Basketball

Making the Case for an Aaron Nesmith Breakout Season

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After being drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 14th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Aaron Nesmith had an up-and-down rookie season. In 46 games, Nesmith averaged 4.7 points and grabbed 2.8 rebounds per game on 44% shooting from the floor and 37% shooting from three. Despite a lackluster statline, Nesmith’s contributions on the floor increased greatly as the season progressed. 

Nesmith started the season slow, only playing single digit minutes for the first month of the season before working into a larger role. Once he locked down his role, Nesmith showed his elite upside as a defender and shooter in the Celtics offense. Former Head Coach Brad Stevens would often throw him in to spark a run, thanks to his high energy on both ends of the court. Nesmith had a solid rookie campaign, but what’s in store for him in year two?

Why Will Nesmith Break Out in the 2021-22 season?

The Celtics made several big moves this offseason, adding Al Horford and Enes Kanter in the frontcourt, and Josh Richardson and Dennis Schroder in the backcourt. While all these players are great additions, the Celtics still have a gaping hole at the forward position due to Evan Fournier leaving for the New York Knicks in free agency. As a result, Nesmith is the perfect candidate to take over Fournier’s role in the offense and become a massive contributor in his sophomore season.

Last season, Nesmith ranked 11th on the Celtics roster in minutes per game (14) and 15th in usage percentage (13% ). He will likely come off the bench, however, Fournier’s absence will allow Nesmith to increase his minutes per game to around 30 and usage percentage to around 18%. In the two games he received over 30 minutes in 2021, Nesmith averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. 

Nesmith should hover around this level of production over the course of the season. With solid defense to stay on the court in tight games, elite shooting from outside, and a long athletic frame, Nesmith will break out in the 2021-22 NBA season and prove to be a major contributor for a championship contending team.


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