Is Tacko Fall an NBA player? Here is the case for why... and why not

(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)

Is Tacko Fall an NBA player? Here is the case for why... and why not


Is Tacko Fall an NBA player? Here is the case for why... and why not

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Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall was one of the most interesting prospects to participate in the recent NBA summer league in Las Vegas.

According to Celtics executive Danny Ainge, the center is going to “have a chance” to make the roster for Boston. The team still has one spot to offer with 14 played currently on the books and based on his size, it is possible that Fall gets an opportunity. Would it be a smart decision for Boston to keep Fall?

During his college career, Fall averaged 10.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting a remarkable 74.0 percent from the floor.

In summer league competition connected on 77.3 percent of his attempts. It was a small sample size, though, considering he appeared on the floor for just 12.6 minutes per game.

During summer league, Fall finished Top 5 in Player Efficiency Rating among all qualified centers first eligible for the draft in 2019. But at one point, he led all qualified players in PER in the exhibition games.

His block percentage (12.4 percent) in summer league ranked second-best with the same qualifications.

Here are some of the best arguments for why he has a future in the league followed by counterarguments explaining what his floor may look like as a pro.

Why He Is An Nba Player

No one was surprised to learn that Fall’s height (7’7″), standing reach (10’2.5″), wingspan (8’2.25″), weight (288 pounds) and hand length (10.5 inches) are all ranked No. 1 in combine history.

Fall recorded the second-best two-point field goal percentage in the NCAA last season and ranked Top 5 during three of his four collegiate seasons.

The former UCF standout was one of the most efficient players in college basketball. He averaged 1.06 points per possession when operating in a set offense, which ranked in the 92nd percentile among all players.

Due to his size, the big man will continue to be dominant on putbacks when pulling down offensive rebounds. This is how he scored 1.4 baskets per game last season. Fall was also impressive when cutting to the basket, shooting 20-for-24 (83.3 percent) for UCF on these looks.

On the defensive side of the court, he had the best defensive rating among all college players in 2016-17. His defensive win shares ranked No. 6, while his block percentage ranked No. 11 that year. Last year, Fall’s 2.6 blocks per game ranked eighth-most as well.

Based on his frame, he is still a viable option as a rim protector in the league.

Why He Is Not An Nba Player

Even though Fall can be a strong defensive presence, his combine scores may have exposed some serious lapses when on the court.

His lane agility time (13.01 seconds), shuttle run (3.46 seconds), 3/4 quarter sprint (3.70 seconds), standing vertical (22.0 inches) and max vertical (26.5 inches) each rank in the sixth percentile or worse among big men who have ever participated in the combine, per

Overall, this ranked him below average (31.2 percent) when examining all the centers who have tested in these events.

When including passes, per Synergy Sports, approximately 60.0 percent of the offensive possessions he finished (7.1 possessions per game) were post-ups. In fact, he posted up more times per game than seven teams in the NBA did last year.

He likely won’t have the opportunity to post up as often as a pro, but it could be something he still does well when given the chance. But the problem is that he turned the ball over on 19.2 percent of these opportunities. Among players with as many possessions finished, that was better than just two D1 players.

Perhaps the biggest concern, however, is that he finished just 6.1 percent of his offensive possessions as the roll man in pick-and-roll sets. He had just 0.5 field goal attempts per game when operating in a pick-and-roll offense.

Nearly one-third of the offensive possessions the Celtics ran last year were from the pick-and-roll. For him to fully fit into the NBA, this is a skill set he will desperately need to develop.

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