Film School – How Brad Stevens Will Use Aaron Nesmith

By Matt Esposito

Yes, this is the type of rapid, next-day-after response that makes it tolerable when I hyperlink my twitter handle where my name is. Did I do tons of research prior to this draft? Lol. But coffee exists and so does a desire to figure out how the latest Danny Ainge draft pick will fit into Boston’s offense. I’ll even make you a deal: you can scroll right past the words and right to the YouTube video if you consider subscribing.

Arguably the best shooter in his draft class, Nesmith will join the professional ranks with the ideal height (6-foot-6) and footwork to become an off-ball threat. Just how much of a threat? My dude made 119 out of 290 three-pointers at Vanderbilt and was hitting 52.2 percent of his triples before a foot injury prematurely ended his college career.

More good news: Nesmith finished in the 95th percentile for on spot-up shots and the 97th percentile when coming off screens, according to NBA.com. Some not so good news: You don’t need to watch the Celtics for too long to know that they don’t frequently run creative sets to free up floor spacers. Yet, this is likely due to Stevens’ personnel. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and others are not known for their off-ball footwork. Neither of them play a style similar to Duncan Robinson or JJ Redick.

Nesmith does, however. Former NBA star Jerry Stackhouse is the team’s head coach and has implemented a pro-style offense. The team runs tons of hammer, floppy, elevator and pin down sets. Nesmith benefited mightily from them and this should translate immediately to the League. In an odd twist, however, he could prepare for his assignment in Boston by studying -gulp- Carsen Edwards.

Stevens struggled to find the best way to deploy Edwards last year. So, he tried to get the rookie going by running him through a variety of screens on his way to hoisting a jumper. Kemba did more of the same although to a lesser extent and smart money would bet that Walker spends more time off ball this year too. Regardless, Nesmith is primed for this role.

The rookie will bring an entirely new dimension to the Celtics. Nesmith won’t be as good as the aforementioned Robinson, but he still can be used in a similar way. The attention drawn to Nesmith on weak-side action will give strong-side playmakers like Jayson Tatum and Walker even more room to operate. Stevens will likely scour some of Nesmith’s college tape or place a phone call to Stackhouse. If we see more elevator screens, hammer action in the corner or Spain pick-and-rolls, you’ll know Brad did his due diligence. Skip to the 1:55 mark of this video to see for yourself.

Published by Matt Esposito

Founder/Writer for Theplaygrounder.com and contributor to Red’s Army Twitter: @Mattesposito_

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