Boston Celtics: Hall-of-Fame coach says rookie Semi Ojeleye is NBA ready

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15: Semi Ojeleye
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 15: Semi Ojeleye /

Taken in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft, Boston Celtics rookie Semi Ojeleye has played himself to an NBA contract.

NBA superstars like Isaiah Thomas and Draymond Green have proved you don’t’ have to be drafted in the first round to make an impact in the league.  Boston Celtics second-round pick Semi Ojeleye hopes to make his own statement in the NBA.

The No. 37 pick in the 2017 NBA draft had an impressive Summer League showing.  His 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, along with his flexibility on defense earned him a four-year deal with the team just this past week.

While his game has impressed his new coach, his old coach is not surprised with how Ojeleye has played.  Former NBA coach Larry Brown sees a player who is ready for the NBA and a player who could contribute on a high level mostly due to his experience in college.

"“Players who stay three or four years, that’s something I don’t understand about how the league looks at you, as if you’re a player with a low ceiling,” Brown said last, via the Boston Herald.  “Do you think a 19-year-old is going to have the same discipline as if he’s 22?  It’s not fair to these younger kids, who are now coming out for their next contract, instead of whether they’re actually ready for the league.”"

With that comment Brown was mostly referencing how the 6-foot-8 forward slipped from a first-round pick to a second-round pick.  As someone who briefly coached Ojeleye, Brown sees a player who is ready for the next step and someone who will more than likely adjust quicker than some of the players taken in the high first round.

Related Story: Boston Celtics have an athletic freak in Semi Ojeleye

How Ojeleye fits in Boston

In many ways, the way Semi Ojeleye plays the game of basketball is a perfect fit for a team like the Boston Celtics.

However, Brown wasn’t the biggest advocate of the Celtics drafting him.  His reasoning had nothing to do with Brad Stevens’ system.  He felt the opportunity for playing time would be scarce on a team with many players who play a similar role as Ojeleye.

More from Chowder and Champions

"“I thought that was the worst team he could go to,” Brown said.  “Now, I’m not talking about the culture on that team or everything that Brad Stevens has established there as a coach, which is great.  But you take Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, they just signed Gordon Hayward, they have (Jae) Crowder, and it makes you wonder about opportunities.”"

Brown does bring up a valid point.  Will Ojeleye get the playing time he needs to develop?

The fact that the team signed him to a four-year deal indicates they are at least willing to give him a chance.  In Brad Stevens’ vision of position-less basketball, Ojeleye will find the minutes if earned.

Comparisons to Jae Crowder

With his size, NBA frame and defensive versatility, Larry Brown compared Ojeleye to Jae Crowder.

Ironically, that I the player many feel Ojeleye was drafted to replace.  Although the team has said Crowder is a part of their plans, his time in Boston appears short.  That’s where the development of the SMU alum comes in.

If Ojeleye develops quickly, he could do many of things Crowder did for the team.  The Hall-of-Fame coach sees many similarities between the two players.

"“He’s a multiple defender,” Brown said.  “When Jae Crowder used to play in Dallas, he used to cover over to our gym sometimes to work out.  He wasn’t a polished player back then, he was just starting out, and he was just a hard worker.  With him and Semi, I see two high character guys who just love to play.  It’s impossible to put too much stock in character.  That’s more important than a lot of other things people value in players.”"

In summary, Ojeleye will certainly have the type of character guys around him as leaders.  If he is NBA ready like Brown says, many of his attributes as well as his own character will shine quickly.

Next: Boston Red Sox: The night Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed Aaron Judge of home run

For more news surrounding Semi Ojeleye and the Boston Celtics, keep it locked here at Chowder and Champions.