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Going to a game on any given day or evening, Aaron Nesmith usually has no idea how much floor he’s going to see for the Celtics. The second year guard/forward is behind the Celtics’ three most integral players – Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart – so play time can be a bit scarce.
So how do you keep perspective as the 22-year-old is still trying to find his way into the toughest professional basketball league in the world?
“I like to be the best version of myself every single day,” he told Greeley Tribune.com. “My favorite quote is, ‘Be one percent better today than you were yesterday, and in 100 days, you’ll be 100 percent better’.”
On paper, the backup guard/forward’s 2021 stats may not show the outright picture of improvement.
Nesmith has conceded only 3.8 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game on 39.6 percent shooting this year (27 percent from the three-point boundary), which is down across the board from his rookie campaign in 2020.
Of course, some context is needed: He’s playing fewer minutes (3.8 per game) this year than a rookie (4.7) because Derrick White, Grant Williams and Peyton Pritchard get minutes above him in the rotation.
Finding rhythm in those conditions can be tough, especially for a young player. But Nesmith says there are still ways to get better while waiting for your opportunities.
“It’s definitely tough when you’ve always wanted to play,” he admitted. “But at the same time, it’s a great opportunity to learn from those guys. [Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown] There are just such great basketball players, and they are such masters at their craft. Every day, I just get to go in and learn from them. ,
Nesmith says he tries to take portions of Tatum and Brown’s games and work them into his skill sets during practice and individual work.
But more than that, the second-year reserve states that he watches his superstar teammates carefully to figure out how to complement them on the court.
“When I’m there, what can I do to make those people better? That’s my role,” he said. “Can I help clear the floor? I ease their lives into tasks.” Maybe if I’ve got a weak defender on me, how can I run and set up a ball screen or walk out to make sure some of those guys are there? Have some confusion to take the pressure off?
The purchase of Nesmith to meet their obligations—whatever form they take—reflects the philosophy that propelled the Celtics from the .500 team sitting outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture in mid-January to regularly the best team in the NBA. Helped change the weather.
2 seed in the conference, Greeley Tribune will reveal the identity of their first-round opponent following the results of Tuesday night’s play-in game between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers. (The winner of that game would be seeded seventh and travel to Greeley Tribune to open the playoffs.)
While Nesmith may be taken to the back end of the rotation, he says legends like Tatum, Brown and Al Horford always had one message for him: Be prepared.
“We need you whenever your name is called, and we put you out there for a reason,” he relayed. “So whenever my name is called, I always make sure I’m ready to go and I’m ready to give it 110 percent. Because I know that even if it’s just for five minutes, they Five minutes are very important, crucial for the ballgame.”
14 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Nesmith says he sees himself as “making solid, plays, helping my team win the championship” 10 years down the line.
He’s also kept busy off the court while he works on his game, signing a shoe deal with New Balance last year and serving as its brand ambassador as the apparel company rolled out a new cutting edge Indoor track is opened. Its features this week.
New Balance’s potential expansion into the basketball world, which received a major boost from the addition of Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, serves as an interesting parallel to what Nesmith can expect for his career.
Of New Balance’s future, Nesmith said, “Just because they’re not as popular in the sports world doesn’t mean they won’t be in a year or two.” “Everyone comes up to me and asks, ‘What are you wearing? I love that.’ … I think New Balance is making a big splash in the basketball world in particular and is only going to continue to grow, so I’m very excited to be a part of this wave too.,
Time will tell whether Nesmith’s basketball career will follow the same optimistic arc. For now, he’s just ready for whatever comes, whether it’s hitting a clutch shot or playing the hard-nosed defense that the Celtics have been known for this season.
He may only see five minutes or so in each playoff game. But unlikely heroes are needed for NBA Finals runs, and Nesmith may soon have a chance to become one.
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