It’s an exciting time to be Boston Celtics prospect Aaron Nesmith, who enters next week’s Summer League eagerly prepared to showcase his progression; proof that bears the fruit of the start of a somewhat normal NBA offseason.
Nesmith, the Celtics second-year wing whose offseason prior to the 2020 NBA draft was derailed by a foot injury and a global pandemic, spent most of his rookie season trying to catch up. The condensed 2020-21 regular season schedule didn’t do him any favors.
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Aaron Nesmith: ‘Working On Becoming a Better Basketball Player’
Having the extra time to work out during the summer has certainly paid its dividends.
“It’s awesome — being able to get all of this time to prepare and be with these guys for longer,” Nesmith said during his media availability this week. “Definitely learning the new system. So, it’s been fun. Just trying to work on becoming a better basketball player, all around. Passing, ball-handling, my aggressiveness, assertiveness; just working on becoming a better all-around player.”
Labeled as one of the better 3-pointer shooters in his draft class, Nesmith is finding new ways of sharpening his outside touch, including using unique shooting methods that he hopes will shape him into more of a diverse shooter.
“Definitely continuing to work on my shooting; you know, that’s my calling card. Making sure I can perfect that as best as I can,” Nesmith said. “So, just continuing to do that, you know, working on different reads; making sure I can come off cold. I try, some days I come in to do my shooting routine, sometimes I won’t; just to emulate coming off the bench, and not getting time to warm up and having to make my first shot after sitting down for like 15 minutes.”
Nesmith: ‘I Got More Confidence in My Shot & Ability’
Nesmith, who played 46 games during the regular season, says the most beneficial experience of his rookie season was competing in the first round of the playoffs.
“I learned a lot, especially getting a chance to play in the playoffs a little bit and getting that playoff experience taught me a lot; I learned a lot,” Nesmith said. “Take everything that I experienced last year and really honed in on my weaknesses over the summer, honed in on things I need to perfect. What’s going to help our team win. So, just kind of taking those lessons from last year and applying them to this year.”
Nesmith found his offensive rhythm toward the end of the regular season, including a three-game stretch in May when he averaged 15.6 points and made eight 3-pointers while shooting a 68.3% clip from behind the arc. This, for Nesmith, was the turning point of his rookie season.
“I got more comfortable, I got more confidence in my shot and my ability — being out there on the floor,” Nesmith added. “So, it made everything easier from the defensive side to the offensive side. I started to put a lot less pressure on myself to make shots and to really focus on contributing to the game in other ways and let everything else fall where they may.”