Sometimes all it takes is regular play time to rediscover a flow, which is exactly what happened to Aaron Nesmith when he joined the Maine Celtics for their 117-89 victory over Wisconsin Herd on Sunday night.
On Monday morning, the second-year winger was back with the parent team, settling for his role as a full-back in the rotation against Indiana. And after shooting 9 against 16 on his way to 21 points and playing 31 minutes, Nesmith was confident again.
“Just being able to go out there and play freely and get back to the rhythm a little bit is always fun and always a good experience,” he said. “It’s just fun to play basketball no matter where it is. … So I said I’m going to go, go play, have fun. And win another basketball game.
But there was also the question of getting his game back on track. Nesmith’s recent health and safety protocol couldn’t have come at a worse time. With 14 different Celtics entering and exiting quarantine this season, Nesmith would normally have had a chance to play.
As such, before Saturday’s six-minute appearance against the Knicks, Nesmith had missed seven straight games. Prior to that, his 3-point shot had fallen to 23.4% – a rough number for anyone, not to mention someone whose shot was the reason for his status as the 14th pick in the 2020 Draft.
“Oh yeah, it’s frustrating. My shot isn’t where it’s supposed to be or where I want it to be, ”he said. “And I have to find my consistency with it and I have to start doing what I did about it again. But, on top of that, continuing to make the most of opportunities on the defensive side of the floor, even if my shot doesn’t fall, make sure I can still make an impact without making any jumpers.
“I’m just not doing a high percentage that I know I’m capable of and I should get there. So it’s up to me to play, ”said Nesmith. “I’m definitely improving with it as the season goes on. And, like I said, I’m going to continue to impact in other ways around the game. ”
Coach Imé Udoka, who knows a lot about the opportunity a stint in the G-League can offer a late-spinning player, is happy that Nesmith had an extended run.
“It’s huge. I think any opportunity we can get for the guys to go there, whether it’s practice or a block of games, is necessary,” he said. said. “Obviously with the situation with us this year, guys in and out, we weren’t able to plan for this period. But he saw it as a good opportunity with him to come back and spend it there. few minutes and having some live action, nothing like he can’t do in three-on-three practice to emulate that. So it was good to see him come down there, play a good number of minutes and play well.
The COVID-19 factor
There may not be a substitute for the game, but Nesmith did what he could to stay in shape during his short quarantine.
“Definitely a little setback,” he said. “I wasn’t able to do much, I couldn’t do a lot of cardio. So when I had time to work out on my own, I would just go in and do a bunch of running to be honest. So when I came back, I wasn’t too fit.
Manage the bench
Like Nesmith, the other players at the end of the rotation, or at the end of the bench, haven’t had much of a chance to improve or build a flow, especially with the general lack of full workouts.
“Doing the work, the one-on-one, the one-on-one work that they always do, as much as we could when we had the protocols, we couldn’t get the guys to play so much, the coaches too, so that hampered that a bit, “Udoka said.” But the main thing is really trying to get the job they get, and as I mentioned, we also started doing one-on-one film sessions. and group sessions. So as much gaming action as they could see, just sit back and talk to these guys one-on-one. But nothing replaces the fact that he’s playing or the guys even have this workout time.