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Celtics young player who deserves more playing time

Taking a look at why second round pick Jordan Walsh is a player the Celtics must give playing time in the near future.

After a busy offseason, the Boston Celtics formed a talented, well-established starting five. And outside of injuries or the occasional rest day, there’s not much reason for the C’s to mix that group up.

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The Celtics are currently 14-4 with the best record in the league, meaning they’re not too eager to make significant playing time adjustments. However, there are still young players on the Celtics who are worthy of seeing the court more.

For example, 2023 second-round draft pick Jordan Walsh could have what it takes for some NBA minutes, but he’s yet to enter a regular season game. So, let’s discuss why the 19-year-old rookie deserves more playing time during the 2023-24 season.

Why Jordan Walsh deserves more playing time for the Celtics

Walsh is a versatile player who embodies the modern NBA. At 6-foot-6, he can work as a guard or a forward and he’s a two-way player who’s active on both ends of the floor. It’s also worth mentioning that he can jump out of the gym with his athleticism:

While Walsh has yet to enter an official regular season game, he’s spent some time in the G-League with the Maine Celtics. In seven games, the rookie averaged 14 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.6 steals in 29.1 minutes per outing. Although he’s still working through the growing pains of becoming a pro (averaging 2.1 turnovers per game), he clearly has talent and the ability to develop his shot from outside:

Boston knows it too, as Walsh was even called up to the Association on Saturday ahead of a home game against the Atlanta Hawks. The Texas native never got his shot though, as the Celtics won 113-103 and were unable to hold a lead large enough for Walsh to sub in.

The Arkansas product can take solace in the fact that the front office seems to believe in him. Walsh signed a four-year, $7.6 million contract that guaranteed him over $1 million before the 2023-24 season even started. Meanwhile, Boston’s 2022 second-round pick, point guard J.D. Davison, still has a non-guaranteed deal.

Unfortunately for Walsh, he’s behind some very gifted players on the depth chart. If Boston wants to use him more as a wing, he’ll back up stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. If he’s brought up as a guard, there’ll be near-stars like Jrue Holiday and Derrick White—and those are just the starters.

At the moment, Walsh has no clear path for significant minutes with the C’s. But, it’d still be nice if he could just get a little bit of playing time. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla isn’t afraid to throw relatively inexperienced players into the fire, as center Neemias Queta started in the second quarter of a 33-26 contest versus the Hawks. If Walsh can get a chance like that, where he’s inserted into the lineup early, he could prove his worth.

Plus, given that Mazzulla’s in-game strategy generally revolves around the long ball, Walsh could morph into a 3-and-D guy when needed. While his 31 percent conversion rate from deep is underwhelming in the G-League, he’s still hitting about two triples a game.

Regardless of whether or not Walsh gets minutes, it’s a good thing that the Celtics don’t desperately need him to play. Boston sits atop the Eastern Conference and doesn’t have to experiment with young players. However, Walsh has the potential to become a two-way talent who could help the Celtics down the line rather than at present.

Daniel Donabedian is a beat reporter for ClutchPoints covering the Boston Celtics. He’s also covered Villanova men’s basketball and Big East basketball, building a strong reputation in the northeast.