2022-2023 General Celtics thread

benhogan

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That’s 3-pt shooting though. There is always going to be short-term year-to year variance in this isolated area……I don’t call that an improvement. Last year he was a little below his career norm and so far this year a little higher. He could easily make 6 of his next 20 three’s then he’s back to last years “regression.”
Except Derrick pinpointed "3pt shooting", after the Finals, as the one thing he was going to work on this Summer.

If he starts missing (which he will) and turtles then he hasn't improved. BUT if he continues to not hesitate, it's fair to say we have seen improvement. It's mostly a body language thing (plus % improvement).

Here is a preseason article that discusses his off-season shooting work with Ben Sullivan and how disruptive last season was with the birth of his child/new surroundings

https://www.bostonsportsjournal.com/2022/09/29/nba-notebook-new-shot-guiding-derrick-white-into-second-celtics-season

It's also going to be hard for White to find shots with Tatum, Brown, Brogdon, Horford, Smart all in the pecking order ahead of him. Then he hits the floor with Grant/Hauser (PP sometimes). DW is going to see a ton of open 3s and driving lanes playing with that 2nd unit. He should see his offensive efficiency numbers go up.

On another note, the one thing you have never seen with Derrick is a negative ON/OFF or +/- over a season and wouldn't expect to see that going forward. The dude is an extremely high IQ player, does the dirty work, and takes what the defense gives him on offense.
 
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slamminsammya

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That’s 3-pt shooting though. There is always going to be short-term year-to year variance in this isolated area……I don’t call that an improvement. Last year he was a little below his career norm and so far this year a little higher. He could easily make 6 of his next 20 three’s then he’s back to last years “regression.”
This is a pretty stubborn take. Forget the numbers for a sec - he is noticeably more confident taking them this year.
 

tbrown_01923

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Confidence or not, I odn't know if it is "skill" - it could be comfort resulting form his stint with the team last year, then training camp this year. His release is quicker, but I can't tell if it is the lack of hestiancy or there has been a physical improvement there.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This is a pretty stubborn take. Forget the numbers for a sec - he is noticeably more confident taking them this year.
Was he not looking confident when he was making 4 or 5 in playoff games last year? Shooting by nature is streaky and confidence comes and goes. We have a multi-season sample of him shooting in the mid-30% range. He didn’t suddenly become bad last year or good this year. It’s standard variance.
 

slamminsammya

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Was he not looking confident when he was making 4 or 5 in playoff games last year? Shooting by nature is streaky and confidence comes and goes. We have a multi-season sample of him shooting in the mid-30% range. He didn’t suddenly become bad last year or good this year. It’s standard variance.
He still wasn't (to me). He was shooting those wide open but teams were still inviting him to shoot.

I am all for the math and the "this is just variance" but eye test counts too and maybe we won't agree on this but he's got a much more aggressive trigger this year to these imperfect basketball eyes.
 

Van Everyman

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Forget the numbers for a sec - he is noticeably more confident taking them this year.
It's mostly a body language thing (plus % improvement).
Agree. There were a lot of times last year where White looked like Ben Simmons shooting threes out there. Just horribly ugly shots that looked terrible coming out of his hands and when they hit the rim (if they hit the rim). The only reason I didn’t panic was that his career #s were fine and he was clearly learning a new offensive system. But it was hard to watch and that’s not the case at all right now.
 

slamminsammya

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An aside, "its standard variance" while true also discounts the possibility that the underlying cause of year to year variance may be related to player confidence.

You don't necessarily get the observed year to year variance in shooting just from treating these guys as standard statistical processes.

This is the phenomenon of "epistemic" versus "aleatoric" uncertainty. Epistemic uncertainty is where the underlying process has less uncertainty than we observe, because we don't have access to whatever underlying thing is producing the observed variance (like confidence for example, which we can't really measure). Aleatoric uncertainty is inherent to the thing itself, like flipping a coin there is no way to get better than a 50% chance of heads or tails for your prediction.
 

lovegtm

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Didn't he specifically work this summer on reworking his shooting form? The ball looks better off his hand, and he has fewer of those flat bricks he shot last year.

Confidence is important, and variance is important to acknowledge, but he's been doing work to improve the most improveable basketball skill.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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All I know is that a debate about whether Derrick White's improved offense is attributable to better mechanics or more confidence is orders of magnitude better than some of discussions we were having here this time last year.

This team is good and fun right now. May it stay that way all the way until 6/18/23 (if necessary they could get #18 on the 18th).
 

lexrageorge

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I wish they would be more precise, as it's really not that simple.

First, there is nothing that prevents a waived player from being traded back to the team that waived the player. However, if the team and the player agree to a buyout that reduces the amount of guaranteed money owed to that player, then the player cannot rejoin the team until either one year or the old contract would expire, which ever is later.

http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q66

The Gallo situation is a bit more complex. Originally, only $5M of Gallinari's $21M salary was guaranteed, but the guarantee date was June 29th. When the Spurs acquired Gallinari from Atlanta, in order to make the salaries match for the trade, his guaranteed salary was bumped to $13M, and the guarantee date was moved to July 8th. And the Spurs subsequently released Gallinari on the 8th. There are 2 ways, IMO, to interpret this transaction:

1.) Gallinari's guarantee was not reduced by the Spurs ($13M both before and after), so there is nothing blocking the Spurs from reacquiring him.

2.) Gallo's guarantee would have been $21M had he not been waived on July 8th, so the guarantee is considered reduced. In which case, the Spurs would not be able to acquire Gallinari in a trade.

It wouldn't kill these folks to clarify the details.
 

TomTerrific

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Boston had a sloppy defensive 2nd quarter last night but cleaned it up at the half.

While SSS, I wouldn't mind looking at the defensive stats in 2nd halves or late/close. Something to watch moving forward.
John Karalis from BSJ mentioned either yesterday or the day before on his Cs podcast that the Celtics were no. 1 in 4Q defense. Seems like that bodes well.
 

SteveF

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Playtype
2021-2022 Frequency
2021-2022 PPP
2022-2023 Frequency
2022-2023 PPP
Isolation​
8.5%​
.93​
7.3%​
1.02​
Transition​
14.3%​
1.08​
16.9%​
1.19​
P&R Ball Handler​
15.8%​
.88​
16.8%​
.96​
P&R Roll Man​
4.7%​
1.06​
4.5%​
1.14​
Post Up​
4.2%​
1.02​
3.4%​
.95​
Spot Up​
28.1%​
1.05​
25.4%​
1.18​
Handoff​
2.8%​
.92​
3.7%​
1.10​
Cut​
7.0%​
1.41​
5.3%​
1.38​
Off Screen​
4.8%​
1.00​
7.6%​
.99​
Putbacks​
5.0%​
1.17​
3.2%​
1.28​
Misc​
4.9%​
.53​
5.9%​
.75​
 

dhellers

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An aside, "its standard variance" while true also discounts the possibility that the underlying cause of year to year variance may be related to player confidence.

You don't necessarily get the observed year to year variance in shooting just from treating these guys as standard statistical processes.

This is the phenomenon of "epistemic" versus "aleatoric" uncertainty. Epistemic uncertainty is where the underlying process has less uncertainty than we observe, because we don't have access to whatever underlying thing is producing the observed variance (like confidence for example, which we can't really measure). Aleatoric uncertainty is inherent to the thing itself, like flipping a coin there is no way to get better than a 50% chance of heads or tails for your prediction.
Well stated. Given the hundreds of 3 pointers taken during a year; noticeable year to year variance is not likely to be caused by subsetting of instances of the same random variable.
More likely: something underlying changed. Perhaps this something that is some kind of year specific fixed effect (a silly example: sunspots affecting one's 3 point muscle memory ).
But more likely its better health, more practice, comfort with a system, etc. Not having a newborn on the way also helps!
 

Euclis20

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John Karalis from BSJ mentioned either yesterday or the day before on his Cs podcast that the Celtics were no. 1 in 4Q defense. Seems like that bodes well.
Celtics have averaged the 6th most points in the 4th quarter (27.9) and have allowed the 3rd fewest average points in the 4th quarter (25.1). Not too bad.
 

mcpickl

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I wish they would be more precise, as it's really not that simple.

First, there is nothing that prevents a waived player from being traded back to the team that waived the player. However, if the team and the player agree to a buyout that reduces the amount of guaranteed money owed to that player, then the player cannot rejoin the team until either one year or the old contract would expire, which ever is later.

http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q66

The Gallo situation is a bit more complex. Originally, only $5M of Gallinari's $21M salary was guaranteed, but the guarantee date was June 29th. When the Spurs acquired Gallinari from Atlanta, in order to make the salaries match for the trade, his guaranteed salary was bumped to $13M, and the guarantee date was moved to July 8th. And the Spurs subsequently released Gallinari on the 8th. There are 2 ways, IMO, to interpret this transaction:

1.) Gallinari's guarantee was not reduced by the Spurs ($13M both before and after), so there is nothing blocking the Spurs from reacquiring him.

2.) Gallo's guarantee would have been $21M had he not been waived on July 8th, so the guarantee is considered reduced. In which case, the Spurs would not be able to acquire Gallinari in a trade.

It wouldn't kill these folks to clarify the details.
I'm pretty sure San Antonio could trade for Gallinari this year if they wanted.

If the stretched his cap hit when they waived him they couldn't, but they took his full cap hit this season.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Well stated. Given the hundreds of 3 pointers taken during a year; noticeable year to year variance is not likely to be caused by subsetting of instances of the same random variable.
More likely: something underlying changed. Perhaps this something that is some kind of year specific fixed effect (a silly example: sunspots affecting one's 3 point muscle memory ).
But more likely its better health, more practice, comfort with a system, etc. Not having a newborn on the way also helps!
Although I agree he looks to be shooting with more confidence, I think most people tend to underestimate how much variance is associated with binomial outcomes. There's a 1-in-6 chance that a career 34% 3-pt shooter hits at least 40% of their first 54 3-pt attempts in a season.
 

slamminsammya

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Although I agree he looks to be shooting with more confidence, I think most people tend to underestimate how much variance is associated with binomial outcomes. There's a 1-in-6 chance that a career 34% 3-pt shooter hits at least 40% of their first 54 3-pt attempts in a season.
Yes, but on the flip side there is an extremely small chance of seeing that kind of variance over the 370 ish attempts of a full season under the assumption that the "true skill" hasn't changed.
 

Jakarta

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I'm pretty sure San Antonio could trade for Gallinari this year if they wanted.

If the stretched his cap hit when they waived him they couldn't, but they took his full cap hit this season.
Can someone explain the logic behind this? I understand the old Gary Payton rule, where a team trades a player, the new team waives him, and then the new team signs him. But this seems very different. A team waives a player, a new team signs him, and then the 2 teams agree on trade compensation. What is the league trying to prevent by stopping a trade like this from happening?
 

lexrageorge

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Can someone explain the logic behind this? I understand the old Gary Payton rule, where a team trades a player, the new team waives him, and then the new team signs him. But this seems very different. A team waives a player, a new team signs him, and then the 2 teams agree on trade compensation. What is the league trying to prevent by stopping a trade like this from happening?
If I have the rule correct (a big if), if a team negotiates a buyout with a player that reduces that player's guaranteed money, then that team cannot reacquire that player until the player's original contract would have ended. That makes sense to me: if a team reduces its salary obligation through a buyout, then being able to reacquire the player could be considered circumventing the cap.

I'll give an unrealistic example that illustrates the reason: let's say the Lakers negotiate a buyout with LeBron James next summer to the tune of $20M; they Lakers would instantly free up $37M of cap space to use to sign a big name player. Then they sign James using the MLE so that James can be on a title contender for his final seasons. Or some other team signs James to a smaller contract, and the Lakers later reacquire James using a trade exception they got by, for example, trading Westbrook at this season's deadline.

In the case of Gallinari, the Spurs did no such thing; they simply waived Gallo just before the balance of his 2022-23 salary would have been guaranteed. Gallinari still got his guaranteed $13M, which is still sitting on the Spurs' books. There is no circumvention if the Spurs reacquire Gallinari. But the NBA CBA has lots of obscure clauses, so who really knows, and Gallinari did agree to move back the date of his salary guarantee in order to facilitate his trade from the Hawks. So it's possible that the moving of that guarantee date triggers the same restriction.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Where are the “Horford is ready to retire after this year” crew? He’s been playing like he’s got another 2-3 good years in the tank.
 

lovegtm

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Where are the “Horford is ready to retire after this year” crew? He’s been playing like he’s got another 2-3 good years in the tank.
You've been all over the fact that his style of game ages well; I'll admit I was skeptical. We also maybe underestimate how athletic he was to start his career, and how much of that he maintained over the years by taking care of his body. He was the #3 pick for a reason, and seems to be in the top 1-3% of the NBA aging curve too.
 

lovegtm

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Jared Weiss gets Mazzulla quotes on timeout philosophy:
There haven’t been many things about the rookie coach to criticize so far, save for his defensive scheme decisions and fluctuating center choices. But his lack of timeouts while leads are slipping has been the focus of the mildest bit of controversy during his early tenure.
It’s early in the season, and the team is trying to ingrain positive habits. The Celtics winning so much, he might as well give them a little attrition, right?
“I love it. I absolutely love it. I think you have to go through that as a team,” Mazzulla told reporters in New Orleans. “But in order for us to be a great team, we have to handle those situations, we have to build an awareness, and we have to execute.”
Mazzulla likes seeing his players work up a sweat with their backs against the wall. How can they learn to stand tall if they’re sitting on the bench? He said he wants the team to execute its way out of a hole, trusting that the players know exactly what to do and that they just need to actually do it. At this point of the season, when growth may be more prescient than results, it makes sense to Mazzulla.
If he really thought a timeout would save them, he’d call it. But he’s not sold.
“Quite honestly, I’ve watched a lot of timeouts when you call one and then nothing good happens after the timeouts,” Mazzulla said. “It’s like a 50-50 shot the timeout’s going to work.”
The irony: The one time he ran out on the floor to call a timeout was while Al Horford was pulling off a shocking behind-the-back move on the break. White had just rattled off five points to push the lead back to 15 and had blocked a CJ McCollum shot to kick off a fast break.

Mazzulla wanted to switch something up, so he bailed out of the fast break, got Jayson Tatum back on the floor and swapped Horford for Luke Kornet. The Celtics hit 3s on the next two possessions, pushing the lead to a game-high 19 points. New Orleans pushed back a few more times, but this moment was the difference that prevented the Pelicans’ fourth-quarter run from tying the score.
“There’s definitely a time when you have to call them,” Mazzulla said. “But a timeout doesn’t guarantee anything, except for two minutes of rest, I guess.”
And on Derrick White's improved shot:
The most apparent improvement in his shot is how quickly he dips the ball and gets up a higher release. His shot arc has a nice rainbow to it, and the ball looks like it’s going up more than out of his fingers.
He’s always been able to remain effective when left open because he is so quick to attack closeouts and make a smart pass when he gets into the paint. But he’s also shooting the ball well under tighter contests, still able to stay in his rhythm because he just shoots it faster now by default.
https://theathletic.com/3912472/2022/11/19/celtics-winning-streak/
 

BaseballJones

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It sure doesn't appear that the insane Ime situation negatively affected this team on the court.

I'd also say that the insane Miller situation doesn't seem to have negatively affected the Bruins on the ice either.

Two solid groups of professional athletes, not being rankled by what could have been huge negative distractions.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Last night was another game where the Celtics didn't quite have it, yet they won anyway. They started out hot from three which eventually led to a lot of "chuck up a three at the first opportunity" possession. They hit ten threes in the first quarter and then only 10 more for the rest of the game. Ballhandling sloppiness was also an issue in the second half and nearly cost them the game. But it did not as the Celtics outplayed the Pelicans down the stretch.

New Oreans was without Zion and lost Trey Murphy to injury during the game. Boston was without Smart. Brogdon returned, but this was very much a "shaking the rust off" game for him. Unlike Wednesday night, when the Celtic bench did a lot of heavy lifting, the bench struggled in this one and it was the starters who made the difference.

Jaylen Brown led the team in scoring with 27 on 50% shooting from 2 and 3, and he had a team leading 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals. But, Brown also had 7 turnovers and was part of the reason New Orleans had a chance at the end. Tatum had a poor shooting game (6 of 18, 2 of 10 from three), but had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and a team-leading 10 assists, with only 3 turnovers. All in all, it seemed like, unlike Wendesday night, Tatum and Brown were more ball dominant, leading to some good and some bad.

Derrick White had another great game. This time, he shot the lights out: 9 of 12 from the field, 6 of 8 from three, 26 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover. Not sure why the Celtics didn't have him initiating the offense more but they didn't.

Grant was decent: shot well, 12 points, 5 rebounds, an assist.

The bench struggled in this one, starting with Brogdon, who had missed the previous 4 games. In 18 minutes he shot 1 for 8, 1 for 5 from three, and scored only 5 points. He did at 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. Pritchard barely played: 5 minutes during which he was a -10. Kornet wasn't great either. In 15 minutes, he had 4 points, 6 rebounds, an assist and a block and was a -10. He hit his only shot, which came on a pick and roll from Brogdon who hit him with a perfect feed. He can be an effective pick and roll finisher, but the Celtics who are pick and roll ballhanders need to learn how to pass to him - not the name as passing to Rob.

Sam Hauser missed his first 3 three attempts before hitting his last 2, leading to a scoring line of 2 of 7, 2 of 5 from three, 6 points. One of the two-point misses was getting his layup attempt blocked after a great offensive rebound. Hauser also had 4 rebounds and 2 assists in 21 minutes. His most notable contribution in this one came on the defensive end, where New Orleans repeatedly tried to hunt him and didn't come away with a whole lot to show for it. Mostly he is able to play good positional defense and force guys to beat him, which they often don't. He doesn't usually get blown by in one on one situations, and I think that's what the Celtics want from him. I don't think he gets over picks well - usually when his man gets an open drive it is because Hauser got stuck on a pick.

This was the kind of game the Celtic lose if they aren;t one of the top teams in the league.
 

tims4wins

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They seem pretty obviously to be the best team in the league right now, but it's a long season.
Agree.
I didn't say it was a bad thing. :)
Didn't mean to imply that. Just thinking on whether it means they are coasting a bit too much. But I think I lean no. Because it is a long season and in the end it doesn't matter if they win by 8 or by 38. I think we all saw enough from the 90s Bulls and the 00s Spurs where they'd play at like 80% for 3 quarters, then just close out the game strong. Probably helps with load management, etc. So long as they're good enough to turn it up in the playoffs, which it seems quite obvious that they will be.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Didn't mean to imply that. Just thinking on whether it means they are coasting a bit too much. But I think I lean no. Because it is a long season and in the end it doesn't matter if they win by 8 or by 38. I think we all saw enough from the 90s Bulls and the 00s Spurs where they'd play at like 80% for 3 quarters, then just close out the game strong. Probably helps with load management, etc. So long as they're good enough to turn it up in the playoffs, which it seems quite obvious that they will be.
If these were round 1 playoff games or late season games where the team was fighting for seeding or homecourt, I think one could reasonably be concerned. Too early for that, and in the midst of a long winning streak besides.
 

tims4wins

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If these were round 1 playoff games or late season games where the team was fighting for seeding or homecourt, I think one could reasonably be concerned. Too early for that, and in the midst of a long winning streak besides.
Right. IIRC you were kind of all over it in the playoffs, that their wins were harder than they should have been? Or maybe it was that they would follow up wins with losses and didn't have their foot on the gas enough / killer instinct?
 

Eddie Jurak

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Right. IIRC you were kind of all over it in the playoffs, that their wins were harder than they should have been? Or maybe it was that they would follow up wins with losses and didn't have their foot on the gas enough / killer instinct?
They ultimately did not win a title because their execution under pressure wasn't good enough (meaning, the Warriors were better at it). That was frustrating to watch, because I think the raw talent was there, the desire to win was there, but the execution, esepcially late in close games, was hit or miss. Probably just the sign of a young team that was missing one key piece and playing through injuries, but still frustrating to see.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Probably my biggest complaint of the last couple seasons has been that when things got tight, they didn’t have anything in the bag to get good shots consistently.

I think they have learned a lot about how their offense is meant to work, the value of their own gravity, the value of moving without the ball AND getting their studs the ball in motion, etc. Meanwhile they have four big minute guys shooting the lights out (and none are JB/JT which I see as a good thing) in part because they are always freaking open. They still play some iso (as you should with JT) but I see a lot less of that fear of “if I pass the ball I might not get it back.”

They are simply working opposing defenses. It’s a joy to witness, and I’m loving that the scheme is rolling no matter who sits out, so perpetually banged up guys like Brogdon and Smart should be able to get plenty of rest throughout the year as needed.
 
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Need to mention Big Al too. 18/7 on 7-8 shooting (4-5 from 3). Had a big fast break dunk that helped stall one of the mini-runs that New Orleans went on late.
 

benhogan

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Nits to be picked:

I'd like to see this team work on and develop more options in late/close. JB or JT in ISO from the top seems like their fallback position. Live turnovers at the top (the most devastating play in basketball) is the main reason playoff series were extended last year and how the Pels stayed close in the 2nd half. JT/JB isolation/dribble fest is too predictable.

They turned to Marcus "ball handler/attacker/distributor" a few games back in crunch time. More of that from Smart, Brogdon, White to add some variety to their end-of-the-game repertoire. JT/JB getting downhill from the wing, off screens/actions, is when they are at their best.
 

lovegtm

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Nits to be picked:

I'd like to see this team work on and develop more options in late/close. JB or JT in ISO from the top seems like their fallback position. Live turnovers at the top (the most devastating play in basketball) is the main reason playoff series were extended last year and how the Pels stayed close in the 2nd half. JT/JB isolation/dribble fest is too predictable.

They turned to Marcus "ball handler/attacker/distributor" a few games back in crunch time. More of that from Smart, Brogdon, White to add some variety to their end-of-the-game repertoire. JT/JB getting downhill from the wing, off screens/actions, is when they are at their best.
Is crunchtime offense actually a problem? I'm guessing the numbers are good, and last night the issues came in the late 3rd and early 4th. The final 6 minutes of the 4th were a textbook closeout.
 

joe dokes

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Nits to be picked:

I'd like to see this team work on and develop more options in late/close. JB or JT in ISO from the top seems like their fallback position. Live turnovers at the top (the most devastating play in basketball) is the main reason playoff series were extended last year and how the Pels stayed close in the 2nd half. JT/JB isolation/dribble fest is too predictable.

They turned to Marcus "ball handler/attacker/distributor" a few games back in crunch time. More of that from Smart, Brogdon, White to add some variety to their end-of-the-game repertoire. JT/JB getting downhill from the wing, off screens/actions, is when they are at their best.
I think this is where being Celtic-centric can hurt a bit. I think *every* alpha player at Tatum's and Brown's level does this from time to time.
 

benhogan

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Is crunchtime offense actually a problem? I'm guessing the numbers are good, and last night the issues came in the late 3rd and early 4th. The final 6 minutes of the 4th were a textbook closeout.
It's not a problem, but it's a place where they could improve with additional or prioritized options.
 

lovegtm

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benhogan

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It's certainly more glaring when JB has 4-5 terrible turnovers in the 4th less than 24 hours ago.
Without the take foul, it's even more glaring. The live turnover at the top turns a ~ +1 PPP to a -2 (opposing layup). It also has negative implications if you believe in momentum, player energy, and crowd effect.

Three-point shooting + ball security has led to a record-breaking offense.