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Boston Celtics Semi Ojeleye needs to become Dennis Rodman

Boston Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye is about to enter his third season in the NBA - a critical one for his career. His contract is very team-friendly at $1.6 million this year and $1.8 million for 2020-21 with a team option.

A close look at his stats show that even with his minutes cut from 15.8 MPG as a rookie to 10.6 MPG last season, he still showed progress. His points rose from 2.7 PPG to 3.3 PPG (last season), mostly due to better shooting from the field. His rebounding dropped from 2.7 RPG as a rookie to 1.5 RPG as a sophomore. He needs to get better with that.

Semi was an elite defender right out of the gate in his rookie campaign. He was drafted to be a classic 3-and-D guy, but thus far, his offensive production has not blossomed. If he shifted from the 3-and-D mode for which he was drafted to R-and-D - the "R" referring to rebounding - his career in the League could be assured.



Flash back to Dennis Rodman. The 5-Time Champion and 2-Time All-Star made his mark with defense and rebounding. Frankly, he was limited in everything else - Only 7.3 points per game and 1.2 APG for his career. But it was his defense (2-Time All-Defensive POY) and rebounding (13.1 RPG, 7-Time NBA rebound Champ) that brought him fame. He shot 52% from the field during his stint in the League, but most of the shots were in close. He only averaged 58% on free throws and 23% on treys.

Now back to Ojeleye. Advanced stats show he went from 472nd in the League in Offensive Rating in 2017-18 to 284th in 2018-19. His Defensive Rating increased from 148th to 45th, and his Net Rating rose from #401 to 78th. Semi's defense has never been in question, but he needs to rip down more boards to make it in the League. Rebounding is just hard work (as is defense) and dedication to the task. He can do it, but it needs to be done this season. Rodman did it. So can Semi.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

Comments

  1. I certainly hope he doesn't become like Dennis Rodman. Rodman never had a shot. Ojeleye has a great shooting stroke, and just needs to feel comfortable out there when shooting. Larry Brown loved Ojeleye's shot. He also can pass--Bernardoni is great at salary cap analysis and salary matching for trades, but his opinions about on the court stuff, even though they are often thoughtful, should be taken with a grain of salt and are usually no better than yours or mine. When running Celtics Hub before it collapsed when he left, he deferred the x's-and-o's articles to others. He did write excellent articles though, and I preferred them to his tweets--he's probably writing somewhere if people want to find him, perhaps just like Tom!

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    1. Just his defense won't get him on the court and keep him there this season. It starts with rebounding. If he adds boarding to his D, he gets more time and can take the feeds from Kemba and hit them. His stroke is fine. He just needs the floor time, confidence and opportunities. And getting some offensive boards will get him a few put-backs and some points on the score board.

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