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After the Celtics dealt Aaron Nesmith to Indiana as part of the Malcolm Brodgon trade, Bleacher Report tweeted a photo of the Nickelodeon character Spongebob holding a paperclip and string.
“What the Celtics gave up for Brodgon,” the caption of the tweet read.
The Celtics traded Nesmith, along with Daniel Theis, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and a first-round pick to Indiana in exchange for Brogdon.
Nesmith addressed the tweet before Wednesday night’s game against the Celtics, saying he’s using it as motivation.
“As soon as the transaction happened, I saw the tweet and immediately saved it,” Nesmith said in a video from CLNS Media. “I’m someone who takes things personally and I think that helps me get better. It’s the reason I drive to the gym at night. Seeing that tweet will definitely always stay in my mind.”
The former Celtics first-round pick is averaging a career-high 26.7 minutes per game this season. He is shooting 52 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range.
Nesmith’s shooting ability was one of the qualities that stood out in his play while in college at Vanderbilt.
But according to the Pacers coach, he has also developed into one of the Pacers’ best defensive players Rik Carlisle.
“Lloyd Pierce, my lead assistant, really did a fantastic job with Aaron,” Carlisle said. “You know, helping him adjust. He has been one of our best defensive players. Obviously we all know he can shoot the ball very well, and he has developed other parts of his game as well. He drives it now. He writes very good, simple texts and is a very important part of what we do here.”
Carlisle described Nesmith as an “edgy competitor” who has benefited from the increased minutes. He acknowledged that there wasn’t much playing time available for Nesmith in Boston before he was sent to Indiana in the deal that brought Malcolm Brogdon to the Celtics.
Nesmith started four games in two seasons with the Celtics and averaged less than 15 minutes per game.
“There wasn’t much time for him to play. And so that was a challenge,” Carlisle said. “So when he comes in for short stints it’s difficult. I was one of those players who was in that situation regularly. And you know, it’s one of the most challenging things, but he’s obviously a guy who took advantage of a great opportunity with us. He really fits our organization.”
Celtics coach Mazzulla said players don’t get to choose which situations they’re called into and players need different amounts of time to develop.
Sometimes it can take a year for a player to find their niche, other times it can take several years, Mazzulla said.
“Aaron brought it every day, no matter the circumstances,” Mazzulla said. “And you kind of see the fruits of that work. I’m very happy for him and he deserves it.”
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