Having played sparingly as a rookie last season with the Celtics, one wouldn’t hold it against Brad Wanamaker if he decided to take his game back overseas.
A 29-year-old rookie last season, Wanamaker was used sparingly in large part because the two guys ahead of him, Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier, did what most guys in contract years do — stay healthy and play a lot of minutes.
Now, with Irving and Rozier having moved on to Brooklyn and Charlotte, an opportunity for an increased role is there for Wanamaker, who admits the lack of playing time last season left a bad taste in his mouth, and it's part of what has fueled his return.
“I want to show that I can play with this team and on this level, and be a rotation guy,” he said
It’s a successful season for Wanamaker if…
...he cracks the regular playing rotation and finds himself playing decent minutes behind Kemba Walker. Now we know that Walker is going to log most of the minutes, but there is a chance that this might be the year of load management for Walker. The three-time All-Star has been an iron man among players in the NBA, having missed a total of just six games in the last four seasons.
However, he did miss a preseason game to rest his sore left knee, the same knee that Walker had a pair of surgical procedures performed on while he played with Charlotte.
Less Walker could mean more opportunities for Wanamaker, who seemingly made the most of his limited opportunities last season when he shot 47.6 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from 3-point range. And in the preseason, he has more than held his own in running the team as well as playing solid defense — two pillars for success as a backup point guard in the NBA.
It’s a disappointing season for Wanamaker if…
...this season looks anything like last season when Wanamaker appeared in 36 games while averaging 3.9 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists while logging just 9.5 minutes per game. More than the minutes played, Wanamaker is seeking an opportunity to simply be on the floor more often. If that doesn’t happen, it will likely be because of the Celtics looking to rely on the versatility of their core of Walker and Marcus Smart as well as Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to facilitate the offense. Or, it could be Wanamaker being beaten out for minutes by rookie second-round pick Carsen Edwards.
The one thing the Celtics like about Wanamaker is no matter how big or small his role may be, his play is consistently solid. Still, like last season, Wanamaker will again struggle to find quality minutes. It’s clear looking at how the Celtics’ rotation is shaping up that they will need a perimeter scorer coming off the bench. Thus far in the preseason, that job likely will go to rookie Edwards, who has shown the potential to be a lethal catch-and-shoot scorer from beyond 3-point range. And if that’s the direction Boston goes, Wanamaker will find himself in a similar predicament as he was last season as he searches for playing time.
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