Tacko Fall

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Tacko Fall’s agent confident if Celtics don’t keep him on roster another team will

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Tacko Fall was arguably the most popular player at Las Vegas Summer League (especially since Zion Williamson only played nine minutes). Fans chanted for him to get in games and then chanted “M-V-P” once he was in. Fall averaged 7.2 points a game on 77 percent shooting at Summer League and every play he made became a viral highlight.

But that was Summer League.

Now things are getting real and Fall is trying to make the Celtics’ roster. Fall signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Celtics, which is essentially a training camp invite.

It’s a longshot Fall makes the Celtics’ regular season roster for two reasons. First, Fall needs a lot more development to be NBA ready, both physically and in terms of understanding and reacting to the game and how fast it moves. That was evident in Las Vegas. Second, the Celtics have Enes Kanter starting at center with Daniel Theis and Robert Williams behind him, it’s unlikely they keep a fourth traditional center on the roster. Both of Boston’s two-way contracts are already filled.

If the Celtics cut Fall and he signs with Boston’s G-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws, Fall gets a $50,000 bonus.

However, Fall’s agent Justin Haynes says if Boston cuts Fall he believes another team will sign him, something Haynes told Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

“If the Celtics release him, I don’t think he goes unclaimed,” said Haynes, Fall’s agent. “I think somebody will take a shot on him because he’s done enough to show he can find a place in the NBA. I’m really hopeful that it’s Boston. I hope they find a way, and they do have a vision for him.”

I could see another team giving Fall one of their two-way contracts, but he needs a lot more development and time on the court. He needs time in the G-League. Maybe a team gives him a roster spot and develops him there, but that seems unlikely. Fall has the potential to be an NBA player, but it’s going to take a lot of work for him to get there.

Work that this year likely will take place in the G-League.

Celtics suffer consequences of Kyrie Irving’s broken pledge

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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Celtics 2019 offseason ended in October 2018.

Then, it began a short time later.

After a backward year in Boston, the dust has settled. Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are gone. Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter are there.

The Celtics will be fine. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown return and should keep growing. The major holes are filled.

But the busy summer leaves Boston with a much lower ceiling.

It was never supposed to be like this.

Before last season, Kyrie Irving vowed to re-sign. This wasn’t just an impulsive moment at a pep rally. Irving made a whole commercial about the Celtics retiring his number.

Boston looked like an emerging power – the Warriors’ most-likely successor, maybe as soon as last season. The Celtics were talented, young and deep. Irving’s commitment seemed to answer one of the few questions facing the team.

Instead, Boston unraveled. Irving and other Celtics repeatedly found problems with each other. Everyone seemed miserable. A disappointing second-round loss was almost a relief. At least it was over.

In what was once supposed to be a simple offseason for Boston, Irving bolted for the Nets. Horford followed through the exit, to the 76ers. The Celtics replaced those two with Walker and Kanter via free agency.

Irving is better and younger than Walker. Particularly, Irving has proven his deep-playoff bona fides. Though Walker didn’t get those opportunities with the mediocre Hornets, the smaller guard probably can’t step up against tighter defenses the same way.

Kanter is good at what he does inside. But good teams can expose him defensively.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston matched its 49 wins from last season. The Celtics’ chemistry should improve significantly, and they’ll play hard in the regular season. But there’s a long way to getting back on the championship-contention path.

Boston will even face challenges with smaller short-term goals. The Celtics lost a couple solid role players in Marcus Morris (signed with Knicks) and Aron Baynes (traded to Suns). Boston also sent Terry Rozier to the Hornets in a double sign-and-trade for Walker. Though Rozier didn’t help the Celtics much last season, they still essentially got nil for a player with some value.*

*Boston had enough cap space to sign Walker outright. Charlotte needed a sign-and-trade to add Rozier.

The Celtics maintained and replenished frontcourt depth with Daniel Theis ($5 million guaranteed this season, $5 million unguaranteed the following season) and Vincent Poirier (two years, $5,125,000).

Boston did well to leave draft night with No. 14 pick Romeo Langford, No. 22 pick Grant Williams, No. 33 pick Carsen Edwards, No. 51 pick Tremont Waters, a future Bucks first-rounder (from Phoenix) and Baynes unloaded. The Celtics also signed undrafted Tacko Fall, whose 7-foot-6 frame at least draws intrigue.

Maybe one of those rookies blossoms. Maybe Gordon Hayward gets back in a groove as he gains distance from his injury. Maybe a future first-rounder from the Grizzlies lands high in a lottery.

There are ways for Boston to build a title contender.

But that seems far more distant than when the Celtics were envisioning an Irving-Anthony Davis pairing. It seems more distant than even when Boston was hoping to keep Horford.

Many teams would love to settle for Walker and Kanter, but the Celtics were in such great shape. They definitely had to settle. Where I’m from, that’s no Plan A.

Offseason grade: C-

Fan has Tacko Fall autograph a taco (VIDEO)

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Tacko Fall might be a long shot to make the Boston Celtics roster this season, but that doesn’t mean the former UCF big man isn’t a fan favorite. His name is fun to say, he’s got a lot of skills, and he is 7-foot-7.

What’s not to love?

Of course, fall is going to have to deal with all kinds of fans if he remains in the NBA, and this week he got a taste of what that looks like. In a video posted to social media, one fan was seen asking Tacko for his autograph on a photo of… a taco.

Via Twitter:

This reminds me of the time that a friend of mine got Nathan’s Hot Dog champion Joey Chestnut to sign a hot dog. When asked whether anyone had ever asked him to sign a hot dog, Chestnut simply replied, “All the time.”

So much for originality, I guess.

No doubt this won’t be the last taco for Tacko.

Celtics fan favorite Tacko Fall gets training camp contract; longshot for roster

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Celtics fans were Tacko crazy in Las Vegas — Tacko Fall was their guy. He was the sensation of Summer League. Fans exploded with cheers on every bucket, they chanted his name urging the staff to put him back in long-over games, Fall got MVP chants, and for one game two guys even came dressed as tacos.

Celtics fans are going to get to keep on cheering the 7’7″ big man through training camp — the Celtics have officially signed him for training camp.

This is an Exhibit 10 contract, which is essentially an invite to training camp with some money as a buyout when he gets cut.

While the Celtics do have one open roster spot left, it’s unlikely Fall gets that spot. The Celtics have Enes Kanter starting at center with Daniel Theis and Robert Williams behind him, it’s unlikely they keep a fourth traditional center on the roster.

While Fall averaged 7.2 points a game on 77 percent shooting at Summer League, it was because players there had no idea how to defend him and many were not strong enough to keep him away from the rim. Boston would use a pick to force a switch, Fall would get deep in the paint against a smaller player, take a high pass (that really didn’t have to be that close to him) and throw it down with little resistance.

That will not happen when the men show up for training camp, the easy buckets will go away.

Fall moves reasonably well for someone his size — he set all kinds of size records at the NBA Draft Combine — and defensively he changed a lot of shots in the paint, plus you don’t want to get in front of him in transition.

That said, Fall does not move well enough for the speed of the NBA game yet, nor does he recognize defensively where he needs to be quickly enough (and that is just in Summer League). Conditioning seemed to be an issue as well. He’s got some potential because of his size, but he is also a real project — this Tacko needs a lot more seasoning. A season in the G-League might be what he needs to develop a little, giving the Celtics a chance to see what they got.

But first, he is headed to Celtics training camp.

Step in and take a charge from Tacko Fall at your own risk (VIDEO)

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LAS VEGAS — Ouch.

Denver’s Brandon Goodwin made the right play and stepped in front of 7’7″ Tacko Fall in transition, and he drew the charge, but he paid the price for it and had to come out of the game for a while after this blow.

Goodwin would re-enter the game.

Fall has been a fan favorite in Las Vegas — there were two guys dressed as tacos who showed up for Tuesday’s game — and “we want Tacko” chants have been a regular feature of Summer League games. Fall has averaged 7.3 points a game on 77 percent shooting because all his baskets are right at the rim. He’s also altered shots and drives just by his massive presence. He’s got a lot of work to do still to be an NBA player, but he’s been fun to watch.