Tacko Fall was one of the wild cards of the 2019 NBA draft. Fall’s place in the NBA was questioned by many pundits, fans, and front offices alike when he went undrafted in 2019. He’s 7-foot-5 with limited skills, but with that type of size, he was bound to get a trial run by somebody. That team was the Boston Celtics. While he has already made his NBA debut, however, Fall has spent a majority of the young season with their G League.
That could change soon, and when it does, Fall could get his permanent call up with the team.
The rise of Tacko Fall
Originally from Dakar, Senegal, Fall played soccer before picking up a basketball. Before long, he moved to America to pursue his hoop dreams in Houston. At just 16 years old, he was reported to be 7-6, and some believed that he would grow even taller. That appeared to be a falsehood, as he is now listed at 7-5.
Still, he turned heads with his play in high school, and after much interest from schools across the country, Fall attended the University of Central Florida, where he played for four years. Fall was limited on offense, but his size allowed him to do work on the boards and defense. He had a raw skillset, but his ability to use his length to his advantage made him a hot commodity.
In four years as a Knight, Fall put up 10 points and eight rebounds. His ability to stretch himself up for blocks on defense, however, was the selling point of him. Fall was known for his stopping ability, averaging over two blocks a game. From early on, there were rumors about his place in the NBA, and after his final season, he declared for the NBA draft.
Fall proves his place
Going undrafted is not a death knell for NBA players. There is a precedent for undrafted centers in the NBA enjoying successful careers, from Hall of Famer Ben Wallace to All-Star Brad Miller. Tacko Fall would have to put in the work and impress the scouts for the opportunity to enter the league. When the Boston Celtics gave him an invite to the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, that opportunity came.
Fall impressed in limited minutes, putting up seven points, grabbing four rebounds, and blocking 1.4 shots in just 12 minutes per game. That got him to the next step, an NBA training camp. The Celtics would invite him back to compete for a spot on the roster. Fall made the cut, although he was almost immediately sent to the G League, the perfect opportunity for a player like Fall to prove himself.
Tacko Fall introduces himself to the league
Fall did get some NBA minutes in an early game against the New York Knicks. He put up four points and three rebounds in just four minutes of playing time, but with the G League starting play, he packed his bags for Maine. There, he has been showing that he might belong on an NBA roster. Fall is averaging 15 points per game, well over his college averages, on top of 11 rebounds, almost two assists, and just under three blocks.
During one particularly dominant game between Fall’s Maine Red Claws and the Memphis Hustle, he proved to be especially dominant, scoring 16 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, a team-record 14 of them offensive. It’s safe to say that Tacko can cut it in the G League against lesser talent than the NBA has to offer, but will that translate over to the NBA?
The Celtics are struggling to get meaningful production from the center position after letting Al Horford go to Philadelphia over the offseason. On a team like Boston that has plenty of scorers, a player like Fall who can provide board-cleaning and defense could be the perfect fit for the team. Fall’s career is still a question mark, but early on, he has shown that he is more than just another giant in a league filled with them.