ROY Award Suggests Waters is on Track for NBA Success

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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BOSTON – Celtics two-way player and Maine Red Claws star point guard Tremont Waters has been named NBA G League Rookie of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

If the award’s recent history is of any indication, Waters is well on his way to a successful NBA career.

Waters, whom the Celtics drafted 51st overall during the 2019 NBA Draft, averaged 18.0 points, 7.3 assists 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game over 36 contests this season with the Red Claws. The speedy point guard notched 10 performances of at least 20 points and seven assists while making his case for the award.

Waters also appeared in 10 games this season for the Celtics, including three which featured at
least 15 minutes of action. His plus/minus rating during those three contests was plus-20, plus-17 and plus-6, respectively, which indicates just how impactful he’s been even at the NBA level.

“He’s really talented. He’s really good,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of Waters back in February. “I think there’s another level for him, and that’s going to be something that we’ve got to really work hard with him on.”

That next level, presumably, includes a full-time gig in the NBA, which could very well be on the horizon for the rookie guard based upon recent history of G League Rookie of the Year winners.

This award has been a predictor of future NBA success over the last six seasons. Five of the last six G League Rookie of the Year winners, including two who won the award as members of the Red Claws, went on to earn full-time NBA contracts shortly after winning the award.

The most recent winner, Angel Delgado, is the exception, as he chose to head overseas for his pay day after earning the award last season.

The list of success stories begins with Robert Covington, who won the award in 2014 and has gone on to start 340 games over the six NBA seasons since. Tim Frazier and Abdel Nader, who won the award with Maine in 2015 and 2017, respectively, have each been important role players for their NBA teams ever since. Quinn Cook helped the Warriors win a title in 2018 two years after winning the award, and he has also been an NBA player ever since.

The 2018 winner, Antonio Blakeney, signed with Chicago last season before heading overseas this season.

That’s a pretty long list of success stories that are tied to the G League Rookie of the Year award. The success of these recent winners is no guarantee that Waters will reach similar heights, but it sure is a strong indication of the talent Waters brings to the table.

That talent was on full display throughout his shortened season in Maine, as well as during his appearances with the Celtics so far this season. He has shown both poise and promise while exciting the Celtics about what’s to come in his career.

“We’re so happy for Tremont,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “He had a fantastic G League season on both ends of the court, and continued to improve all the facets of his game while leading a winning team. This recognition is well-deserved.”