After making the decision to pursue other opportunities, former Boston Celtics guard Tremont Waters may have found his next NBA home. Per a report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the 23-year-old is signing a contract with the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
The deal is essentially an opportunity to vie for a roster spot during training camp, according to Charania. As it stands, the Bucks have just 13 players locked into guaranteed contracts. However, Waters will nonetheless have competition in his efforts to secure his place in Milwaukee.
Second-year players Mamadi Diakite and Elijah Bryant — the latter of whom would be in direct competition with Waters for a backcourt role — are also in the fold with non-guaranteed deals.
Still, it would seem that the one-time LSU standout has a shot to earn a two-way deal or more.
From Summer Stardom to a Two-Way Contract
Waters was originally picked by the Celtics with the 51st overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. In spite of his draft positioning, though, the diminutive guard earned a two-way deal with a strong summer showing.
In five games with the Celtics’ summer league outfit in Las Vegas, Waters averaged 11.2 points, 4.8 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals in just over 24 minutes per contest.
During his rookie campaign, he would only appear in 11 games with the Beantowners. However, Waters took full advantage of the time he spent in the G League. He ultimately played in 36 games for the Cs’ affiliate club, the then-Maine Red Claws, logging an 18-7-3-2 line and knocking down 35.4% of his triples.
For his efforts, he captured G League Rookie of the Year honors and was named to the All-NBA G League Second Team. More importantly, he earned a second look from the Celtics in 2020-21.
Last season, he was a more visible presence in Boston, playing in 26 games and making 39.5% of his three-point shots along the way. Waters also averaged an impressive 9.4 assists and 2.3 steals per 36 minutes. However, he was still largely a garbage-time player and/or occasional injury replacement.
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What’s Holding Waters Back?
During his college days, Waters developed a reputation as a tenacious defender and a high-level floor general; a gamer. In spite of those attributes, he was never really given a shot to make an impact in Boston. One major reason for his lack of an opportunity could be his size.
In shoes, Waters measures a hair under 5-foot-11 and he tips the scales at just 175 pounds. That’s about as small as a person can be in the modern NBA and his 6-foot-2 wingspan doesn’t exactly make up for his lack of size. He doesn’t have top-shelf athleticism for an NBA guard, either.
Nevertheless, his willingness to guard, ability to play passing lanes and impressive passing instincts may warrant further consideration.