Even Boston Celtics players admit they’ve caught Tacko Fever.
“I can’t lie, I like to see Tacko [Fall],” said Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown. “It’s hard not to [root for him]. I think he can really play. … I think Tacko is a pro and I think he works hard. I enjoy watching him play because he’s a great guy, fun to be around, great personality, super smart and intelligent, and articulates very well. Tacko is my guy.”
Brown had been gushing about Boston’s entire rookie class but saved some of his biggest praise for Fall, the 7-foot-7 behemoth who recently earned a 2-way contract with the Celtics after becoming one of the NBA’s biggest stories with his play at summer league.
Fall will get to spend 45 days with the Celtics and the rest of his time with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League, where a mountain of game reps await a mountain of a man.
Brown seems certain Fall will be a full-time NBA player sooner than later. Fall’s teammates have seen how hard he works in training camp, how much progress he’s made in just four months since somehow going undrafted.
It’s why players like Brown have fully embraced TackoMania and are as excited to see Fall get into the fourth quarter of a preseason game as the fans who spent the first 3 ½ quarters chanting for him.
It’s a successful season for Fall if…
… he uses his G-League time to advance his game. He’ll be the developmental league’s glitziest attraction but will still have the opportunity to expand his skills outside the harsh NBA spotlight. Fall can make mistakes and grow without being overly scrutinized. The Celtics can pull him up for roughly a quarter of the NBA season and either utilize him as emergency big-man depth or simply allow him to get a taste of the pro experience. It’s a successful season if fans are still chanting for a tiny glimpse of Tacko in lopsided NBA games in April.
It’s a disappointing season for Fall if…
… his progress flat lines. It seems almost impossible that will happen considering his work ethic, but there’s still so much Fall must learn and develop to emerge as a legitimate NBA rotation player. The potential is tantalizing but Fall must continue to grind to get to the point where he can hang with NBA-caliber bigs on a nightly basis.
By simply forcing Boston to make roster moves to keep him around, this season is already a victory for Fall. He’s going to be the biggest celebrity the G-League has seen and make the now-Celtics-owned Red Claws the hottest minor league ticket around. That notoriety is good for Fall but his teammates have stressed to him to stay focused on basketball. If he continues to blossom, Fall will position himself for a lengthy NBA career. For everyone in New England with Tacko Fever, it’s a victory that we get to monitor that progress for at least six more months.
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