Will former Indiana Basketball star Romeo Langford make an impact in the NBA Bubble?
It appears the NBA season is on for good. The situation can always change, but it was reported yesterday that not a single player in the NBA bubble in Orlando tested positive for COVID-19. This is very encouraging news for the NBA, which has made extensive efforts to provide a safe environment for competition. It is also great news for fans of the game who just want to have basketball in their living room once again.
One Hoosier in the bubble is Celtics rookie Romeo Langford. Langford hardly contributed to the Celtics at all this season due to injuries and low minute totals, but he steadily progressed as the season went along. Now that the NBA is coming back, is the former Hoosier star poised to have a mini-breakout?
Unfortunately, the answer is likely no due to basic coaching principles. Typically, NBA benches get chopped in half during the playoffs. NBA coaching and front office legend, Pat Riley, invented the mantra of “play six, trust five” in the NBA Finals. Most coaches will generally play around eight rotation players the first round, trim it to six or seven the second round and third rounds, and by the Finals, they will only go about six deep.
Obviously, by this math, Langford doesn’t stand a chance to play in the playoffs. However, he will likely play in the eight games leading up to the playoffs to take some of the physical burden off other players ahead of him in the rotation. It may be the most minutes he’ll have played during his young career, and could be a great chance for him to grow before the end of the season. It’s also not entirely impossible the rookie plays in the early rounds of the playoffs, although it remains unlikely.
The Celtics are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference and are slated to play the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. If you’re craving some watching Langford play some NBA ball, then you will likely have plenty of chances before the playoffs, but don’t expect Brad Stevens to play an unproven rookie when the season is on the line.