Done with the month of April, we are now officially closer to the end of the 2020-21 NBA season than we are to the start of the previous month, with the Boston Celtics’ slate of regular season games ending on May 16 against the New York Knicks.
It was a tough month with some flashes of brilliance for the Celtics, with a fair amount of winnable losses punctuated by injuries, illnesses and historic greatness. While even now, with the playoffs almost upon us, it is almost impossible to predict what version of Boston we will see in the postseason, we can assign some grades for the play we saw in April.
So with that in mind, let’s get to grading in our penultimate player progress report of the season.
Jaylen Brown: A-
Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Despite being as banged up as he has been at any point in the season, Brown's scoring improved -- partly as a result to shooting the 3 more and better in April. As far as we are concerned, that's good for an A- for the month.
Carsen Edwards: D+
Apr 15, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Alfonzo McKinnie (28) moves in for a basket against Boston Celtics guard Carsen Edwards (4) center Moritz Wagner (20) and forward Aaron Nesmith (26) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Edwards fell out of the rotation in April, his minutes dropping from 8.6 per game to 4.5, and his scoring to almost nil. We aren't saying he's done in the league, but his career is on life support.
Tacko Fall: C-
Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall (99) battles for a rebound against Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Fall took a step backwards in April, but not a big one. He doesn't get much time to play in the first place, and is mostly on the roster as a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency big, so we won't judge him too harshly.
Evan Fournier: B+
May 2, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) defends against Boston Celtics guard Evan Fournier (94) in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Fournier is especially tough to grade given everything he's been through and with no prior baseline to work with. But we have to give him a good overall grade given he's worked as hard as anyone to get and stay on the court despite serious COVID setbacks.
Luke Kornet: C+
Charlotte Hornets' Terry Rozier (3) shoots between Boston Celtics' Kemba Walker (8) and Luke Kornet (40) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 4, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Kornet is also a new arrival, making a baseline non-existent. But, based off of what he's done elsewhere before being dealt to Boston, his play has been solid if not especially inspiring overall.
Boston Celtics guard Romeo Langford (45) drives to the basket past Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott (1) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Almost a late-season addition in a sense himself, Langford has done well with the little opportunity he had in the month of April, struggling back from COVID as Fournier and others have been. We gave him a fairly neutral grade given he was able to help out mainly on the defensive end, even if his offense remains a work in progress.
Aaron Nesmith: C+
Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier, right, drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Aaron Nesmith (26) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
After strangely falling out of the rotation for the most part in March, Nesmith fought his way back into it in April, finishing on a high note that hints at even bigger roles. Had his last game not been in May, his would have been an even better grade.
Semi Ojeleye: D
Apr 11, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) dribbles the ball as Boston Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye (37) defends in the second half at TD Garden. The Celtics defeated the Nets 110-97. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
April saw Ojeleye's minutes drop by half despite more than a few opportunities to help shore up wing depth due to injury, and his numbers fell commensurately. Like Edwards, Ojeleye needs to find his game in a hurry if he wants to stick in this league.
Jabari Parker: C-
Boston Celtics' Jabari Parker and Golden State Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson battle for a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Yet another recent arrival -- the most recent, in fact -- Parker had some solid outings mixed with some mostly irrelevant ones in the few games he played in April. So long as you judge him in the context of his recent play, that's more or less what we expected from him.
Payton Pritchard: B-
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Payton Pritchard #11 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against Mike James #55 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on April 23, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Pritchard broke through the rookie wall in late April, finding a bit of the fire he burst onto the scene with for the Celtics early in the season. Had it come earlier in the month, his grade would have been higher, as was the case with Nesmith.
Marcus Smart: C
Apr 11, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) grabs a rebound away from Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the third quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Coming back from an extended injury towards the end of the prior month, we have to give Smart a bit of a pass early in April. But he was a little less focused and less effective all month compared to March, granting him one his worst grades in a while. We expect him to snap back to building on past gains in terms of picking his shots soon enough, and his distribution did improve in April, to his credit.
Jayson Tatum: A+
Apr 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and center Tristan Thompson (13) react after defeating the San Antonio Spurs in overtime at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Tatum took another leap forward in his development in April, dropping two record-setting games in the span of April while tuning up his overall game for good measure. If it's possible to have a better month, we're more than game to see it.
Tristan Thompson: B+
Apr 11, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Boston Celtics center Tristan Thompson (13) warms up before the game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: IMAGN-449046 ORIG FILE ID: 20210411_neb_ac4_028.JPG
Another returnee from COVID, Thompson increasingly found his groove last month, and fit his game to match what Boston needs more than at any time this season. While his overall numbers took a bit of a hit with the rise of Rob Williams III, this was his best month yet as a Celtic.
Kemba Walker: B+
Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) drives against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Walker's upward trend continued in April, as he began to retool his game to fit what this iteration of the Celtics need. It's not always easy for veterans to do that, and while it wasn't a big leap forward overall, it helped stabilize the team and spark a six-game winning streak.
Tremont Waters: C+
Apr 30, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Tremont Waters (51) drives the ball against San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV (1) in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Like Fall, we won't judge a player who rarely plays nor has much a chance to work on their game because of their role with the team. But Waters had some solid outings when his number was called, so we gave him an equally-solid assessment.
Grant Williams: C+
Apr 11, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) and forward Grant Williams (12) during the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Williams has had a rough a season as anyone on this team despite his shooting becoming more consistent. Some of that has been due to trying to learn a new role and new position to have a role with the team, in fairness. And though it may be too soon to judge whether the moves at the deadline gave him more opportunities to do what has shown he can well in the past, his game mostly stagnated last month.
Robert Williams III: A-
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) tries to block Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Timelord missed nearly half the month of April, but had really come into his own in the games he played, getting a shot at and earning the starting role. While his long-term health remains a concern for his future, we couldn't give Williams less than an A- for his second-straight month of outstanding play when healthy. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=49786,49779,49774,49759] [listicle id=49806]