Celtics

Jerry Stackhouse has high expectations for C's rookie Aaron Nesmith

Celtics

When Aaron Nesmith was selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, many considered the sharpshooter to be the "perfect fit" for the Boston Celtics.

However, it took a while for Nesmith to find his bearings in the NBA. The 3-ball he was known for at Vanderbilt wasn't falling in the early part of the season and he sometimes looked lost on the defensive end.

But with more playing time, Nesmith has made some real strides The 21-year-old has shown his defensive upside over the last month and recently notched a career-high 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting vs. the Atlanta Hawks.

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His former head coach at Vanderbilt, Jerry Stackhouse, expects that positive trend to continue.

"I think for Aaron it was just about kind of learning the system, understanding everything that was going on on both ends of the floor ... understanding how to play with other superstars," Stackhouse told NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg. "You're not just playing with a couple of All-Stars, these are superstar level guys with [Jayson] Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

"I just think he's one of those sponges. He's probably put a ton of pressure on himself being a lottery pick and not playing a ton early on, so he wants to try to prove to everybody in Boston that they made the right decision, so you guys got that working for you as a Boston fan that this kid is going to continue to try to prove everybody that he belongs where he is, and I think that's going to allow him to flourish and become who he needs to be for them."

 

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It's clear Nesmith is still learning the ropes, but Stackhouse believes big things are coming for the C's when the rookie gets into a groove.

"They got a steal, man," he said. "The character and what he's going to bring to them on the court, it's going to be special. Once he gets it, look out. He's going to do everything he can to stay there."

Between Nesmith and fellow rookie Payton Pritchard -- plus young superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, of course -- the future is looking bright for Boston. If Nesmith continues to see an uptick in minutes, expect him to be a key player for the Celtics' second unit down the stretch.