CelticsBlog exit interview: Semi Ojeleye
/ Celtics

By wjsy

Semi Ojeleye looks like the brainchild of an overzealous NBA2K MyPlayer. Biceps? 100. Triceps? 100. Thickness? 100. Even his full name is thick: Jesusemilore Talodabijesu Ojeleye. Coming out of SMU, Ojeleye looked like your typical 3&D guy. After transferring from Duke, he was the 2017 American Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year, averaging 19 points per game and hitting 42.4% from behind the arc. A projected first round pick last summer, Ojeleye slipped into the second round, the Celtics nabbed him at #37, and he became a reliable contributor in his rookie season.

Don’t look at Semi’s stats to measure his value. Even in his most active stretch to close the season when he averaged 23.2 minutes per game, he was only averaging 4.3 points and 3.4 rebounds. At the beginning of the year when his minutes were spotty and inconsistent, his three-point shooting was the same. He hovered under the Mendoza line of 33%, but when his number was called in March and April, he caught fire from behind the arc and hit 45.8% of his 1.6 3FGA’s.

However, Ojeleye’s calling card was his defensive versatility. He doesn’t have the pesky on-ball sticktoitiveness of Avery Bradley or the unpredictable gambling mentality of Marcus Smart. Ojeleye is more like a concrete highway barrier on a hyperboard, swiftly and solidly guiding traffic away from the paint with his quick feet and upper Body By Jake. In the playoffs, his ability to slide down to the 4 and cover superstars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons, and LeBron James gave Brad Stevens the freedom to move Horford to the 5 and the Celtics to play small....

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