Season Refresh Chapter: Brad Wanamaker

Brad Wanamaker has provided the Celtics with all of the ideal qualities that a team could ask for out of a backup point guard this season: He’s been dependable. He’s been durable. He’s been efficient. And, he’s been a seasoned leader for Boston’s inexperienced second unit.

Wanamaker joined the Celtics two summers ago after spending seven years playing overseas. Right off the bat, coach Brad Stevens could sense potential in the well-traveled point guard.

“He’s a really bright guy,” Stevens told Celtics.com during the 2018-19 preseason. “He’s played basketball for great coaches all over the world in a lot of different situations and you can tell that he reads situations really well.”

The only obstacle standing in Wanamaker’s way during that first season was a lack of playing time, due to Boston’s immense depth at the point guard role. This season, however, the departures of both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier opened up a solid block of minutes, many of which Wanamaker has claimed and has taken full advantage of.

The 6-foot-3 Philadelphia native has seen his stats double across the board from Year 1 to Year 2, as he has posted averages of 6.6 points, 2.5 assists and 2.0 rebounds per game, while seeing 19.3 minutes of action per contest.

On top of that, Wanamaker has established himself as the NBA’s most efficient free-throw shooter; his clip of 93.1 percent from the charity stripe is No. 1 in the league among players with at least 100 attempts. He’s also fourth in the league in catch-and-shoot percentage from 3-point range (minimum of 50 attempts) with a stellar 48.0 percent clip.

One of Wanamaker’s greatest qualities has been his durability. He’s played in 63 out of 64 games this season, which leads the team and is quite impressive considering the fact that he’s also the oldest member of the squad having turned 31 years old today.

Having such durability out of the backup point guard has been particularly important for the Celtics this season, since starting point guard Kemba Walker has missed blocks of games here and there due to nagging left knee soreness. Boston’s Feb. 1 matchup against Philadelphia was one of the games that Walker was absent for, but Wanamaker stepped up big by pouring in a season-high 15 points while also electrifying the crowd with the first two dunks of his NBA career.

Typically, you won’t see much flashiness out of Wanamaker. He plays the game exactly how it is meant to be played and is one of the most fundamentally sound players on the team. He also brings great versatility on both ends of the court, as his playmaking and shooting abilities allow him to be utilized as a combo guard on offense, while his physical strength and defensive IQ enable him to guard larger players on defense.

Off the court, Wanamaker has gained a great deal of respect from his teammates in the leadership department. As the eldest member of the team, he provides great wisdom and shoulder for the younger players to lean on, which is particularly beneficial for a team with seven rookies on its roster.

“I think our guys really respect his mind,” Stevens said on Feb. 29. “A lot of guys look up to him. He’s kind of been a quiet leader for us.”

“Quiet” could be used to describe many aspects of Wanamaker’s under-the-radar style of play, but his impact on this team has been loud this season. He’s given the Celtics everything they could have hoped for out of a backup point guard, as a dependable, durable and efficient locker-room leader.

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