Boston Celtics rookie Tremont Waters impresses off the bench: ’Tremont is just a bucket getter’

Celtics rookie Tremont Waters

Boston Celtics rookie Tremont Waters impresses off the bench: ’Tremont is just a bucket getter’

Boston Celtics rookie Tremont Waters impresses off the bench: ’Tremont is just a bucket getter’

By Tom Westerholm |
WASHINGTON D.C. — Tremont Waters didn’t play a perfect game on Monday.

Of course, nobody really expected him to play a perfect game. Prior to Boston’s 99-94 loss to the Washington Wizards, Waters totaled just 32 total minutes over four games. Most of his season has been spent with the Maine Red Claws, where he earned G-League Player of the Month honors for November. His minutes with the Celtics have been spotty, as Boston tries to navigate his available time as a player on a two-way contract.

But Waters has looked more like an NBA player than many who are on fully guaranteed deals — a slippery ball-handler who can get into the paint and score, as well as a slick passer.

On Monday, in the second half, Waters finally got some consistent run. He only played 7:39 total, but he scored eight points on 3-for-6 shooting while compiling an assist and a rebound.

Tremont is just a bucket getter,” Jaylen Brown said. “He comes in, he’s super talented, he’s super skilled, he’s the smallest guy on the court, but probably one of the skilled guys on the court. When you put him in the game, he’s always looking to make something happen, and usually he does.”

Marcus Smart was asked what Waters and Grant Williams — who played extended crunch-time minutes — brought to the table.

“Everything,” Smart said. “Everything they did tonight. They helped dig us out of the hole our starters got us in. So we’ve got to tip our hat to those guys. And they continue to get better each and every day.”

Maybe the most impressive aspect of Waters’ game is his advanced understanding of angles — both as a passer and as a driver. On one play, matched up against a much bigger Isaac Bonga, Waters jab-stepped twice to get Bonga to shift, took off toward the hoop and exploded away from Bonga to float a layup off the glass.

The layup was nice, but the amount of separation Waters managed to create — particularly given his height, which is generously listed at 5-foot-10 — was impressive.

On Friday, Brad Stevens was asked about Waters’ year in Maine, given his apparent readiness for the NBA.

“The bottom line is there’s a lot of people that are good enough,” Stevens said. “You’re constantly on a path to improve if you want to ultimately be a person that latches on and is part of a team for a long, long time. He has all of the stuff, he’s got a good work ethic, he’s a great person, but the competition is strong for all of these spots. That’s just part of it, no matter what. If you’re playing G-League or if you’re playing here, it’s an opportunity to work to get better and that’s the key. The quote we always refer to is, ‘The day you stop trying to get better is the day you stop being good.’ So no matter where you are, that’s the deal.”

On Monday, Waters finally got a chance to showcase himself. He said he enjoyed the opportunity.

“I got in, messed up a call, but bounced right back,” Waters said. “It was fulfilling to stay out there longer and get into the flow of the game. Felt good.”

Brown said the veterans appreciate what the younger players bring to the table.

“I thought he came in and was aggressive, I thought he came in and added to winning. I think that’s what everybody has to do, continue to add to winning. It’s not an individual effort, it’s not five guys that win games, it’s the whole team. So we need everybody, especially during this long season. So we appreciate it when those rooks come in and give us good minutes.”

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Jae Crowder