Analysis of Celtics Games (2020-2021)

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Josh Hart seems like the perfect candidate for the "plays well against us" offseason overpay for the Cs
If we can add Middleton, Hart and Devin Booker to the roster, our problems will be over.
 

bakahump

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I am buoyed by last night.
Smarts bone head off the tip. (which is an aberration......while his 3 pts tries are not.....but I digress).
"Flagrants 1" on Jayson and Smart Which were both "Questionable", or at the very least easily avoidable.
a Non 0-10 from Fournier. (which lets be real he was nervous)
The Pels shots lights out from 3. Make or Miss league and they smoked the 3 last night while Boston was at least a couple 3s below what we could expect normally.
Jaylen was out.


Take away 2 of those things and the Celts win. Take away 3 to 4 and they cruise.

On the Bright side
Tatum was very good but not otherwordly. So it wasnt like his 34 was an aberration
Kemba had a very repeatable 23pts with some nice drives to keep the D honest.
Smart looked fantastic when Driving with Timelord toward the basket and Fournier, Tatum and Kemba(/Brown) spacing the Defense.
Pritchard had a repeatable game of 11pts (although 5 rebs and assists will probably reverse).
The Duo of "Valkyries Trumpet" was again helpful off the bench. Not a black hole on defense and could become quite useful on offense.
Nesmith had some good things happen.
TL held his own against a "legit 7footer" errrr 6'11er with 10/5/7

I get that "it is what it is" and making excuses is just that......but I think they are way more promising today then last week.
 

slamminsammya

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I think the rationalizations for how they could have beaten another 500 team last night are exactly the things you say to yourself with a 500 team. That said, once we have Fournier not shooting 0% and Jaylen replacing the minutes that Grant was getting last night its a pretty different team.
 

benhogan

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The hard truth here, it's not pretty folks. Attached an article on the Celtics rotten defense (added a few snippets for non-subscribers). I would have thought adding defense was a priority at the trade deadline.

I highly recommend subscribing to The Athletic

https://theathletic.com/2488124/2021/03/31/whats-wrong-with-the-celtics-defense-5-trouble-spots-in-need-of-desperate-repair/?source=dailyemail

1. Man-to-man defense: 1.001 points allowed per possession
They rank 27th in man-to-man defense, according to Synergy Sports. Only the Kings, Pelicans and Blazers have been worse per possession.

The Celtics zone defense has actually been great. More zone Brad, because these guys clearly aren't "the best versions of themselves" (so fed up with Brad's coach speak)

2. Transition defense: 131 points per 100 plays
They currently rank 23rd.

Maybe Tatum, Brown, Smart, Kemba should stop posing after missing a 3pt shot, arguing w/ refs about missed calls, taking challenged/fadeaway 2s, and get the hell back on defense.

3. The ‘Core 4’ struggles: 122.2 points per 100 possessions

With Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the court, the Celtics have scored a ton of buckets, but have surrendered an abominable 122.2 points per 100 possessions. For a team, that would be the worst defensive rating ever by several miles.

Caveat: The core four have only played 117 minutes together, but I don't see Kemba's floating around improving.

4. Defense against top-10 teams: 119.8 points per 100 possessions
the damage has been more total against contenders. Against teams in the top-10 in point differential, the Celtics have gone 6-11 while allowing 119.8 points per 100 possessions, according to Cleaning the Glass. Only four teams have fielded a worse defense against such elite competition: the Blazers, Bulls, Timberwolves and Rockets. The latter two are frontrunners for the No. 1 pick.


5. Opponents second-chance points: 14.3 points per 100 possessions

Only two teams have given up more second-chance points per 100 possessions. The Celtics have actually been just a hair below average in defensive rebound rate. It’s more troubling what happens after their failures on the glass. They have given up 1.248 points per possession after an opposing offensive rebound to rank dead last in that category.
 
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Light-Tower-Power

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Why are they so bad on defense this year? Is it purely an effort thing? I expected an offensive adjustment period with the loss of Hayward, but I didn't expect such a drop off on the other end as well.
 

ZMart100

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I'm not an expert on basketball D, but it seems to me to be more problems with trust and communication than effort. There is a lot of over helping on the ball and not enough helping the help off it. Once help comes there is confusion about whether responsibilities have switched. It all seems disorganized.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Why are they so bad on defense this year? Is it purely an effort thing? I expected an offensive adjustment period with the loss of Hayward, but I didn't expect such a drop off on the other end as well.
I've said this before but having great wings is supposed to be a matchup problem for the other team - having guys who are too quick for big guys and too strong for little guys. However, the way the Cs have been playing, the wings are too slow to guard small guys and too small to guard big guys.

I don't think it's any one thing but a couple of things that could be fixed are: (i) stop throwing the ball away so much and giving teams easy run outs and (ii) try to figure out a way stay in front of guys so they don't have to go into rotation on every possession.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Setting aside the problems with D-rating, if you look at the C's best lineups this season using this stat, it seems to explain some of their issues and its pretty simple. They haven't had the right personnel available to put their best defensive lineups on the floor.

The top three defensive teams have had the following number of lineups play at least 10 games together this season:

Lakers: 8
76ers: 9
Jazz: 15

Boston: 2

Again, it doesn't explain everything nor does it excuse lapses in effort, bad coaching etc. However it tracks if you are attempting to be objective.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Why are they so bad on defense this year? Is it purely an effort thing? I expected an offensive adjustment period with the loss of Hayward, but I didn't expect such a drop off on the other end as well.
Because the players aren't very good. And the drop off from Gordan Hayward to Semi and Grant is colossal on both sides of the court. Plus the team will look bad on any per 100 possessions metric. Part of their play (or maybe even a byproduct of their play) is to limit other teams possessions. They are 4th in the league in FGA against. They aren't very good anyway, they don't need help looking worse. The offense is also pretty mediocre/bad which compounds the problem. If the offense were slightly better or the defense were slightly better, they'd have a considerably better record. A 23-24 record is what you get with a +1.0 point differential.

My hope is when Evan Fournier sets in, he improves the offense enough to make them better than a .500 team and give them a punchers chance in the playoffs. I don't see the defense carrying us this year.


Romeo Langford is also an x factor. Player development is weird and he's a pretty good athlete. He has a ton of defensive potential so it's possible he can make an impact on that end of the court. Gadget arms and all. If Fournier settles in and Romeo can provide 15-20 minutes of plus defense, with a little luck the team could make a run.
 

NomarsFool

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Romeo Langford is also an x factor. Player development is weird and he's a pretty good athlete. He has a ton of defensive potential so it's possible he can make an impact on that end of the court. Gadget arms and all. If Fournier settles in and Romeo can provide 15-20 minutes of plus defense, with a little luck the team could make a run.
It looks like he hasn't been spending a lot of time on the Peloton while his wrist was healing. The comments from Brad about only being able to play a few minutes at a time were not very encouraing.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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It looks like he hasn't been spending a lot of time on the Peloton while his wrist was healing. The comments from Brad about only being able to play a few minutes at a time were not very encouraing.
I think that has more to do with COVID. He's finally been cleared by the heart specialists and hasn't been able to do anything since he came down with it.
 

shoelace

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Setting aside the problems with D-rating, if you look at the C's best lineups this season using this stat, it seems to explain some of their issues and its pretty simple. They haven't had the right personnel available to put their best defensive lineups on the floor.

The top three defensive teams have had the following number of lineups play at least 10 games together this season:

Lakers: 8
76ers: 9
Jazz: 15

Boston: 2

Again, it doesn't explain everything nor does it excuse lapses in effort, bad coaching etc. However it tracks if you are attempting to be objective.
I think this, and some of Cesar Crespo's points, is where you can see some hope for the Celtics this season. If they can stay healthy and have more consistent rotations, it is possible (based on their history) that their defensive communication will improve, and that Fournier potentially helping with the offensive burden can allow other players to expend more energy on the defensive end. I don't think we'll really have a clear idea of what this iteration of the Celtics looks like defensively for a few weeks, but it definitely is the difference between being eliminated in the first round and potentially going deeper into the playoffs.
 

DGreenwood

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A couple of thoughts:

Individual defense can be largely driven through effort, but team defense requires practice to make sure everyone is on the same page. Is the lack of practice time hurting them this year? Brad's teams usually play strong team defense. Correlation does not imply causation but Brad's team playing bad defense and the lack of practice time are two things that are pretty unique about this year.

Tatum is the main culprit on this one, but when things don't go his way on offense he is more likely to start complaining to the refs or sulk for a few seconds than he is to hustle back on defense. It's tough to play defense 4 on 5. As a leader, is his behavior setting the example that transition defense is not as important as it should be?
 

slamminsammya

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Because the players aren't very good. And the drop off from Gordan Hayward to Semi and Grant is colossal on both sides of the court. Plus the team will look bad on any per 100 possessions metric. Part of their play (or maybe even a byproduct of their play) is to limit other teams possessions. They are 4th in the league in FGA against. They aren't very good anyway, they don't need help looking worse. The offense is also pretty mediocre/bad which compounds the problem. If the offense were slightly better or the defense were slightly better, they'd have a considerably better record. A 23-24 record is what you get with a +1.0 point differential.

My hope is when Evan Fournier sets in, he improves the offense enough to make them better than a .500 team and give them a punchers chance in the playoffs. I don't see the defense carrying us this year.


Romeo Langford is also an x factor. Player development is weird and he's a pretty good athlete. He has a ton of defensive potential so it's possible he can make an impact on that end of the court. Gadget arms and all. If Fournier settles in and Romeo can provide 15-20 minutes of plus defense, with a little luck the team could make a run.
The offense is 12th in the NBA. I think the real issue with the offense vis a vis the defense is theyve been so top heavy that Tatum and Brown have sacrificed a lot of effort scoring at the expense of their defense. I also think Brown is struggling a lot with his knee on that end, or at least I hope so. His on ball defense has been dreadful. Combine that with Grant Williams becoming absolutely terrible and you get a decently sized regression.
 

NomarsFool

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There was an article in the Athletic today that said that the Celtics transition defense (usually a strength in the Brad Stevens era) has been near the bottom of the league this season based on the statistics. I don't recall them offering up any particular driver behind the poor transition defense.
 

Cesar Crespo

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It looks like he hasn't been spending a lot of time on the Peloton while his wrist was healing. The comments from Brad about only being able to play a few minutes at a time were not very encouraing.
He looked bigger but some of it looked like muscle so I'll hold off until I see him play if it's something to worry about or not. He has the look of someone trying to bulk up but I'm going off that one video that was posted. It's also possible he just got soft. His mid section looks somewhat soft but his upper body looks more built. Maybe he's been hitting the weights but not doing cardio.

If he's really out of shape, I'll be the first to dump all over him. I guess he has the injury excuse but it's a terrible look for a player who has missed a ton of time and should know first hand that there are minutes to be had. I said the same about Grant Williams. Fringe NBA players should be coming to camp in good shape, especially when there are minutes available.

We'll see soon enough, hopefully. For a player who hasn't seen the court much in his first 2 seasons, he should be roaring and ready to go. It'll be disappointing if that's not the case. I'm hoping at worst he maybe has 5-6 lbs in his midsection due to bulking up and that he can burn that off with 2 weeks of gameplay.

It's really hard to judge a guy wearing a pretty tight long sleeve shirt. It can make you look chubby but it can also make you look pretty buff.
 

Cesar Crespo

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The offense is 12th in the NBA. I think the real issue with the offense vis a vis the defense is theyve been so top heavy that Tatum and Brown have sacrificed a lot of effort scoring at the expense of their defense. I also think Brown is struggling a lot with his knee on that end, or at least I hope so. His on ball defense has been dreadful. Combine that with Grant Williams becoming absolutely terrible and you get a decently sized regression.
12th on what metric? I'm being really really simplistic because I'm not a huge advanced metrics guy when it comes to the NBA, but they are 16th in points scored and 15th in points against. I shouldn't have said the O is bad, but I think mediocre describes the offense, the defense and the team. Maybe mediocre isn't the best word because a lot of people use the word to describe something bad rather than average or meh.

With Fournier, the hope is Tatum, Smart and Brown can sacrifice some of their offense for defense. If Langford can provide solid defense, that helps even more. It would also give the option to run a lineup of TL/Tatum/Brown/Smart/RL and then switch it up with TL/Tatum/Brown/Fournier/Kemba.

I'm pretty sure Fournier will settle in to a role where he's scoring 15-16 a game shooting mostly 3s. I think Langford could be anywhere from unplayable to a solid 20-25 minute rotation player. I just don't know.
 

DGreenwood

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There's no excuse for someone who missed significant time with a wrist injury not to focus on conditioning while working his way back. Since his rehab for the last three months has been in-season, it would have been monitored on a day-to-day basis by the Celtics training staff. I'd be really surprised if they let his conditioning slip.

Having said that, He spent the last three weeks in the health and safety protocol, and I believe they are not allowed to do any conditioning until cleared by the staff, which seems to have just happened in the last couple of days. You can lose a lot of conditioning in three weeks. That may be why Brad is saying they'll start him off with short stints on the court.
 

ManicCompression

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There was an article in the Athletic today that said that the Celtics transition defense (usually a strength in the Brad Stevens era) has been near the bottom of the league this season based on the statistics. I don't recall them offering up any particular driver behind the poor transition defense.
I saw this and immediately thought that it may be chalked up to offense - if the ball is going through the net, there are less opportunities for transition baskets. This is entirely wrong as they're actually shooting better as a team this year - well, slightly worse on 3s (34.4% vs. 34.5%) but marginally better on 2s (52.7% vs. 52.2%). They're also turning the ball over at almost exactly the same rate (13.9/g vs. 13.8/g).

To me, that indicates the poor transition D is an effort issue. If the problem is not increased opportunities for transition (i.e. an increase of turnovers or an increase of long rebounds from missed three pointers), then I'm not sure what else it could be outside of guys not hustling back.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Having said that, He spent the last three weeks in the health and safety protocol, and I believe they are not allowed to do any conditioning until cleared by the staff, which seems to have just happened in the last couple of days. You can lose a lot of conditioning in three weeks. That may be why Brad is saying they'll start him off with short stints on the court.
This is very true. It's especially true when some of these players are on 6000+ calorie a day diets.
 

Sam Ray Not

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12th on what metric?
Offensive rating or offensive efficiency — or points scored per 100 possessions — which is typically what people are referring to when ranking offenses (or defenses). Points scored and allowed *per game* can be misleading measures, since they ignore pace.

The Cs play a slower than average pace — i.e. fewer total possessions per game than average — which means their offense has been a bit better than you think and their defense has been a bit worse.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Offensive rating or offensive efficiency — or points scored per 100 possessions — which is typically what people are referring to when ranking offenses (or defenses). Points scored and allowed *per game* can be misleading measures, since they ignore pace.

The Cs play a slower than average pace — i.e. fewer total possessions per game than average — which means their offense has been a bit better than you think and their defense has been a bit worse.
but they play that pace on purpose. I get it though. I just think if a team averages 100 possessions a game and the C's are limiting them to 90... that's a deliberate thing that Per 100 wouldn't pick up on.

I don't really know how to word my point.
 

slamminsammya

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12th on what metric? I'm being really really simplistic because I'm not a huge advanced metrics guy when it comes to the NBA, but they are 16th in points scored and 15th in points against. I shouldn't have said the O is bad, but I think mediocre describes the offense, the defense and the team. Maybe mediocre isn't the best word because a lot of people use the word to describe something bad rather than average or meh.

With Fournier, the hope is Tatum, Smart and Brown can sacrifice some of their offense for defense. If Langford can provide solid defense, that helps even more. It would also give the option to run a lineup of TL/Tatum/Brown/Smart/RL and then switch it up with TL/Tatum/Brown/Fournier/Kemba.

I'm pretty sure Fournier will settle in to a role where he's scoring 15-16 a game shooting mostly 3s. I think Langford could be anywhere from unplayable to a solid 20-25 minute rotation player. I just don't know.
Sam ray not covered it, but to add some flavor there is a clear top tier of offenses that are all close with Utah, Brooklyn, and LAC and Denver. The second tier is fairly close to the first and includes New Orleans, Portland, and Milwaukee. The Celtics are in the third tier and are really just a few good games from 8th in the league in offense. This group has Boston, Dallas, Sac, Atlanta, and Phoenix. The dropoff after Boston is fairly large.

This thread has been dominated by complaining about the offense, and I don't even disagree with everything people have been saying about ball movement, wasted possessions, listless 4th quarter offense. But at a high level the offense has not really been as big of a problem as the defense. I suspect this is partly because defense is just harder to analyze as an armchair fan for similar reasons evaluating football defense is hard. Who knows what the scheme is supposed to be or who is responsible for what.

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2021_ratings.html
 

slamminsammya

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but they play that pace on purpose. I get it though. I just think if a team averages 100 possessions a game and the C's are limiting them to 90... that's a deliberate thing that Per 100 wouldn't pick up on.

I don't really know how to word my point.
There is a point here that efficiency and the number of possessions are not independent of one another and that is certainly true. It is not perfect but the cleanest way to compare offense and defense fairly is to correct for pace. It is better than looking at raw points per game.
 

Cesar Crespo

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There is a point here that efficiency and the number of possessions are not independent of one another and that is certainly true. It is not perfect but the cleanest way to compare offense and defense fairly is to correct for pace. It is better than looking at raw points per game.
Yeah, I just didn't know what metric he was using even though I should have. I use per 36 a lot, but that has even more flaws. I also love rate stats but those have the same flaws. Extrapolating results.

Regardless, by PPG they are 16th, by ORtg, they are 12th. Neither is great shakes.

The real problem with this team is that they just aren't that good at basketball. The team's top talent is fine but they are made to look worse because they have to carry bums like Semi and Grant Williams. We also haven't been fully healthy since the trades so who knows what the team will look like when everyone is in play. Brown and Fournier have yet to play together and TT has been sidelined forever. Semi doesn't matter if everyone else is healthy.
 

slamminsammya

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Yeah, I just didn't know what metric he was using even though I should have. I use per 36 a lot, but that has even more flaws. I also love rate stats but those have the same flaws. Extrapolating results.

Regardless, by PPG they are 16th, by ORtg, they are 12th. Neither is great shakes.

The real problem with this team is that they just aren't that good at basketball. The team's top talent is fine but they are made to look worse because they have to carry bums like Semi and Grant Williams. We also haven't been fully healthy since the trades so who knows what the team will look like when everyone is in play. Brown and Fournier have yet to play together and TT has been sidelined forever. Semi doesn't matter if everyone else is healthy.
Yea, I would be happy to agree on the offense being mediocre. I don't think its bad though, which was a characterization you gave. They definitely are underperforming given the top tier talent they have.
 

reggiecleveland

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There was an article in the Athletic today that said that the Celtics transition defense (usually a strength in the Brad Stevens era) has been near the bottom of the league this season based on the statistics. I don't recall them offering up any particular driver behind the poor transition defense.
They are working hard for their points. My eyes tell me they score a lot fewer of the three pass "one more" hoops than they give up. so their opponent is often in pretty good position when they shoot.

but [B]DeJesus Built My Hotrod[/B] echoes what JVG said in pregame last night that the Celtics have not had a consistent lineup. Jeff noted TL was just establishing himself as a starter, and was missing. I understand analysts cover for coaches, but he said this hurt Brad Steven's more than other coaches because his strength is team D, playing a s a unit and it is hard. For this reason he though trading Theis was a terrible move, because it just disrupted continuity and chemistry.
 

DGreenwood

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Brad has mentioned a couple times lately how hard it is to lose Theis because he anchored the D and communicated so well.
 

Deathofthebambino

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They are working hard for their points. My eyes tell me they score a lot fewer of the three pass "one more" hoops than they give up. so their opponent is often in pretty good position when they shoot.

but [B]DeJesus Built My Hotrod[/B] echoes what JVG said in pregame last night that the Celtics have not had a consistent lineup. Jeff noted TL was just establishing himself as a starter, and was missing. I understand analysts cover for coaches, but he said this hurt Brad Steven's more than other coaches because his strength is team D, playing a s a unit and it is hard. For this reason he though trading Theis was a terrible move, because it just disrupted continuity and chemistry.
I'm one of the biggest Theis fans around, but if what we watched for the first 45 games this year was continuity and chemistry, we were fucked with or without him.
 

lovegtm

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People make so many excuses for what amounts to the Celtics good players not making nearly the impact they need to, often through a lack of energy.

Something is clearly wrong with this team, and it goes beyond injuries and lineups.
 

RetractableRoof

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People make so many excuses for what amounts to the Celtics good players not making nearly the impact they need to, often through a lack of energy.

Something is clearly wrong with this team, and it goes beyond injuries and lineups.
Offensively speaking:
I think it's because at it's core we're reluctant to point our finger at one player and say "it's his fault" - especially if it is thought that the players are simultaneously seen as the symbol of success going forward. I guess one example would be to look at say... Carmelo Anthony. In many ways a transcendent player, capable of magical performances that could carry a team. But in the end, his limitations or perhaps his style of play, his magic didn't work in the context of being part of team success. Maybe he was a 9 and the team needed a 10, or he was a 10 and the team needed additional 9's. I'm not really familiar with him enough - he just popped up in my head as a decent example. Maybe I'm wrong about Anthony as a comp.

I'm just reluctant to point at either of the Js as the largest problem when they represent the largest potential of success as well. If I'm being honest, I'd probably look at Tatum as the biggest contributor to failure to get over the hump, which seems impossibly dumb given that he is their biggest contributor to success. We've seen him improve beyond any reasonable expectation - is it fair to ask for more? But if this were Tatum's ceiling, then it's not enough - and while blame isn't the right word, clinically, he can't get them over the top given where he is. I don't hear any posters saying he's at his ceiling, but where is he going to improve going forward? If he relies on getting an extra percent better on this skill here, and an extra pound of muscle there, etc. and is concentrated on his physical skills then he isn't far from his practical ceiling (IMO). If he grows his team game, and works on his passing and how to exploit his gravity for the teams gain then his ceiling is still substantially higher. One play from a couple nights ago was being talked about in the game thread - he had a chance to take a step toward another player's man (PP?) and draw him in while attacking the basket - which would have created space/time for a PP(?) open look. Identifying that kind of thing isn't my strong suit, but I see comments about it enough to know it's valid.

Reggie and others: how do you teach that growth? Or is it the old cliche that the player has to want it? On this level is it a function of game film/prep? Practice/drilling time? Veteran leadership? Destroying his Kobe tapes (joking, I'm joking)?

I'm not in any way giving up on Tatum here, but I do get antsy waiting for a consistent indication of his team game growing... and in my opinion it is the largest possible growth/improvement area for the team. Otherwise:
  • I don't see much improvement possible from Smart (just refinement of his judgement and health).
  • Jalyen seems to be getting the most out of his abilities, he seems to be growing into the two man game with TL - but I don't know if I think his ceiling is much higher (for the same reasons as Tatum's physical game).
  • Maybe Brad can spot Kemba better, or find a lineup situation where his contribution is better - but I don't see a significant upside left with him in this system.
  • I think we're all eager to see what comfortable Fournier looks like - but I don't see it as a game changer.
  • PP's ceiling isn't 6 inches from his floor, but we know it's not on the 4th floor either.
  • We know nothing really about RL (except defensive side), or AN (no run to speak of) - so I can't see a clear projection from them, just a basic optimism for young players.
  • TT/Grant/Semi/Fall/Edwards/Waters are what they are.
  • I think TL integration into the offense might get us some lift - but I don't think it's going to be a difference maker on it's own.
  • Maybe we catch an occasional game or two of lightning from Kornet/Wagner but it feels like fools gold to expect more (unless Ainge really saw an opportunity for them within Brad's system)
So unless Tatum grows his team game, or Ainge injects talent - I don't see a whole lot improving for this team offensively.
 
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wade boggs chicken dinner

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So unless Tatum grows his team game, or Ainge injects talent - I don't see a whole lot improving for this team offensively.
We've had this discussion before and I agree (and I think most here agree). If one of JT and JB don't emerge as a top 10 player - and by that I mean getting theirs while making other players better - the Cs are in bad shape.
 

Fishy1

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I think the explanations about the defense are pretty simple, and I think it's a combination of bad luck and effort. Tatum was an incredible defender until this year. He's had to play a lot of minutes despite recovering from COVID. I can't imagine how hard it's been for him to have to be the best player on offense and try to do anything but suck wind at the other end. I think this problem goes away by the end of the season and he's back to being a terror on that end.

Jaylen hasn't been great shakes either. In fact the number of times he's blown assignments or played pathetic one-one-one defense has been enraving. Jaylen has never been a great team defender, but he has played some great one-on-one defense in the past. I saw him trying a lot harder the last couple games. We'll see if it sticks.

Kemba has been awful. Floating around, losing his man, getting absolutely run over by mediocre guards. I don't see a fix there.

Smart has rarely been the transformative presence we're used to. He's been struggling to stay in front of quicker guards, which was always a weakness of his. I think he'll find another gear.

The simple fact is this team in years past was transformative defensively because they were so switchable and played with so much effort. We've seen more of that effort in the last couple nights.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them finally gel and turn into the sort of fun defensive-minded team we've seen in years past. There's precedent for those kinds of transformations. If Tatum and Smart go back to being plus-plus defenders, the sky is the limit for the defense.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see them crash and burn. If Smart smashes his hand on a mirror, if Tatum's lungs don't make a comeback, if Jaylen loses his self-confidence. You get the idea.
 

nighthob

Member
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Jul 15, 2005
9,985
The one thing that the loss of Hayward and (to a limited extent) Walker has done is force the JayCrew to expend a lot of energy offensively. Which leads to more coasting on the defensive end. And that's been aggravated by illness and injury. It runs down the roster as asking more of Smart offensively leads to less defensively. Especially with the calf injury. The hope is, obviously, that Fournier becomes the 3rd/4th option, freeing up defensive energy for Tatum, Brown, and Smart (because pre-trade they didn't have a really reliable third option).

Looking at schedules the most likely result today looks like a Boston/Indiana matchup in the 8/9 play-in game. If Boston slips to #9 things could get ugly. Luckily if they lose they're winning the draft lottery and creating the JayCade Brigade.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
11,079
Santa Monica
I think the explanations about the defense are pretty simple, and I think it's a combination of bad luck and effort. Tatum was an incredible defender until this year. He's had to play a lot of minutes despite recovering from COVID. I can't imagine how hard it's been for him to have to be the best player on offense and try to do anything but suck wind at the other end. I think this problem goes away by the end of the season and he's back to being a terror on that end.

Jaylen hasn't been great shakes either. In fact the number of times he's blown assignments or played pathetic one-one-one defense has been enraving. Jaylen has never been a great team defender, but he has played some great one-on-one defense in the past. I saw him trying a lot harder the last couple games. We'll see if it sticks.

Kemba has been awful. Floating around, losing his man, getting absolutely run over by mediocre guards. I don't see a fix there.

Smart has rarely been the transformative presence we're used to. He's been struggling to stay in front of quicker guards, which was always a weakness of his. I think he'll find another gear.

The simple fact is this team in years past was transformative defensively because they were so switchable and played with so much effort. We've seen more of that effort in the last couple nights.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them finally gel and turn into the sort of fun defensive-minded team we've seen in years past. There's precedent for those kinds of transformations. If Tatum and Smart go back to being plus-plus defenders, the sky is the limit for the defense.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see them crash and burn. If Smart smashes his hand on a mirror, if Tatum's lungs don't make a comeback, if Jaylen loses his self-confidence. You get the idea.
Agree, the defense is the biggest issue.

In order to be a Top 5 defensive team every guy on the floor (ex Kemba) needs to be a good to great defender. Players have to be able to switch, challenge 3s and not give up uncontested layups. Since Kemba can't guard anybody, Tatum/Smart/Tatum need to step up. But they have been mediocre which leads to breakdowns with the defense collapsing into the lane to help. This leads to getting put into rotation, giving up open 3s or layups. Maybe if they played a little more zone, that would give Tatum/Brown a break and hide Kemba? But Brad probably views that as a short-term panacea and not a road he wants to go down

Unfortunately, this team is going nowhere as long as Kemba Walker soaks up 30% of the cap for the next 3 seasons. Danny & Co have to move him this summer, maybe they can get him to post some hollow ppg stats to make it less painful.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Jun 26, 2006
9,493
People make so many excuses for what amounts to the Celtics good players not making nearly the impact they need to, often through a lack of energy.

Something is clearly wrong with this team, and it goes beyond injuries and lineups.
This is what I keep saying in game threads: Too often, the Jays don’t clearly help the team win. That’s it.
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
11,079
Santa Monica
This is what I keep saying in game threads: Too often, the Jays don’t clearly help the team win. That’s it.
Many miscalculated the Jays ascension (myself included). Tatum isn't a top 10 player and Brown isn't on the cusp of being a top 10 player.

They will probably get there in a couple of seasons, both work hard on their games in the offseason. BUT this is a bridge season.
 

lexrageorge

Member
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Jul 31, 2007
11,993
Kind of miss the part of the season when the biggest complaint was Thompson and Theis being on the floor at the same time.

I know it's not a popular thing to say, but Tatum is a different player post-CoVid. It's easy to dismiss it as an "excuse", and I know he's got the best doctors looking after him. But CoVid affects different people in many different ways, even athletes (ask EdRod if you're skeptical). I doubt very much a 0.378 success rate on three point attempts is his ceiling.

This team needs a roster reset in the offseason. Running back the same team would be GM malpractice, no matter the justifications.
 

tbrown_01923

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Sep 29, 2006
584
+Brown looks to not be as sharp cutting post knee injury. But they are not playing as a team. Too much hero ball from the would be heros and too much defering to them from the others. Too little practice.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
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Dec 22, 2002
14,453
Kind of miss the part of the season when the biggest complaint was Thompson and Theis being on the floor at the same time.

I know it's not a popular thing to say, but Tatum is a different player post-CoVid. It's easy to dismiss it as an "excuse", and I know he's got the best doctors looking after him. But CoVid affects different people in many different ways, even athletes (ask EdRod if you're skeptical). I doubt very much a 0.378 success rate on three point attempts is his ceiling.

This team needs a roster reset in the offseason. Running back the same team would be GM malpractice, no matter the justifications.
I doubt .378 is his ceiling either but I'm sure he'll have plenty seasons around .378. I'm also not sure he's shooting .378 because of Covid. It's because of variance. AKA luck.

38/100 vs 40/100 is the difference between .378 and .400. 3 point percentage is not that different than batting average. A .330 hitter doesn't hit .330 every year.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
11,993
I doubt .378 is his ceiling either but I'm sure he'll have plenty seasons around .378. I'm also not sure he's shooting .378 because of Covid. It's because of variance. AKA luck.

38/100 vs 40/100 is the difference between .378 and .400. 3 point percentage is not that different than batting average. A .330 hitter doesn't hit .330 every year.
Tatum shot 0.403 on 469 attempts last season, and 0.438 this season before testing positive, and only 0.357 since returning. I realize the 95% confidence interval calculations over the relevant sample sizes does not allow us to reject the null hypothesis. But there is still a non-zero chance that CoVid has affected his shooting; the coincidence is not all that easy to ignore.
 

sezwho

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Jul 20, 2005
562
Brooklyn by way of Orono
Rather than keep piling onto the PG conversation in the Brad thread:

Some roster reset is in need, but so long as the future is the Js (it better be) the bedrock should be getting a real 1 who can help them hit their ceilings by moving the ball and bringing value on D. Lowry for example, as a veteran voice would be ideal, but I’m open to Lonzo or several others.

Dumping Kemba $ is clearly required, so maybe not enough assets to get rid of him and still acquire a plus PG?

Boston will cook up plenty of blame pie for all, but Smart and Js and Timelord deserve a better team around them...even if they occasionally show emotion In suboptimal ways.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
14,453
Rather than keep piling onto the PG conversation in the Brad thread:

Some roster reset is in need, but so long as the future is the Js (it better be) the bedrock should be getting a real 1 who can help them hit their ceilings by moving the ball and bringing value on D. Lowry for example, as a veteran voice would be ideal, but I’m open to Lonzo or several others.

Dumping Kemba $ is clearly required, so maybe not enough assets to get rid of him and still acquire a plus PG?

Boston will cook up plenty of blame pie for all, but Smart and Js and Timelord deserve a better team around them...even if they occasionally show emotion In suboptimal ways.
Radical thought, but maybe Marcus Smart is the problem. Or even if he isn't the problem, the fastest way to change the culture of the C's is to move the leader of the pack.
 

sezwho

Member
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Jul 20, 2005
562
Brooklyn by way of Orono
Radical thought, but maybe Marcus Smart is the problem. Or even if he isn't the problem, the fastest way to change the culture of the C's is to move the leader of the pack.
I get this reaction too, but I’m still of the opinion he’s a symptom not cause.

I imagine young, incredibly competitive people finding themselves unsuccessful will try to take on more and more responsibility, which has always worked before

When this proves more than they can handle, they keep losing. He, and the Js imo, are trying to do more than they can because of the current composition of the team.

They aren’t broken, just battered.