Celtics Spotlight: Can Brad Wanamaker carve out a bigger role in his second season?

Celtics Spotlight: Can Brad Wanamaker carve out a bigger role in his second season?

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. 

Spotlights: Walker | Smart | Brown | Hayward | Kanter | Tatum | Fall

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. 

2019-2020 Outlook

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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Tremont Waters, Carsen Edwards carry Red Claws in win over Drive

Tremont Waters, Carsen Edwards carry Red Claws in win over Drive

Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards, Tremont Waters, and Romeo Langford all were in action for the Maine Red Claws again on Sunday vs. the Grand Rapids Drive.

Here's how all four C's rookies fared in Maine's 108-103 victory:


It was another quiet night for Fall, who contributed 6 points (2-for-5 shooting), 4 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 21 minutes.

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Edwards was one of the Red Claws' standout players in this one as the C's No. 33 overall pick had 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting (4-of-8 from 3). He also added 6 steals and 5 assists in his second game with Maine.


Langford played 19 minutes but didn't make much of an impact as he recorded 0 points (0-for-5 shooting) and turned the ball over four times. The Indiana product did, however, notch 2 blocks and 2 steals.


Waters starred alongside Edwards with 28 points (6-of-11), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. The G League Player of the Month for November continues to thrive as Maine's most consistent player.

Also with standout performances were Kaiser Gates (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Yante Maten (8 points, 13 rebounds).

Next, the Red Claws will visit the Canton Charge on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

NBA Rumors: Should Celtics consider trading any offseason additions?

NBA Rumors: Should Celtics consider trading any offseason additions?

When the Boston Celtics signed players during the offseason, the intent was for them to be around for at least one season. 

Now that December 15 has arrived, the first day players signed in the offseason can be moved, let’s just say the handful of players inked by the Celtics aren’t losing any sleep at the moment. 

That’s because the Celtics are like most teams who certainly enjoy the option of potentially moving on from what may have been a bad offseason signing, but more likely than not are not willing to pull the plug just yet. 

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Still, it’s worth taking inventory of how the Celtics’ offseason signees have fared thus far, and assess whether between now and the trade deadline if they should buy or sell the idea of keeping these players still in the fold. 

Kemba Walker

Contract: Four years, $140.8 million

Key stats: 23.1 points. 4.2 rebounds. 5.3 assists

Walker has been more than just Boston’s top scorer this season. He has brought about a brand of leadership that this group needs in order for them — more nights than not — to be the best basketball versions of themselves. 

Take into account his durability — he’s missed seven games in the last four-plus seasons — coupled with his shot-making in the latter stages of games and you have a player who's absolutely essential to this team’s success, particularly when it’s defined by deep playoff runs. 

Buy or sell the idea of keeping Walker? BUY 

Daniel Theis

Contract: Two-years, $10 million.

Key per-game stats: 7.4 points. 6.3 rebounds. 1.5 blocks.

In what began as a crowded frontcourt of bigs, Daniel Theis has emerged as the clear-cut leader at the center position. While undersized most games, the 6-foot-8 Theis has utilized his quickness around the rim, defensive instincts, and lessons learned from ex-Celtics Al Horford and Aron Baynes to keep Boston’s defense from taking the kind of defensive nose-dive many predicted with the Celtics' defensive rating (104.1) currently eighth in the NBA. 

Among starting centers to appear in at least 20 games this season while defending at least 10 shots per game, Theis ranks fifth while limiting players he defends to shooting 43.4 percent from the field. 

Throw in the fact that he’s becoming more of a three-point threat lately (He’s 5-for-8 from 3-point range in December), Theis has shown himself to be an important cog in Boston’s overall success this season.

Buy or sell the idea of keeping Theis? BUY

Enes Kanter

Contract: Two years, $9.8 million

Key per-game stats: 7.9 points. 6.0 rebounds. 1.1 assists

The thinking at the time of the signing was that Kanter was coming in to be the team’s starting center. That is how the season began, but injuries limited his impact and in doing so, opened the door for Daniel Theis to emerge as the team’s best option at center. 

But the ailments that limited Kanter the first few weeks of the season are starting to fade away, replaced by the kind of offensive consistency the Celtics were hoping for this season. 

He is coming off his best game as a Celtic after tallying a near double-double of 20 points and nine rebounds against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers, which included him hauling in three boards on the offensive glass — an area in which Boston has struggled mightily in recent years. 

Boston is currently 14th in the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (10.3), after having finished in the bottom-10 each of the three previous seasons. 

As long as he’s relatively healthy, Kanter is giving Boston exactly what it wants and needs in order to compete with the top teams in the East, doing so on a very team-friendly contract. 

Buy or sell the idea of keeping Kanter? BUY

Brad Wanamaker

Contract: One year, $1.4 million

Key per-game stats: 7.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists.

Wanamaker isn’t going anywhere unless he agrees to be traded, which is one of the perks that comes with signing a one-year deal with the team you played for the previous season. 

But even if Wanamaker didn’t have that leverage, it’s highly unlikely the Celtics would look to move on from him at this point in time. Among the team’s reserves, Wanamaker has been the most consistent backup guard of the bunch. He understands what head coach Brad Stevens is looking for in terms of running the team, gaining the trust of the entire coaching staff as well as his teammates, by being a consistent presence at both ends of the floor. 

In addition, Wanamaker is more comfortable now looking for his own offense, which is a good thing when you consider he shot 41 percent from 3-point range last season as a rookie and is doing pretty much the same now (he’s at 40 percent on 3’s) albeit with more attempts. 

When you look at all the offensive options this team has to turn to when they are at full strength, having a player like Wanamaker who can knock down shots consistently but doesn’t need or desire a ton of shots night-in, night-out, is a luxury for the Celtics. 

Buy or sell the idea of keeping Wanamaker? BUY

Javonte Green

Contract: Two years, $2.4 million

Key per-game stats: 2.6 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.2 assists.

Javonte Green was the feel-good story of the summer for the Boston Celtics, a summer league invitee who wowed audiences with his above-the-rim theatrics and overall knack for getting buckets which earned him an invite to training camp and afterwards, the coveted 15th roster spot.

There’s no denying his talent, but it’s still too soon to know if he’ll stick around or not. 

His contract becomes fully guaranteed if he’s not waived prior to January 10.

And at 6-4, Green plays a position (wing) where the Celtics are extremely deep this season. 

So as much as Celtics fans are cheering for Boston’s current allotment of big men to keep playing well, Green is likely to be doing the same. 

Because if they start to struggle and a decent big becomes available via the waiver wire between now and January, Green’s time with the Celtics will likely come to a sooner-than-expected end. 

And with Robert Williams III having hip issues, Boston may not wait to try and add size if they sense that Williams’ injury will be a long-term setback. 

Buy or sell the idea of keeping Green? SELL

Vincent Poirier

Contract: Two years, $5.1 million

Key per-game stats: 1.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists

The lone international signing by the Celtics this past offseason, it has been a struggle for Vincent Poirier to get on the floor after having appeared in just nine games thus far.

But in those brief moments on the floor, it’s clear why the Celtics like him so much. 

He’s a big, strong center who can be physical but also has a decent touch around the rim. 

But like most rookies, he makes his share of assignment-related miscues that to a certain extent factor into why he doesn’t play more minutes. 

However, the hip issues affecting Robert Williams III could open the door for more playing time in the near future for Poirier. 

Regardless, the Celtics didn’t sign him with the intent of this being a make-or-break season. 

The two-year deal Boston signed him to is in line with what a late first-round pick (in the early 20s) would be making, the kind of player who you don’t anticipate being a significant contributor from Day One. 

But with his size and proven track record overseas, it’s highly unlikely the Celtics are ready to move on from him just yet. 

Buy or sell the idea of keeping Poirier? BUY

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