To say that Romeo Langford’s early career with the Boston Celtics didn’t go according to plan would be understating the situation. After getting scooped up by Danny Ainge with the 14th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, the former Indiana star went on to appear in just 50 games over his first two years in Beantown.
During that time, he contended with a thumb injury, recurring ankle issues and a wrist injury that ended his run in the bubble. The latter setback ultimately required surgery and a lengthy recovery time, and just when he was set to return to the floor last season, he contracted the coronavirus and was forced into the league’s health and safety protocols.
With opening night of the 2021-22 NBA season looming, though, Langford is finally fully healthy and showing what he is capable of. Filling in for Jaylen Brown — who just tested positive for COVID-19 himself — the 21-year-old had a show-out effort in Boston’s second preseason game against the Toronto Raptors.
In 18 minutes of play, the majority of which were spent with the starters, Langford tallied 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He also hit 3-of-4 of his attempts from downtown. It was a performance that has some believing he could snag a spot in Ime Udoka’s rotation.
Fitting in With Boston’s Best Ballers
Sharing the court with the Celtics’ first-team players is something Langford hasn’t had much of an opportunity to do so far. Nevertheless, he acquitted himself rather well in that regard against the Raptors.
“I thought Romeo was great in the starting lineup; played well offensively and defensively,” said Udoka. “Obviously shot the ball well, but he does the little things well.”
The Celtics’ coach wasn’t the only one who took note of Langford’s performance. For his part, returning Beantowner Al Horford couldn’t help but gush over what he saw from the 6-foot-4 guard.
“I was really impressed with him, just with how easy he was able to transition and fit in with our group tonight,” Horford said. “Taking the shot when he needed to, playing with a lot of confidence, on the defensive end being solid. He looked really comfortable out there and that’s very encouraging to see.”
Horford conceded that Langford’s big game came in an exhibition bout but he was impressed nonetheless by what he saw.
“I know it is a preseason game but it’s very encouraging to see him being that comfortable.”
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Langford Is Feeling Strong
In the wake of his standout shooting effort against Toronto, Langford was probed on the evolution of his jumper. His response left little doubt about his mettle as a shooter.
“My confidence is high right now,” he said. “I put so much work in since day one. Now, my workout isn’t necessarily about my shot itself, it’s not just about getting the reps in. And then doing the things that I’m doing in the workout and translating that to the game … it just feels good.”
He also spoke highly of his comfort level with the team.
“I feel good,” he said. “Body feels good, mind is good. I’m just happy that I finally got the chance to do a training camp, healthy summer, and it just feels good to be able to be in a little rhythm and being able to work out and practice with the guys leading into the regular season.”