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Oshae Brissett Talks Bringing Energy to Celtics after Finding Role with Pacers

LAS VEGAS — Oshae Brissett stopped thinking about leading a team in his three years with the Indiana Pacers. He saw highs, averaging over 10 points per game in a hot-shooting 2021 season before his role decreased in 2023 when Indiana’s wing position became more crowded and the team emerged as a fringe playoff contender.

That year concluded his three-year Pacers contract he earned through G-League stints between Fort Wayne and his native Mississauga near Toronto. The G-League draft and a 10-day opportunity landed him in Indiana during the league’s COVID surge. That process allowed him to find his NBA role.

“Understanding who I am,” Brissett told CLNS Media in his first interview since signing with the Celtics. “It was a little up and down, we were a team on the rise trying to figure out what they wanted to do. I feel like I did a good job of knowing who I am as a player. I didn’t try to get out of that. Coming to Boston, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want to stay who I am, I’m a hard playing guy, get a rebound, cheer my guys on, defend, shoot open threes and get to the basket.”

Boston signed Brissett to a two-year, $4.6 million contract with a player option in the second season shortly before trading Grant Williams to Dallas in a deal that netted Williams $53-million guaranteed and a role. Adding Kristaps Porziņģis filled that front court role, and Brissett brings depth and the flexibility to play smaller along the perimeter without needing to guarantee minutes, something that reportedly influenced Williams’ decision to depart Boston. At 25 — he maintains some upside to improve and grow into a new system.

Brissett sees himself fitting into an energizer role off the bench, or in spot starts without the need for regular ball time when he does play. The Celtics will ask him to shoot more threes and hone his release, with his already large share of open attempts in Indiana set to increase further when he plays next to Tatum. Brissett struggled to finish at the rim during his Indiana run, though his timely and persistent cuts could add a new layer to an offense that shares some of the pace and free-flowing tendencies to the Pacers’.

“(Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum) got the rock. They can do what they want,” Brissett said. “Imma go crash and rebound. I feel like I got the easy job. That’s what they do. I’m excited to watch. Excited to play with them. Excited to just be a part of the team, be out here and show what I can do as well.”

Brad Stevens and Joe Mazzulla called Brissett last week before he arrived alongside rookie Jordan Walsh to officially sign their contracts. Brissett, a Canadien who starred for two seasons at Syracuse before entering the 2019 draft and carving out a career as an undrafted free agent, doesn’t know Boston well and will continue the early stages of officially moving with his fiancé, staying around the facility and getting to know teammates.

Malcolm Brogdon played alongside Brissett from 2020-22 and reached out to Brissett after the signing, further indication alongside Stevens talking about Brogdon as part of the team going forward that the pair will reunite this year. Brissett in some way replaces Williams after last week’s sign-and-trade, playing at similar heights and wingspans at the same position.

Williams, one of the league’s more consistent catch-and-shoot threats in recent years, won’t be easily replaced by the slashing Brissett, who has shown flashes in that role, including a career-high six threes in a blowout win over the Celtics in 2022. Joe Mazzulla, as Walsh noticed in his early workouts at the Celtics’ facility, will stress Brissett attempts as many as he ever did before.

“I was just hot,” Brissett said, laughing and remembering a celebration he set up that night with teammate Terry Taylor. “It was just one of those days. I’m hoping to have a couple of those this year.”

 

Bobby Manning

Boston Celtics beat reporter for CLNS Media and host of the Garden Report Celtics Post Game Show. NBA national columnist for Boston Sports Journal. Contributor to SB Nation's CelticsBlog. Host of the Dome Theory Sports and Culture Podcast on CLNS. Syracuse University 2020.

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