Celtics rookie Romeo Langford lovin' the opportunity to play early


BOSTON -- Coaches tell players all the time to stay ready because they never know when their chance to play will come. 

Chalk it up as one of the many lessons Boston Celtics rookie Romeo Langford is learning this season. 

Langford has been among the first reserves Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has looked to off the bench in Boston’s last two games - both wins. 

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It’s a bit surprising when you consider the amount of games Langford has missed this season due to injuries. 

But it also serves as a reminder of the Celtics’ confidence in Langford, selected by Boston with the 14th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, and the chances that we’ll see him sooner rather than later in tonight’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. 

“That feels good, being one of the first people off the bench,” Langford, who had a career-high six points in Boston’s blowout win over Detroit on Friday, told NBC Sports Boston.

It was indeed a very different kind of game from his previous outing against Dallas where Langford readily admits he wasn’t nearly as comfortable in that game as he was against the Pistons.

“I was ready; just a little tentative,” he said. “I didn’t want to do too much or rather, try and do too much, just stay in my role and do whatever is needed.”

At 6-foot-6 with a near-7 foot wingspan, Langford’s defensive potential is undeniable. 

But that length can also serve him well as another scoring option that might get a few more good looks now than later down the road due to teams not exactly having him all that high on the scouting report. 

And while the Celtics won’t be counting on Langford to carry the team or anything like that, he will be seen as someone who can become a contributor of some sorts be it as a scorer or defender. 

That becomes even more important as the Celtics gear up for a brutal stretch of games in January which will also coincide with Boston looking to institute a bit of load management for its more experienced players. 

Such a move will force Boston to dig a little deeper into their bench and turn to folks who have limited time this season; players like Langford who has appeared in three games while logging just under 24 minutes of court time this season. 

There’s no guarantee that the Celtics will continue playing him in the first quarter or for that matter, in games. 

“But you always have to be ready,” Langford said. “You never know. You have to be ready. You never know when it’s going to be your night to step up.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Hornets, which tips off Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Tommy have the call at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

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