Analysis of Celtics Games (2020-2021)

Imbricus

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Didn't see this thread, so I thought someone should start it ...

A few impressions from the first game of the season: (1) I liked that version of Smart, where he's pouring his energy into defense, his shooting is minimal, and he's busy distributing the ball. Not sure how happy he is with that role, but I think it's the ideal one. (2) Teague + Thompson looked like a huge upgrade over Wanamaker + Kanter (Kanter was 7 for 7 for Portland last night, but probably a sieve on defense, as usual) (3) Semi! (Or is it Shemmy?) I had given up on him last year, then last night we got a great Euro step and clever pass within two minutes. Real or mirage? He often looked good, though he still stands like a statue on defense after someone blows by him. (4) It will be interesting to see where the offense comes from when Jaylen and Jayson don't have a great game at the same time (5) Only six turnovers last night -- very good sign! (6) Interestingly, a few times they were overpassing, but it was nice to see after they woefully underpassed in both preseason games. (7) Grant seemed kind of meh. I think there'll be some intense competition to be in the rotation, and all the players know it, so he better pick up his game.
 

TripleOT

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The big starting lineup with TT and Theis can be really good defensively. It wasn’t in the first quarter, but got it together in the third.

The season to season improvement of Jaylen Brown was on display, with a more mature pull up game once he dipped a foot into the paint. Those turnaround 10-14 footers were money. Also, seeing Jaylen being chosen as the player to take (and make) a technical foul shot was particularly pleasing.

Brown is going to need to be the alpha scorer with the subs once Tatum sits in the first. After struggling in the first quarter in that role against the Bucks, and in the pre-season games, he picked it up in the second half. JB with a 33/5/4/2/1 and no turnovers, on 24 shots and a perfect 4-4 from the line.

Teague is on fire from three, 4-4, and had a ton of opportunities close to the hoop, but converted only 3 of 11 of them. 19/3/4/2/1 in 25 minutes with no turnovers. Celtics bench 34, Bucks 12.

Tatum had a couple of really nice strong drives to the hoop with flip finishes. That’s something he worked on in the short offseason. The one where he flipped it in late in the game where it looked at first like a potential alley oop to Theis was particularly sweet. Still not getting ref respect. You don’t see many 30 point games where a player gets zero FT attempts, despite driving ten times to the hoop.
 

lovegtm

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Tatum got tons of ref respect in the playoffs; not worried there. Bucks are maybe the worst matchup in the league for him in particular.

Teague and TT look like very good signings. I'm a lot less worried about depth than I was a few days ago, and I liked the signings. Brad seems inclined to find depth by just playing Theis/TT/GWill/TL a lot, and together. That's obviously offensively limited, but it can probably lead to a decent amount of regular season wins just from putting the clamps on defensively.
 

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The bench going 7/11 from three was terrific. Not high volume but very efficient.

I wish there was a stat for turnovers forced, combining steals, blocks, charges drawn, and those little things that don’t show up on a traditional stat sheet like forcing a player to throw it away, or tipping a ball off another player OOB (as Teague did on DiVicenzo fast break).
 

BigSoxFan

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That late call for the Bucks was BS. Seems like that happens a bit too often for GA against us.
Calls like that last one is what makes games against Milwaukee so annoying to watch. I get superstar treatment and all that but the Giannis treatment is gratuitous. Would have been livid if we lost in OT but, thankfully, the ball don't lie.
 

128

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Tatum's prayer was answered, and for that we're all thankful. But that was an extraordinarily low-percentage shot with Giannis defending, and I'd like to think Stevens could draw up something better than that with so much time on the clock.

Better to be lucky than good, but luck is not a strategy.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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I think the biggest takeaway from last night was that Jeff Teague >>>> Brad Wanamaker. Having a legitimate backup PG is such a refreshing change. He isn't going to go 4-4 on threes every game, but he can handle the ball, make some passes, and isn't a total black hole on offense other than open catch and shoot threes.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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PedroKsBambino

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The problem with that interpretation is Giannis makes contact with his off arm first to lever up. There’s simply no way to argue that if the second touch (TT’s to the body) is a foul that the first isn’t. And of course the first foul is what matters.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Tatum's prayer was answered, and for that we're all thankful. But that was an extraordinarily low-percentage shot with Giannis defending, and I'd like to think Stevens could draw up something better than that with so much time on the clock.

Better to be lucky than good, but luck is not a strategy.
First game of the season; JT wanted to go at giannis (he got giannis switched on to him); and he went to the move he works on every day. I hope he doesn't do this when games count but I think JT was trying to prove something.

also JT had hit another 3 over Giannis earlier in the game so he had confidence. :cool: 8
I think the biggest takeaway from last night was that Jeff Teague >>>> Brad Wanamaker. Having a legitimate backup PG is such a refreshing change. He isn't going to go 4-4 on threes every game, but he can handle the ball, make some passes, and isn't a total black hole on offense other than open catch and shoot threes.
Teague is opposite of GWill - instead of going 0-25 from 3P to start the season, he's going 25-25. Including 2 pre-season games, he's 9-9 so just a bit longer to go.
 

lovegtm

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The bigger problem is that Thompson or Theis should have just been planted under the rim in that situation, since the Celtics weren’t guarding the in-bounder. Once TT had to move to stay with Giannis, all kinds of wackiness becomes possible.
 

jimv

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TT's off-arm made contact with GA as they went up; came off GA; and then made contact again with GA going to floor
Exactly this, TT extends his arm while his forearm is in GA's chest. The arm extension gets the whistle.

Can someone start a complaining about the refs thread, otherwise this sort of thing will infect all threads
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The problem with that interpretation is Giannis makes contact with his off arm first to lever up. There’s simply no way to argue that if the second touch (TT’s to the body) is a foul that the first isn’t. And of course the first foul is what matters.
If you pause the video in the tweet at 21 seconds, it looks like TT's right arm is holding GA's left arm down. That's probably the call. Weak for last second play but not completely made up out of thin air.
 

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As much as I dislike Teague going back to his Wake days, agree with others that he is a clear upgrade and great fit on this roster.
 

bigq

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The Celtics defense was not great in general particularly in the 1st and 4th quarters when the Bucks scored 34 and 37 points respectively however they pestered Giannis all night forcing him into 7 TOs and 5 personal fouls (should have been more). Seeing Smart repeatedly punking Giannis on defense was a joy to watch. Overall the Bucks had 16 TOs for the night which along with strong Boston bench play and JT and JB turning it on were key to the win. The Celtics did get killed on the boards (Bucks with a 59-44 edge) but that is not surprising given how big the Bucks team is and how good they are at rebounding (led the league each of the past two seasons).

I was expecting the Celtics to lose last night and it was fantastic to see them come out on top against one of the best teams in the NBA. I’m so happy the NBA is back.
 

BaseballJones

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The Tatum three at the end was pure trash. Running a play to iso him on Giannis is insane, and for him to take a 25 foot step back three with Giannis defending (much taller and longer and an elite defender) is an awful call. And the shot itself was terrible. It was so bad...it happened to bank in.

Brad has to come up with something better than that from now on. I'd love JT on an open look at the end, but that....wasn't that. That was about as hard a shot as you can take. Supremely lucky it went in. Total brick.
 

PedroKsBambino

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If you pause the video in the tweet at 21 seconds, it looks like TT's right arm is holding GA's left arm down. That's probably the call. Weak for last second play but not completely made up out of thin air.
Right but that’s after Giannis pushes off at 13. That’s the problem. No question there was TT contact, it just didn’t happen first.

Feels like a really tough to defend sequence—it’s like calling a touch DPI after the WR pushes off.
 

joe dokes

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The Tatum three at the end was pure trash. Running a play to iso him on Giannis is insane, and for him to take a 25 foot step back three with Giannis defending (much taller and longer and an elite defender) is an awful call. And the shot itself was terrible. It was so bad...it happened to bank in.

Brad has to come up with something better than that from now on. I'd love JT on an open look at the end, but that....wasn't that. That was about as hard a shot as you can take. Supremely lucky it went in. Total brick.
I think I read that the Bucks hadn't switched all night, so it might not have been designed as a play to have Tatum iso against Giannis; it ended up that way after the switch with Smart. If Brown had set the pick, maybe Tatum passes to him. (probably not).
All that said, I have hated the "pound the ball into the floor when the clock is running down iso play" since Pierce. I haven't seen any analysis, but that can;t be the most effective play, can it? Even if its usually the best player doing the pounding-iso.
 

lovegtm

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The Tatum three at the end was pure trash. Running a play to iso him on Giannis is insane, and for him to take a 25 foot step back three with Giannis defending (much taller and longer and an elite defender) is an awful call. And the shot itself was terrible. It was so bad...it happened to bank in.

Brad has to come up with something better than that from now on. I'd love JT on an open look at the end, but that....wasn't that. That was about as hard a shot as you can take. Supremely lucky it went in. Total brick.
The problem with the design was that Smart was nearby, so Giannis was able to switch. A Tatum iso on Middleton is a good outcome.

You have to keep in mind that it’s important to run out the clock in that spot. Leaving Milwaukee with even 1-2 seconds is probably 25%+ they make a shot. Given that, a ~40% Tatum shot with the clock running under a second is what you want.

The problem was not clearing out the floor to avoid a Giannis switch.
 

lovegtm

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I think I read that the Bucks hadn't switched all night, so it might not have been designed as a play to have Tatum iso against Giannis; it ended up that way after the switch with Smart. If Brown had set the pick, maybe Tatum passes to him. (probably not).
All that said, I have hated the "pound the ball into the floor when the clock is running down iso play" since Pierce. I haven't seen any analysis, but that can;t be the most effective play, can it? Even if its usually the best player doing the pounding-iso.
It’s definitely the most effective, because normal plays don’t run the clock down predictably.

Think of it this way: if you leave 3 seconds on the clock, the other team can probably get a 30%+ shot off. You can take whatever FG% you got from running better offense and subtract that.
 

greek_gawd_of_walks

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The other thing about the refs gifting Giannis that call is the play design. The alley-oop was certainly out of necessity, but worked two fold by shining a giant ass spotlight of the league's face going up the ladder with Thompson on an island fighting for position. Everyone's eyes were on them, and it puts the refs in a space where they can invent and embellish what little contact there was.

Thank God the ball don't lie. I only wished that Giannis air balled it.
 

benhogan

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I wish there was a stat for turnovers forced, combining steals, blocks, charges drawn, and those little things that don’t show up on a traditional stat sheet like forcing a player to throw it away, or tipping a ball off another player OOB (as Teague did on DiVicenzo fast break).
I was thinking the same thing. Smart takes 3-4 charges last night and he has a 0 in the steals column.
Another example of why +/- and on/off are more relevant for defense (over a large sample size) than classic stats like steals & blocks per game.
 
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joe dokes

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It’s definitely the most effective, because normal plays don’t run the clock down predictably.

Think of it this way: if you leave 3 seconds on the clock, the other team can probably get a 30%+ shot off. You can take whatever FG% you got from running better offense and subtract that.
Yeah. That is the obvious flip-side.
 

BaseballJones

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The problem with the design was that Smart was nearby, so Giannis was able to switch. A Tatum iso on Middleton is a good outcome.

You have to keep in mind that it’s important to run out the clock in that spot. Leaving Milwaukee with even 1-2 seconds is probably 25%+ they make a shot. Given that, a ~40% Tatum shot with the clock running under a second is what you want.

The problem was not clearing out the floor to avoid a Giannis switch.
I don't mind running the clock down. I just don't want a one-on-one with Tatum and Giannis. You saw how godawful his shot was. Thank God it was SO bad it banked in.

Back to running it down...the only problem with that is that you get one shot only to win it. If you shoot with 3 seconds left, it allows you a chance for a rebound putback or tip in. Or if Milwaukee gets the rebound, you can foul and still have another crack at it. If you score with 3 seconds left, yeah, Milwaukee gets a last shot, but you have the lead and it's always better to have the lead. If you have the lead and they get one shot to win it, given their shooting percentage is less than 50%, odds are in your favor to win the game.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Right but that’s after Giannis pushes off at 13. That’s the problem. No question there was TT contact, it just didn’t happen first.

Feels like a really tough to defend sequence—it’s like calling a touch DPI after the WR pushes off.
I think your PI analogy is correct but just to be clear, TT's arm is making contact with Giannis at 9 seconds before Giannis makes contact with TT. The clip at 21 seconds is a different angle which makes it looks like TT is holding Giannis's arm down.

Given how strong Giannis is, to me it's just jockeying for position but that's a tough call to make in real time.

I expect that the call will be confirmed when the NBA last 2 minute review comes out.
 

benhogan

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That late call for the Bucks was BS. Seems like that happens a bit too often for GA against us.
It’s definitely the most effective, because normal plays don’t run the clock down predictably.

Think of it this way: if you leave 3 seconds on the clock, the other team can probably get a 30%+ shot off. You can take whatever FG% you got from running better offense and subtract that.
While Giannis was defending the inbounds, I have to think Giannis was always going to pick up JT on the perimeter.

The C's could burn clock at the top and then go into a play. Brad ATO's were always considered top-notch.

ISO fadeaways from deep, with DPOY guarding, down 1 point seems sub-optimal. BUT it worked
 
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Jed Zeppelin

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The big starting lineup with TT and Theis can be really good defensively. It wasn’t in the first quarter, but got it together in the third.

The season to season improvement of Jaylen Brown was on display, with a more mature pull up game once he dipped a foot into the paint. Those turnaround 10-14 footers were money. Also, seeing Jaylen being chosen as the player to take (and make) a technical foul shot was particularly pleasing.

Brown is going to need to be the alpha scorer with the subs once Tatum sits in the first. After struggling in the first quarter in that role against the Bucks, and in the pre-season games, he picked it up in the second half. JB with a 33/5/4/2/1 and no turnovers, on 24 shots and a perfect 4-4 from the line.

Teague is on fire from three, 4-4, and had a ton of opportunities close to the hoop, but converted only 3 of 11 of them. 19/3/4/2/1 in 25 minutes with no turnovers. Celtics bench 34, Bucks 12.

Tatum had a couple of really nice strong drives to the hoop with flip finishes. That’s something he worked on in the short offseason. The one where he flipped it in late in the game where it looked at first like a potential alley oop to Theis was particularly sweet. Still not getting ref respect. You don’t see many 30 point games where a player gets zero FT attempts, despite driving ten times to the hoop.
The thing about Jaylen people still underrate is the athleticism/speed/agility combo. As a younger player he didn’t have anywhere near the ball control to make it all work for him, but now that he does, he knows he can get to just about any spot on the floor he wants and that quick pull-up is always going to be open for him if he doesn’t feel he can get to the rim on a given play.

He started to unlock this maybe toward the end of the season before last, and certainly last year. Now it’s just a matter of consistency, because shot volume is not going to be a problem anymore.

Tatum is the better pure 1-on-1 player and shot maker, but when he struggles it’s because he doesn’t have Jaylen’s quickness (frankly, if he did, he might be a LeBron-adjacent talent). Tatum has gotten a lot better at changing speeds, which is how he will be able to do most of his work inside the arc.

Tatum got tons of ref respect in the playoffs; not worried there. Bucks are maybe the worst matchup in the league for him in particular.

Teague and TT look like very good signings. I'm a lot less worried about depth than I was a few days ago, and I liked the signings. Brad seems inclined to find depth by just playing Theis/TT/GWill/TL a lot, and together. That's obviously offensively limited, but it can probably lead to a decent amount of regular season wins just from putting the clamps on defensively.
Two bigs > three guards
 

lostjumper

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TT/Theis/JT/JB/Smart is finally our answer to some of the big/long lineups that we've seen from the Bucks, 76ers, and Lakers. It looked good at times, and struggled some as well, but they should be able to figure it out over the course of the year. That has the potential to be a ferocious defensive lineup.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I think your PI analogy is correct but just to be clear, TT's arm is making contact with Giannis at 9 seconds before Giannis makes contact with TT. The clip at 21 seconds is a different angle which makes it looks like TT is holding Giannis's arm down.

Given how strong Giannis is, to me it's just jockeying for position but that's a tough call to make in real time.

I expect that the call will be confirmed when the NBA last 2 minute review comes out.
Nope—watch it again. Giannis initiates the first contact.

I do not agree with you on the :21 point either—Giannis leans into him so I get why you think that’s TT holding but that isn’t the physics...which you can tell by watching how their bodies go after. It’s pretty clear overall GA was applying the pressure to create spac le (and they move apart after, which is opposite of what would happen if TT was holding him)

I don’t find the 2 minute review all that persuasive; it’s better than NFL explanations (which are highly weighted to defending the decision) but it still defers to the live call. Basically, when it cites error you know it’s real but when it defers you can’t tell how much is PR and how much is real. To each their own
 

benhogan

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TT/Theis/JT/JB/Smart is finally our answer to some of the big/long lineups that we've seen from the Bucks, 76ers, and Lakers. It looked good at times, and struggled some as well, but they should be able to figure it out over the course of the year. That has the potential to be a ferocious defensive lineup.
The TT/Theis combo shocked me, and agree it could be the answer to those bigger teams. It also reduces the defensive pounding JayCrew will take. We need them to save their energy for the offense. I'd also rather have them on the perimeter defending and getting out on the break.

Theis needs to hit corner 3s to make it acceptable offensively
 

joe dokes

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TT/Theis/JT/JB/Smart is finally our answer to some of the big/long lineups that we've seen from the Bucks, 76ers, and Lakers. It looked good at times, and struggled some as well, but they should be able to figure it out over the course of the year. That has the potential to be a ferocious defensive lineup.
I dont think Theis has ever played alongside an accomplished defensive big like TT with the Celtics. That could take some time to adjust.
 

the moops

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Night and goddamn day. Teague's patience versus Wanamaker putting his head down and trying to get to the rim come hell or highwater style couldn't be more opposite.
It always seemed as though Wannamaker made those shots though. I was always shocked when he ran with his head down to the basket and the ball kept going in
 

lovegtm

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The TT/Theis combo shocked me, and agree it could be the answer to those bigger teams. It also reduces the defensive pounding JayCrew will take. We need them to save their energy for the offense. I'd also rather have them on the perimeter defending and getting out on the break.

Theis needs to hit corner 3s to make it acceptable offensively
Milwaukee just doesn't have the ball-handlers to punish it when Boston switches, although Jrue did get that go-ahead 3 over Theis. It's a huge flaw in their team makeup.
 

Zincman

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The Tatum three at the end was pure trash. Running a play to iso him on Giannis is insane, and for him to take a 25 foot step back three with Giannis defending (much taller and longer and an elite defender) is an awful call. And the shot itself was terrible. It was so bad...it happened to bank in.

Brad has to come up with something better than that from now on. I'd love JT on an open look at the end, but that....wasn't that. That was about as hard a shot as you can take. Supremely lucky it went in. Total brick.
You are right but somewhere Sam Jones is smiling.
 

shoelace

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It’s definitely the most effective, because normal plays don’t run the clock down predictably.

Think of it this way: if you leave 3 seconds on the clock, the other team can probably get a 30%+ shot off. You can take whatever FG% you got from running better offense and subtract that.
Right. And we know you can't leave the Bucks too much time because of this:

View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T2TGew2IpNk
 

DannyDarwinism

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The thing about Jaylen people still underrate is the athleticism/speed/agility combo. As a younger player he didn’t have anywhere near the ball control to make it all work for him, but now that he does, he knows he can get to just about any spot on the floor he wants and that quick pull-up is always going to be open for him if he doesn’t feel he can get to the rim on a given play.
Yep. This play right here shows a new level of ball control from him:

View: https://twitter.com/modakhil_nba/status/1341928914529046528?s=21



He attacks the close out, blows by his man, sees the double team collapse, and uses his improved handle to get into position to whip the pass to the open man. Really encouraging stuff here, pairing the improved skills and recognition.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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FWIW, its one game and I would take nothing from the data yet but I am a bit skeptical of this idea that Thompson is good defensively (what I look at tells me he is ~average in general and like most of his peers, a weak point in mismatches). The Thompson/Theis/Tatum/Brown/Smart line-up was the worst five man unit in terms of defense last night (I filtered using in excess of three minutes). The good news is that the Celtics are good at recognizing this stuff quickly so if that line-up is effective in whatever it is they expect from them, they will go with it or they will mitigate any mismatches.
 

Zincman

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BTW, there was no review of the call on Thompson. The official review was strictly about the game clock. If the Celts had challenged, the call would likely have been overturned but the C's were out of time outs and could not challenge.
 

benhogan

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Milwaukee just doesn't have the ball-handlers to punish it when Boston switches, although Jrue did get that go-ahead 3 over Theis. It's a huge flaw in their team makeup.
@lostjumper makes a good point above. That lineup may be useful against teams like Philly and LAL.

While I never was a Bledsoe fan, I think Jrue's status is little overrated. I'm fine with him launching 3s.
Regular-season Bucks are going to miss George Hill, always thought he brought a steady hand to their 2nd unit and ++ shooting. They should be happy they didn't lose Donte, he was one of their better players last night.
 

benhogan

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FWIW, its one game and I would take nothing from the data yet but I am a bit skeptical of this idea that Thompson is good defensively (what I look at tells me he is ~average in general and like most of his peers, a weak point in mismatches). The Thompson/Theis/Tatum/Brown/Smart line-up was the worst five man unit in terms of defense last night (I filtered using in excess of three minutes). The good news is that the Celtics are good at recognizing this stuff quickly so if that line-up is effective in whatever it is they expect from them, they will go with it or they will mitigate any mismatches.
Not surprising. The two dozen runout layups they gave up to start the game will make any defense look like crap using statistical data.

I wouldn't use those few minutes to analyze Thompson's defense. Just like I wouldn't use it to analyze Smart, Tatum or the rest of that unit's defense.

Agree with your "good news". I'd think the Celtics brain trust will watch tape instead of using any statistical data to analyze that line-up after 1 game.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Not surprising. The two dozen runout layups they gave up to start the game will make any defense look like crap using statistical data.

I wouldn't use those few minutes to analyze Thompson's defense.
100% this. If Thompson was responsible for not those breakdowns that lead to easy baskets, I'm all ears. But if the data is too small to be meaningful then it's too small to be meaningful.
 

reggiecleveland

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Teague and TT look like very good signings. I'm a lot less worried about depth than I was a few days ago, and I liked the signings. Brad seems inclined to find depth by just playing Theis/TT/GWill/TL a lot, and together. That's obviously offensively limited, but it can probably lead to a decent amount of regular season wins just from putting the clamps on defensively.
I took a hiatus from this place because I could not handle all the negativity over clear upgrades on Kanter and Wannamaker.
 

Euclis20

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It was also Thompson's first minutes played in an organized game since March, he was clearly winded and rusty. I wasn't super excited about getting him, but from what I saw yesterday he's exactly what we need. Last year the default option was Theis, with Kanter only appearing when it mattered if we could hide him. With Thompson, we now appear to have two late game options that you don't need to hide, with different strengths. That they can play alongside each other is a huge bonus. I could be wrong, I don't believe Theis played a single minute alongside another true big man last year (maybe Gwill, but not Timelord, Tacko or Kanter).
 

Euclis20

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Imaginationland
I took a hiatus from this place because I could not handle all the negativity over clear upgrades on Kanter and Wannamaker.
I don't know if you're serious, but I understand the sentiment. When Kemba comes back, our point guard and big men rotations will be a solid step up over last year.

*edit - one negative from last night, Nesmith. Considering the hole in the Celtic's wing depth from Hayward's departure, him debuting with a DNP-CD is a bit disappointing. Brown/Tatum/Smart won't combine for 109 minutes every night (about 10 minutes more than last year) and Semi looked good, but I hope he's able to step up and get some time, even if it's just standing in the corner waiting for open shots for 12 minutes per game (especially before Romeo comes back).
 
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