SHOOTING FOR MORE: Guerschon Yabusele goes to the hoop during the Celtics’ victory Sunday night against the Charlotte Hornets at the Garden.
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He joined the Celtics for real last year as sort of a curiosity-slash-fan cuddly toy.

Guerschon Yabusele had, after all, been dubbed the Dancing Bear during the 2016 summer league by Celt assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry, and outside of video board legend “Gino,” he was the guy the Garden crowd most wanted to see before the game clock hit last call.

Alas, he got into just 33 games for a total of 235 minutes, but at least the lion’s share of that time (141 minutes) was at home. This season, however, the French import is making an early pitch for more — and earlier — playing time.

He had seven points and three rebounds in 16 minutes in the exhibition opener against Charlotte Friday and eight points and three boards in 12 minutes in Sunday’s return meeting at the Garden. Combined, he’s made 7-of-11 shots — 7-of-9 inside the 3-point arc.

In the latter outing, his inside work helped pull out a win as he created space with his lower body. It’s fair to say he’s on the all-Sir Mix-A-Lot team (Yabu got back), and the Celts seem more intent on playing to that strength.

Asked if the 6-foot-7 Yabusele has improved his understanding of where he can be effective, Brad Stevens fell on the sword.

“I don’t know if it’s him,” said the coach after yesterday’s practice. “I think maybe it’s me. You know, we’ve tried to make an emphasis this summer of using him more in the post. I don’t think I did a very good job of that last year.”

Yabusele looked a bit out of sorts last season, but perhaps some of that can be attributed to inconsistent playing time on a team that was accomplishing large things without him.

“I think that even last year I felt like he could do certain things,” said Al Horford, the Celts’ veteran big man. “It just wasn’t probably his time. But he’s the kind of guy that can score inside, creates a lot of space with his body, and he’s a good passer. He has a good feel for the ball. And then he hustles, so I just think that now when he gets the opportunities, you know, he needs to make sure his presence is felt, and I think he’s done that the first couple of exhibition games.”

When the subject of Yabusele knowing how to use his, ahem, assets was raised, Horford said, “Oh, yeah.” On the advantages of an, uh, lower center of gravity, he added, “It can be, but he makes it difficult to play (against) just the way that he plays. You know, him being active, I think that makes the difference. It’s not enough just to be big, right? His energy level is good, and we need him to stay like that.”

But even that may not be enough. The Celtics are deep and loaded, and there is room to wonder whether Yabusele will be able to carve out a role in the rotation.

“I’m trying to figure that out,” said Stevens. “Obviously, yes, everybody has their chance to shine. There’s no question. NBA seasons give you those opportunities just by the sheer numbers of it. But I think Guerschon’s ability to play as the 5 but also move his feet at the 4 may allow us to do some things against smaller lineups. We may be giving up a little bit on the defensive end, but his ability to post and rebound and do all those things I think are pretty important.”

What’s important to Yabusele is getting a chance. His goals are simple.

“Be able to get some minutes, help the guys on the court offensively and defensively,” he said. “Just try to bring my best and help the team win some games.

“I mean, I’m not the coach. I’m hoping that I’ll get some minutes and I’ll be in the rotation. I’m just going to see what they’re going to do, but I’m always going to be, like, hoping and positive about what’s going to happen.”

So far, so good.

“Definitely,” Yabusele said. “It’s been really good since we got back here. I’ve been practicing really hard. There’s a lot of guys, but we’ve been rotating, and I’ve had some good minutes to play in the games, so it’s good for my confidence.

“Confidence has always been important. Even when I wasn’t playing, the only think I tried to keep on me was the confidence, because when you play, even if it’s for a couple of minutes of the game, you still want to show and prove that you can do something.

“We’re always playing against different kinds of guys. (Sunday) they were kind of taller but (thinner), and I had the advantage to post. Some other games they might want me to be outside and dribble and do other stuff. It’s really going to depend.”

Similarly, his future with the Celtics is really going to depend on how much he plays this year and how valuable the club believes he is to their future. Yabusele makes $2,667,600 this season, and there are team options for $3.1 million and $4.8 million in the subsequent years.

“I’m not even thinking about what’s going to happen next or what’s going to happen next year,” he said. “I’m just focused about this season, focused about what’s going to happen and be ready. I just want to get some minutes and show what I can do.”

Getting into the game before “Gino” would be a good place to start.