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How Romeo Langford Fits in With the Boston Celtics

Romeo Langford drives to the hoop against Northwestern on December 1, 2018. Langford finished with 20 points in the 68-66 win over the Wildcats. (Mark Timko/HN)

Romeo Langford is headed to Boston.

The freshman guard, who led IU in scoring with 16.5 points per game last season, was selected 14th overall by the Celtics in the 2019 NBA Draft

Langford became the 26th first round pick to come out of IU and the first lottery pick since Noah Vonleh went No. 9 to Charlotte in 2013.

“This is an exciting day for Romeo, his family, and our program,” IU coach Archie Miller said in a press release Thursday. “He is a special young man who is ready to do what it takes to further his basketball career on the professional level with a great organization like the Celtics.”

Leading up to Thursday, mock drafts had him projected anywhere from the late lottery to the mid-20’s. Langford is amidst recovery from a thumb injury that hampered his productivity during his time with IU.  

Langford didn’t work out with teams, but was present for interviews with franchises. 

He now heads to a team in the middle of roster turnover coming off an Eastern Conference semifinal loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. 

So how does Romeo Langford fit in with the Celtics?

The Celtics are likely to lose superstars Kyrie Irving and Al Horford in free agency, however they retain a young nucleus of players. 

Outside of Langford, the Celtics also added Tennessee forward Grant Williams and guards Carsen Edwards of Purdue and Tremont Waters of LSU on draft night

With Langford, the Celtics add another wing to it’s collection that includes former lottery picks Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward. 

While he struggled at times in his brief college career, Langford’s skill set seems to be best suited for the fast paced, free playing style of the NBA. 

“He can do a lot of things on the basketball court,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Thursday night in a presser at the Celtics facility. “He’s a guy that we think has a lot of things that translate to the NBA. He’s a long, versatile, athletic wing; he can play multiple positions; he can handle the ball; [and] he can play in pick and roll.”

Some of Langford’s brightest moments came on a drive to the basket in open space including a game winner in double overtime against No. 19 Wisconsin back in February. 

Langford’s game is very raw. The 19-year-old flashed his ability to create his own shot, though his jump shot is in need of work. Albeit partially due to injury, Langford struggled shooting the ball in the mid-range and from three.

He strongly resembles Brown in many ways. Langford 6’6” and Brown 6’7’ are both players who thrive in transition and pose threats defensively due to their length. 

Due to concerns with teammate relations, Brown may find himself on his way out of Boston this offseason via trade. The 22-year-old Brown is still on his rookie contract and provides plenty of value for a rebuilding team.  

If Brown exits Boston, Langford could easily slide into his role and become one of the first options off the bench for the Celtics. 

It is still to be determined whether Langford will play in the Summer League or not as he recovers from surgery on his thumb. He was recently cleared for basketball activities and had his hard cast removed two weeks ago.

As Langford recovers from injury and grows into his body and his game, the product on the court will continue to improve. For right now, he doesn’t have to be a difference maker for the Celtics. But as time goes on, Langford can be a productive player for a Boston team looking for it’s first NBA title since 2008. 

“I just can’t wait to get to work, meet the guys and hit the ground running at Summer League and at training camp,” Langford said in a teleconference with Boston Media Thursday night. “I feel like with the group they already have along with myself, we can do a lot of big things.”

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