Tacko Fall Finding New Opportunities to Grow Thanks to NBA Restart
The process of restarting the 2019-20 NBA Season has been anything but normal for most of the players involved. In Tacko Fall’s case, however, the NBA Campus experience in Florida has actually allowed him to establish a sense of normalcy for the first time in his NBA career.
From October through March, Fall had been on a two-way contract, which forced him to split his time between the Boston Celtics and their G League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. The 23-year-old’s schedule had been both demanding and unpredictable, making it impossible for him to establish a consistent regimen outside of Celtics training camp in the early fall.
But now, he’s been given the opportunity to be a full-time member of the C's, largely thanks to the NBA's decision to allow teams to carry 17-man rosters for the remainder of the season. And as a full-timer, Fall is finally able to form a regular work routine, which is helping him to grow as an individual, while also allowing him to build stronger relationships with his teammates.
“It’s a blessing just to be around them and practicing with them every day,” Fall told the media during a Zoom teleconference call following Monday night’s practice inside the bubble. “All of them are great players. I’ve been fortunate to be on a great team. Every single one of them brings a lot to the game and I’m just trying to learn as much as possible from them.”
As for what he is learning? Well, let’s just say he’s taking advantage of his 7-foot-5, 310-pound frame.
“When I step on the court, especially right now, I have to be the best rim protector that I can possibly be,” he said. “And being around these guys, all of them are good players, good finishers. So, I’m just trying to get that timing right, and it’s been great. Like, I’ve seen myself getting even better through these last few practices.”
Fall’s teammates can attest to such growth, as well.
“We love Tacko because Tacko is taking any challenge that’s thrown at him,” said Fall’s frontcourt mate Robert Williams. “Sometimes Tacko may play the middle of the zone the whole practice, you know, guarding everybody. He never shies away from anything.”
Williams recognizes that the reason why Fall never shies away from any challenge is that the young center wants to stand out. Of course, that’s not too difficult of a task for the tallest man in the league, but Fall wants to stand out in other ways, as well.
“He wants to be different,” Williams said. “He doesn’t want to be known as a 7-footer that can’t move. And you can see the progress that he’s making. You can see that he’s grinding. And you can’t do nothing but respect it.”
Mobility is an attribute that Fall has focused on immensely since entering the league. He knows that if he can run, cut, shuffle, and back-pedal efficiently, then his chances of earning a more consistent role will rise.
“For me, it’s even harder because of my physique,” Fall said of his conditioning. “So the first few practices when we got here was really helpful for me to get my wind back, and right now, I’m slowly getting my legs back. It’s been good. Like I said, throughout these last couple of practices I’ve been with the guys, I feel like I’ve been getting better. So, I’ve just got to keep that up.”
Keeping all of that up should be a lot easier for Fall, now that he’s finally able to establish a regular routine with the Celtics amidst the unique circumstances of the NBA restart.