Yabusele Ready to Embrace Any Role C’s Give Him
BOSTON – On the day before his second training camp with the Boston Celtics began, Guerschon Yabusele was already oozing with confidence and eagerness.
“I know what we’re going to do and what they’re expecting me to do,” the 22-year-old forward told the media in his thick, French accent on Media Day. “I’m coming back with more energy and I’m just trying to help the team each minute I’m going to be on the court.”
Through the first two games of preseason, Yabusele has accomplished those goals as well as any other player on the team.
Over the course of 28 minutes, he has stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, six rebounds, three blocks, two assists, one steal and has committed only one turnover.
Yabusele’s rookie campaign was filled with uncertainty, as he went back and forth between Boston and Portland, Maine – the home of the Celtics’ G League affiliate Maine Red Claws. He compiled just 235 regular-season minutes with the C’s last season, but his teammates saw flashes of potential during his short stints on the court.
“I think that even last year I felt that he could do certain things,” frontcourt mate Al Horford said Monday after practice in Brighton. “It just probably wasn’t his time yet.
“He’s a kind of guy that can score inside and create a lot of space with his body,” Horford elaborated. “He’s a good passer, he has a good feel for the ball, and he hustles. So, I just think that now when he gets the opportunities, he needs to make sure that his presence is felt. And I think he’s done that in the first couple of exhibition games.”
Where Yabusele has truly established a presence is inside the paint. That’s where eight of his 11 shots attempts have come, and he’s converted them at a 75 percent rate.
Coach Brad Stevens says the team made an emphasis during the summer to use Yabusele more in the post, where he can cause problems with his 6-foot-8, 260-pound frame. With that being said, he’s also agile enough to play the 4, so his versatility could give the Celtics multiple options coming off the bench.
“I think that Guerschon’s ability to play not only as the 5, but also move his feet at the 4, may allow us to do some things against some smaller lineups,” said Stevens. “His ability to post and rebound and do all those things, I think, are pretty important.”
Stevens admitted that because of Boston’s incredible depth, he’s not exactly sure what Yabusele’s role will be this season. However, the the coach insists that the Dancing Bear will play a part in the team’s journey.
“Everybody gets their chance to impact and everybody has their chance to shine,” said Stevens. “There’s no question about that. NBA seasons give you those opportunities, just by the sheer numbers of it.”
While there is some uncertainty revolving around Yabusele’s playing time, just like there was last season, he is not at all concerned with his role.
“I don’t really think about it,” he claimed. “I’m a competitor, so I’m going to use every minute, every second that I have to give them everything I’ve got. I don’t worry about the minutes, about anything that’s going to happen; I just try to control everything I can control.”
While he may not know what to expect minutes-wise, Yabusele fully understands what the team wants out of him whenever he hits the floor. His job is to provide energy, versatility and to give the team a solid presence in the post.
Through the first two games of the preseason, Yabusele has done all of the above to the best of his ability, and so far, it has paid off.