Celtics Offseason Preview Series: The Two-Way Free Agents: Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters


Two-Manner gamers have been part of the NBA for 4 seasons. The Boston Celtics first two gamers signed to such a contract had been Kadeem Allen and Jabari Fowl in 2017-18. The following 12 months noticed P.J. Dozier and Walt Lemon Jr. for a number of the 12 months, earlier than previous good friend R.J. Hunter got here again to Boston to complete out the 2018-19 season.

The final two seasons Boston has stuffed their two Two-Manner spots with Tacko Fall and Tremont Waters. Fall signed on after a formidable Summer season League run in 2019, whereas Waters was chosen within the second spherical of the 2019 NBA Draft with a Two-Manner contract in thoughts. With issues unsure heading into the 2020-21 season, and after a brief offseason, each Fall and Waters re-upped for second years with the Celtics.

After Boston selected to shutter the Maine Crimson Claws (now the Maine Celtics) for final season, each Fall and Waters spent the whole lot of their seasons with the Celtics. This offers each gamers, in addition to Brad Stevens all of the historical past they should resolve if an unprecedented third season as Two-Manner gamers is within the playing cards.

Photograph by Maddie Meyer/Getty Photos

Let’s begin with the fan favourite in Fall. The 7’5’’ heart has proven enchancment whereas within the NBA. His second-year stats dropped a bit, however that’s as a result of Fall sometimes performed actual minutes for the Celtics vs solely enjoying in rubbish time.

Let’s begin with the offensive fundamentals for Fall. He doesn’t have any form of offensive sport outdoors of the paint space. He took precisely one shot outdoors of the paint. Hilariously, Fall made that shot, lacking out on three-pointer solely by advantage of his huge shoe measurement.

On the flip aspect, Fall has proven some capability to fluctuate his offensive sport. In his rookie season, Fall was restricted to catch-and-dunk alternatives off passes or offensive rebounds. He’s proven some capability to make use of a jump-hook. He’s additionally grow to be higher as a roll-man. This play from the common season finale sees Waters miss Fall on the roll, and Fall really cleans up an offensive rebound. Nevertheless, this would possibly as nicely have been a pick-and-roll, the place Fall caught the ball on the transfer and completed:

In a sport a few weeks earlier in opposition to the Orlando Magic, Fall confirmed he’s acquired some ability to dribble himself into an honest shot too. Sure, this sport is a blowout. However Fall continues to be going in opposition to a top-five choose in Mo Bamba right here. This can be a strong, affected person transfer:

What ought to actually get Celtics followers excited was Fall’s play in an early-season sport in opposition to the Washington Wizards. As a result of Boston was down so many gamers on account of accidents and sicknesses, Fall performed a career-high 19:10 on this sport. He completed with 4 factors, seven rebounds and 4 blocks. Most significantly, for the primary time ever, Fall regarded like an NBA participant vs a sideshow act. Courtesy of Celtics spotlight maven Tomasz Kordylewski, right here’s an entire take a look at Fall’s huge day in opposition to Washington:

Whereas these highlights are all enjoyable, and Fall has improved, 169 NBA minutes nonetheless don’t inform us a lot. Past the Washington sport, the handful of occasions Fall has been given actual minutes haven’t gone all that nice. For instance, Stevens threw him in opposition to Joel Embiid briefly and Embiid was capable of physique Fall to get proper to the basket.

Fall’s one season with Maine advised a considerably comparable story to his time in Boston. He’ll block photographs, as a result of he’s surprisingly agile for somebody so extremely massive. He grabs his fair proportion of rebounds, however needs to be higher for somebody who’s 7’5’’. As a result of he’s so skinny, it’s simple for opponents to root Fall out of his house. That reveals up totally on the glass. Offensively, every little thing stays a significant work in progress, even when there are indicators of enchancment.

The place does that depart the workforce with Fall? He’s probably the most well-liked gamers within the locker room. Each Celtic participant, coach and staffer loves him. Not simply due to the enjoyable related to having him round both. Fall is an extremely arduous employee and he’s very coachable. As well as, he’s extraordinarily clever and insightful.

His continued enchancment, together with constructive locker room presence, would appear to bode nicely for his alternative to return to Boston. What works in opposition to him is that there’s nonetheless a really lengthy method to go earlier than Fall generally is a common rotation participant. He wants at the very least one other 12 months of growth within the G League. The problem there may be that Fall might be 26 pretty early within the 2021-22 season. That’s beginning to rise up there in age for a developmental prospect.

The guess right here is that the Celtics have seen sufficient to carry Fall again for yet one more run on a Two-Manner contract, however provided that they filter a number of the heart logjam. If the workforce enters the season with Al Horford, Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Moses Brown on the roster as heart choices, it wouldn’t be sensible to dedicate one other spot to Fall. If a number of of these gamers is moved, anticipate Fall to be again.

Boston Celtics v Minnesota Timberwolves

Photograph by David Sherman/NBAE through Getty Photos

Tremont Waters is in a little bit of a special state of affairs than Fall. And never simply because he’s a foot-and-half shorter. Waters additionally two years youthful than Fall and got here in with extra expectations, on account of his standing a second-round choose. Waters has additionally seen extra of an opportunity within the NBA than Fall, and we’ve extra to go off of.

It’s that final half that’s beginning to work in opposition to Waters some. With Fall there stays some thriller about what he might grow to be. With Waters, it looks like we’re getting in the direction of completed product standing. And that completed product doesn’t look nearly as good as as soon as hoped for.

To be honest, Waters improved in his second season. He shot 39.5% from behind the arc, which is an improve on his 34% capturing whereas at LSU and the 35.4% he shot with Maine in 2019-20. It’s a small pattern measurement (solely 38 three-point makes an attempt), however it’s enchancment nonetheless.

One other factor working in opposition to Waters is that we’ve seen him play some actual minutes for the Celtics now. The place Fall has seen little or no alternative outdoors of rubbish time, Waters has seen some significant minutes, together with 4 profession begins.

Three of these begins got here in 2020-21, as Boston battled accidents and labored Kemba Walker again into the rotation slowly. Waters began video games in opposition to the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston went 2-1 in these video games, however Waters struggled to seek out his shot.

As a starter, Waters performed 23.9 minutes per sport. He shot simply 29.2% total and 18.2% from behind the arc in these video games. He additionally struggled mightily on the defensive finish, as opponents focused him usually.

Waters’ stats in his one full G League season had been fairly good. He began in all 36 video games he performed and averaged 18 factors (on 43/35/78 capturing splits), 7.3 assists, 1.9 steals in 33.8 minutes per sport. These stats are extra in step with his NBA manufacturing in rubbish time, adjusted for minutes in fact. That’s beginning to really feel just like the NBA equal of a 4A participant in Main League Baseball. Too good for the minors, however not fairly adequate for the large leagues.

Within the season finale in opposition to the Knicks, Waters logged appreciable time. He did alright along with his minutes there. As soon as once more from Tomasz Kordylewski, right here’s Waters’ highlights:

Very similar to with Fall, Boston and Waters have selections to make. The Celtics presently lack some level guard depth, following the Kemba Walker commerce. Marcus Good and Payton Pritchard are the one lead ballhandlers left on the roster. On the one hand, that would appear like Waters has a shot. Alternatively, it’s possible Stevens will wish to give Ime Udoka at the very least one veteran level guard choice to name upon.

As well as, there may be at the very least some likelihood the Celtics carry over 2020 draftee Yam Madar for this upcoming season. Whereas Madar won’t be keen to signal a Two-Manner deal, his presence on the common roster would restrict the necessity to carry again Waters.

Waters can possible discover extra of a possibility elsewhere, and Boston most likely gained’t stand in his means.

2019-20 Maine Red Claws Media Day

Photograph by Wealthy Obrey/NBAE through Getty Photos

Up to now, no participant has performed three straight seasons on a Two-Manner contract with the identical franchise (which, by the way is the max allowed). Tacko Fall has an opportunity to be the primary. It’s extremely unlikely Tremont Waters will do the identical.


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