addByline("Marc D'Amico", "Celtics.com", "Marc_DAmico");
BOSTON – Come to Boston, and you’ll leave a better player.
That’s the reputation the Celtics program has built under the guidance of Brad Stevens, and that reputation is a key reason why Brad Wanamaker chose Boston over all of the competition.
To varying degrees, the Celtics, under Stevens, are batting darn near 100 percent when it comes to players leaving the program with a better game than when they arrived. The list is comprehensive.
Isaiah Thomas came to Boston as a high-scoring, reserve guard. He left as a two-time All-Star and an MVP candidate.
Evan Turner joined the Celtics by signing a low-salaried, two-year deal. He left by signing a monster free-agent contract with Portland.
Kelly Olynyk went from 13th pick to $50 million player.
Jae Crowder arrived as an unknown youngster and quickly turned into a coveted two-way role player.
This past season, unheralded players from Europe such as Shane Larkin and Daniel Theis turned into quality rotational players in the NBA for Boston.
Heck, even superstar Kyrie Irving became a far more efficient player while playing under the tutelage of Stevens.
The list goes on and on, and NBA free agents such as Wanamaker who are looking to improve their game and increase their value are taking notice.
“Very aware,” Wanamaker said of Boston’s player development trends, and what played into him signing with the Celtics for less money than he could have made elsewhere. “Me and my agent, we talked about that a lot, and with my brothers also.”
Wanamaker also spoke to someone else as well, a player on the list above with whom he happens to have a preexisting relationship: Theis.
Wanamaker and Theis were teammates together in Germany for two seasons. Theis joined Boston last season as an under-the-radar free-agent signing, and he quickly became an impact role player off the bench. Wanameker chose to step in line to become the next Celtics player to experience such growth.
“I’m a good friend of Daniel Theis, and I’ve seen his development and him rising to the occasion when the opportunity came last season,” Wanamaker told Celtics.com. “A lot of that played a part, and I want to hopefully be someone in that situation, and I’m just staying ready for the opportunity.”
The opportunity will soon arrive for Wanamaker. He has finally made it to the NBA, and he is a member of the Boston Celtics – the organization that is quite possibly the cream of the crop in the NBA when it comes to player development.
“For me, in my first year in the NBA,” Wanamaker said, “it gets no better than coming to a situation like this with the development of players and getting guys ready for this level.”
Wanamaker isn't the first player to feel this way about Boston, and he certainly won't be the last.