Celtics

Celtics guard Romeo Langford was ‘kind of’ required to play Summer League, but ‘I wanted to’

Celtics Romeo Langford
Romeo Langford is looking forward to Summer League, even though he's required to be there. AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Celtics guard Romeo Langford — who has had a tumultuous start to his NBA career — is yet to play in a Summer League.

The 14th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Langford missed his first shot at summer games as he rehabbed from a thumb injury suffered during his lone season at Indiana. When he returned, he dealt with repeated ankle injuries before the NBA shut down for COVID-19 in March 2020. The NBA started up again in the Disney World bubble, and Langford showed some promise but was shut down before the conference finals to undergo wrist surgery.

Due to COVID-19, the NBA did not have a summer league in 2020, but Langford’s wrist rehab would have prohibited his participation anyway — he wasn’t cleared for basketball activities until March. When he was finally healthy, however, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and missed an additional month of action.

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So for Langford, a relatively normal offseason is something to be celebrated.

“This is my first summer where I’m not hurt and I’m able to be healthy and have no surgeries and stuff like that,” Langford said on Wednesday after the Celtics’ Summer League practice. “Being able to play the whole season, I feel like it’s moreso my rookie year just because of the setbacks and things that took place in my career so far.”

Langford said he can do “basically anything” now, although he highlighted his shooting as a major area of improvement.

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“I worked on it a lot, but just be able to catch the ball repetitively and getting a lot of game reps and stuff like that, I’m able to do way more with my hand just because it’s better now,” Langford said.

Langford said he’s happy to play Summer League, although he didn’t really have a choice.

“I kind of was able to choose if I wanted to play Summer League but kind of not,” Langford said. “I mean, it was like, basically, I had to play Summer League and I really didn’t care. I wanted to. It’s a chance to finally go out there and just play freely and do a lot more than what I do during the season.”

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The Celtics hope Langford can have a breakout season in his third year. A versatile guard at Indiana, he excelled with the ball in his hands — a natural pick-and-roll playmaker who finished well around the rim and played through contact. In the NBA, Langford showed flashes as a defender in his first two seasons — an encouraging sign if he can put the rest of his game together.

“I feel like I’m progressing really well,” Langford said. “I feel like I’m making big strides in all the aspects that the team and myself wants to work on. Now over the summer I’m really just focused on getting game reps and just playing my hardest and being healthier and ready for training camp.”

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