Tacko Fall understands that some view him as more of a novelty act than a player with legitimate NBA potential.
And he's appreciative that the Boston Celtics don't view him that way.
The Celtics first signed Fall to an Exhibit 10 contract after he went undrafted last June and recently brought back the 7-foot-5 big man on a two-way contract. For Fall, it was an easy decision to return to the franchise that's supported him since day one.
"I’ve been fortunate to have been in an organization where they believe in me, first and foremost," Fall told reporters Sunday at the Auerbach Center, via Celtics.com. "Everybody believes in me here, so just being patient and knowing that all the hard work will pay off eventually. I think that’s pretty much the hardest part for me."
Fall played a total of 33 minutes over seven games at the NBA level in 2019-20, spending most of his rookie campaign with the Maine Red Claws of the G-League. The 25-year-old racked up 12.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game in Maine last season, but he won't get the same opportunity this year, as Boston won't participate in the proposed G-League "bubble."
That means Fall will need to show significant improvement if he wants to see more playing time in 2020-21. Daniel Theis, newcomer Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams and Robert Williams all are ahead of him on the frontcourt depth chart.
The NBA's tallest player has improved his conditioning this offseason, though, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens noted Sunday that Fall is "in good of shape as he’s been" since entering the league.
Fall knows he needs much more polish on both ends of the floor to be a legitimate contributor. But he's grateful to be back with a team that's enabled his growth.
"They took a chance on me last year where a lot of teams had a lot of question marks,” Fall added. “But they saw that I had a lot of potential. So you always want to go where you’re wanted.
"I know I’m wanted here. I know that they are going to help me develop my game, and they are going to utilize me the best possible way.”