LAS VEGAS – Semi Ojeleye is aware that most of the time when he’s on the floor, there’s likely to be at least two or three players who shoot the ball better than he does.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t at least be an offensive threat, which has been a focus of his throughout most of Summer League play.
Ojeleye acknowledged that improving his shooting mechanics has indeed been at the top of his need-to-improve list.
And while the three Summer League games Boston (2-1) has played are indeed a small sample size, it’s clear that Ojeleye is showing clear signs of being a better player offensively now than he was this past season.
In Boston's three Summer League games, Ojeleye has averaged 10.7 points while shooting 43 percent from the field along with 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
“I’m just trying to be more of a threat on offense,” Ojeleye told NBC Sports Boston. “I realize that’s one thing I can do to take a step forward going into next season. Just attacking more, making good decisions.”
Even when he’s not scoring, Ojeleye wants to at least be considered a threat.
One of the first things he has done has been to work on improving his mechanics.
Prior to Summer League, Ojeleye said he spent time working with Los Angeles-based NBA basketball skills coach Drew Hanlen, who has worked on improving the shooting of some of the league’s top players.
Among his lengthy list of NBA clients are Washington’s Bradley Beal, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland’s Jordan Clarkson.
Ojeleye's biggest problem last season was that he shot the ball rather flat, so getting more lift on his shot has been a point of emphasis.
In addition to working with Hanlen (something Ojeleye said he did before Summer League and will reunite with Hanlen afterwards), Ojeleye said he has also spent time working with Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison.
Morrison said a key emphasis when it comes to Ojeleye’s improved shooting has been him making sure he gets his elbow under the ball more.
“He’s better, but he needs to keep working on it,” Morrison said. “I was happy with his shooting when he came back (for Summer League).”
In addition to better mechanics on his shot, Ojeleye has also looked to beat players off the dribble more and finish at the rim.
“He’s trying to push himself, do some things that he didn’t necessarily do in the regular season,” Morrison said. “Doing more stuff out of pick and rolls and making reads off his drive is something he’s worked on.”
And that work, Ojeleye believes, will pay off in having an even better season than he had as a rookie.
“It’s all about staying ready,” he said. “All season, you never really knew when your opportunity would come but you still had to stay ready, and that’s what I tried to do. I try to approach every day to get better, do what I have to do from sun-up to sun-down to be better. So, when the opportunity came (last season) I tried to maximize it. Same thing this offseason; just try to maximize opportunities from sun-up to sun-down.”