporters in a video press conference Wednesday, per Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I do cardio. I lift weights. My upper body is all left-hand oriented, but really just working on my legs, left-handed basketball workouts. Really I can do just about anything, I’m just not using my right hand when I’m doing those things.”
The Celtics selected Langford with the No. 14 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He averaged 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in his limited action off the C's bench as a rookie.
Despite Langford's rough luck with injuries, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens thinks the University of Indiana product will have a long career.
“I think Romeo is going to be an NBA player for a long time,” Stevens said in a Wednesday video press conference. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. He’s got a great feel. He’s got great athleticism. He knows the game, he works at the game, he’s a very good worker. So, I think about it more in terms of he’s just missing half of his second season, or whatever it is, and I think that that’s hard when you already went through injuries as a rookie.
“You know, he pulled his hamstring a minute into the stint versus Miami (in the Eastern Conference Finals), so like, that’s frustrating. But as far as big-picture, long-term, I would venture to guess that he’s going to have a long career based off who he is, his work ethic, and his ability.”
Langford has the potential to be a quality wing defender and a good outside shooter -- two ideal skills in the modern NBA. If Langford can stay healthy after his next return to the lineup, it's possible he could make an impact in his sophomore season.
The rest of the Celtics are set to return to game action Dec. 15 in their first preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Boston begins its regular season schedule Dec. 23 versus the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden.