Analysis of Celtics Games (2020-2021)

nighthob

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Having 3 legit bigs seems like a better problem to have than having 2, as we're seeing now.

Good thing we dodged the Myles Turner bullet.
True, if they'd gone into the season with Turner, Thompson, and Timelord they'd've been without a center for a third of the season due to injuries. Boston really needs to prioritize acquiring an inexpensive Euro center that stays healthy, plays D, and sets good picks. ;)
 

NomarsFool

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1:00 on Sunday. Ugh. Would have been nice if they had made that a later game. At least Minnesota is an afternoon game, so they can come back on Saturday. But, I assume they are still getting back in on the later side on Saturday.
 

HomeRunBaker

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True, if they'd gone into the season with Turner, Thompson, and Timelord they'd've been without a center for a third of the season due to injuries. Boston really needs to prioritize acquiring an inexpensive Euro center that stays healthy, plays D, and sets good picks. ;)
It has to be the cigarettes. I’ve heard that menthols due wonders for ones durability.
 

scottyno

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Having 3 legit bigs seems like a better problem to have than having 2, as we're seeing now.

Good thing we dodged the Myles Turner bullet.
Who would the 3 legit bigs be that they'd have if they'd made the trade for Turner? Because I'm pretty sure they'd still only have 2, just a different 2
 

Cellar-Door

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With tonight's losses by IND and CHA, the Celtics have clinched the 7 seed.

The Celtics will play a home game against either CHA or IND (currently CHA), win and they are the 7th seed.
Lose and play the winner of 9 v 10 (WAS) at home,,, win that they are the 8 seed.
Lose twice and they go to the lottery, likely as the #13 draft slot (but could be 12 or 14 depending on the West).
 

the moops

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For those of us that were calling for more Nesmith minutes, we didn't see the "deer in the headlights" during that 7 game stretch in February where he played well, and then Brad decided to bench him for Semi and Grant.
Grant plays a different position than Nesmith, so it most assuredly isn't a "this guy plays this guy sits sort of thing". But regardless, both Semi and Grant were playing before and during Nesmith's decent stretch in February so it wasn't a Nesmith getting benched for those two to play
 

128

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With tonight's losses by IND and CHA, the Celtics have clinched the 7 seed.

The Celtics will play a home game against either CHA or IND (currently CHA), win and they are the 7th seed.
Lose and play the winner of 9 v 10 (WAS) at home,,, win that they are the 8 seed.
Lose twice and they go to the lottery, likely as the #13 draft slot (but could be 12 or 14 depending on the West).
I'm guessing Fournier will play, because he's still working his way back from COVID, but do we see Tatum on Saturday or Sunday?
 

128

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C's are locked into a home game in the 7/8 matchup. Knicks have to win to stay in contention for the No. 4 seed (and home-court advantage in the first round).

Given that Tatum and Fournier are likely to be held out, the regular-season finale is likely to be a bloodbath.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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C's are locked into a home game in the 7/8 matchup. Knicks have to win to stay in contention for the No. 4 seed (and home-court advantage in the first round).

Given that Tatum and Fournier are likely to be held out, the regular-season finale is likely to be a bloodbath.
If MIA wins tonight, they are the overwhelming favorites for the 5 seed as they own the tie-breaker over NYK and they play DET tomorrow.

If MIL wins both games and BRK loses against CLE, they'd be the #2 seed but I wonder how much MIL cares about. If they don't, MIA is going to win tonight and the NYK-BOS is all but moot.
 

radsoxfan

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Celtics by TPA (total points added). Jokic by far the league leader for what it's worth. Tatum #19 in the league.

https://nbamath.com/tpa-model/

https://nbamath.com/2020-21-nba-tpa/

Grant Williams.... not a good year. In his defense, he looks like such an outlier because he played 1138 minutes.

A few of the Celtics played just as poorly, they just didn't get the playing time. It's rare you see someone as bad as Grant get over 1100 minutes (especially for a contending team!), hence the huge negative TPA.

Tatum and Brown with pretty disappointing defensive seasons by this metric. Kemba below average on D but in line with the most on the team. Ugly defensive season overall, not surprisingly. TPA has Timelord the only good defender on the team.
 

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wade boggs chicken dinner

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Celtics by TPA (total points added). Jokic by far the league leader for what it's worth. Tatum #19 in the league.

https://nbamath.com/tpa-model/

https://nbamath.com/2020-21-nba-tpa/

Grant Williams.... not a good year. In his defense, he looks like such an outlier because he played 1138 minutes.

A few of the Celtics played just as poorly, they just didn't get the playing time. It's rare you see someone as bad as Grant get over 1100 minutes (especially for a contending team!), hence the huge negative TPA.

Tatum and Brown with pretty disappointing defensive seasons by this metric. Kemba below average on D but in line with the most on the team. Ugly defensive season overall, not surprisingly. TPA has Timelord the only good defender on the team.
The model is obviously biased against Williams because they have Patrick Williams even worse than Grant in more minutes (1,983 minutes, -110.43 OPA compared to Grant's -93.22 OPA in 1,138 minutes).

Everyone's favorite comp PJ Tucker is also worse than Grant at -133.96 OPA so that particular ceiling is still a possibility.
 

radsoxfan

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The model is obviously biased against Williams because they have Patrick Williams even worse than Grant in more minutes (1,983 minutes, -110.43 OPA compared to Grant's -93.22 OPA in 1,138 minutes).

Everyone's favorite comp PJ Tucker is also worse than Grant at -133.96 OPA so that particular ceiling is still a possibility.
Yeah, Tucker has been atrocious this year.

Patrick Williams has been bad too, but got a lot more minutes than Grant. Not as bad on a per minute basis

As a limited upside young player on a contending team, Grant’s playing time and performance combo is pretty unique.

If a contending team is going to play a young player with limited upside, that player will usually have a pretty high floor. Grant’s floor this season was anything but high.

Unfortunately for Brad, the cupboard was bare.
 

benhogan

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Yeah, Tucker has been atrocious this year.

Patrick Williams has been bad too, but got a lot more minutes than Grant. Not as bad on a per minute basis

As a limited upside young player on a contending team, Grant’s playing time and performance combo is pretty unique.

If a contending team is going to play a young player with limited upside, that player will usually have a pretty high floor. Grant’s floor this season was anything but high.

Unfortunately for Brad, the cupboard was bare.
Tons of injuries led to plenty of minutes for bench guys.

Grant sucked this year, showed up fat, was slow on defense & couldn't leap for rebounds. Unless he's in phenomenal shape next fall, I'd be shocked if he was in the top 12 rotation next season.

I've been vocal on who I would have rather seen from the bench by game 20 this season. BUT there were at least a dozen other things that torpedoed the Celtics season more than Mrs. Doubtfire
 
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radsoxfan

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Grant sucked this year, showed up fat, was slow on defense & couldn't leap for rebounds. Unless he's in phenomenal shape next fall, I'd be shocked if he was in the top 12 rotation next season.
Grant's D seemed to improve as the year went on, perhaps he has gotten into better shape.

Most metrics I've seen had him around average or slightly below for the season on the whole, but it was a combination of below average the first part of the year and average to slightly above the second half of the year.

His offense was abysmal all season (a lot more than just the lack of POINTZ :)). If he played himself into shape defensively, it didn't do anything to help out his offensive game.
 

Imbricus

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How is Anthony Edwards so low on this model? He's the fourth-worst rookie, just above Poku. -44 offense, -83 defense. ??? And that's out of more than 100 rookies, it looks like.
 

Cellar-Door

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Grant's D seemed to improve as the year went on, perhaps he has gotten into better shape.

Most metrics I've seen had him around average or slightly below for the season on the whole, but it was a combination of below average the first part of the year and average to slightly above the second half of the year.

His offense was abysmal all season (a lot more than just the lack of POINTZ :)). If he played himself into shape defensively, it didn't do anything to help out his offensive game.
He didn't play any 3 after a point. Grant can't defend 3s at all, he can defend bigs decently, part of his improvement was that roster health and balance changed so he got to play in better matchups for his skills.
 

radsoxfan

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How is Anthony Edwards so low on this model? He's the fourth-worst rookie, just above Poku. -44 offense, -83 defense. ??? And that's out of more than 100 rookies, it looks like.
It's a cumulative stat and Edwards played a ton (2,314 minutes). Rookies are almost always negative, so guys that play a ton will look bad. Plus it looks like his D was REALLY bad, at least based on this model.

A large number of the rookies with less negative TPA are only "better" than Edwards because they played less than 1,000 minutes. Put them out there 2,300 minutes and they would probably be worse than Edwards.

Ball, Haliburton, and Quickley are the only 3 rookies that were positive TPA that had any sort of consistent playing time. Otherwise, it's just varying degrees of bad, with the total negative TPA heavily dependent on minutes played.

For the Celtics, Pritchard at -28.57 in 1,268 minutes is pretty respectable. Held his own for sure.

Nesmith at -45.21 in 669 minutes is not, but of course he was trending up big time down the stretch. It's not totally fair to extrapolate since more playing time Nesmith may have improved more quickly. But for comparison sake, if he played the same minutes as Edwards, his overall TPA would have been -156.38.
 
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Cesar Crespo

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How is Anthony Edwards so low on this model? He's the fourth-worst rookie, just above Poku. -44 offense, -83 defense. ??? And that's out of more than 100 rookies, it looks like.
Playing time. Rookies are generally pretty bad... especially 19 year old ones.

Edwards is probably going to be a really good/great player but it's possible he goes the Andrew Wiggins route and doesn't improve much. Wiggins is more the exception than the rule though.

Also, LaMelo is ridiculous.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Playing time. Rookies are generally pretty bad... especially 19 year old ones.

Edwards is probably going to be a really good/great player but it's possible he goes the Andrew Wiggins route and doesn't improve much. Wiggins is more the exception than the rule though.

Also, LaMelo is ridiculous.
Edwards has already made an enormous leap from early in the season. Wiggins was just there. I don’t have Edwards as a candidate to flat line at all.
 

DJnVa

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Pritchard only 4 minutes last night, but he was off the bench in the first quarter. A function of a Wizards backcourt of Beal/Westbrook?

And this could be the most important update:

UPDATE (12:05 a.m. ET):
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Williams hyperextended that same toe.

"He felt it pretty good," Stevens said. "He tried to come back and play. So, just get treatment and we’ll see what happens.”
 

lovegtm

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Pritchard only 4 minutes last night, but he was off the bench in the first quarter. A function of a Wizards backcourt of Beal/Westbrook?

And this could be the most important update:
As mentioned elsewhere, he couldn't guard Ish, so they had to go to Romeo and trade spacing for defense.
 

Koufax

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I was surprised at how many bench players got minutes. Brad usually shortens his bench considerably in the playoffs, yet 11 players got non-garbage time minutes. And if you had told me before tipoff that Luke Kornet would get more minutes than Grant Williams, I would have told you to put that pipe down. Not that I minded - I think Kornet is more useful than he gets credit for here, but Grant Williams has gotten a lot of minutes lately, so I figured he'd be the third big man.
 

Cellar-Door

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I was surprised at how many bench players got minutes. Brad usually shortens his bench considerably in the playoffs, yet 11 players got non-garbage time minutes. And if you had told me before tipoff that Luke Kornet would get more minutes than Grant Williams, I would have told you to put that pipe down. Not that I minded - I think Kornet is more useful than he gets credit for here, but Grant Williams has gotten a lot of minutes lately, so I figured he'd be the third big man.
Part of that was that he went with Semi and PP, saw what they had and quickly noped out of that ever again.
Really ended up for the bulk of the key portions of the game with a 7-8 man rotation, starting 5, TT, Romeo, Nesmith (then the same but without TL when he got hurt).
Kornet was basically extended garbage time, not sure he comes in if we're not up double figures.

Basically 10 guys played during the substantive portion of the game, and PP and Semi only got 1 stint early each then were done. During the minutes the game was won in, it was a really tight rotation of 7 guys for almost all of that.
 

lovegtm

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I was surprised at how many bench players got minutes. Brad usually shortens his bench considerably in the playoffs, yet 11 players got non-garbage time minutes. And if you had told me before tipoff that Luke Kornet would get more minutes than Grant Williams, I would have told you to put that pipe down. Not that I minded - I think Kornet is more useful than he gets credit for here, but Grant Williams has gotten a lot of minutes lately, so I figured he'd be the third big man.
Playoff Brad shortens rotations, but he also experiments quickly if something isn't working. PP and Semi both didn't really work, so to his credit he found stuff that did with Romeo.
 

lovegtm

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Part of that was that he went with Semi and PP, saw what they had and quickly noped out of that ever again.
Really ended up for the bulk of the key portions of the game with a 7-8 man rotation, starting 5, TT, Romeo, Nesmith (then the same but without TL when he got hurt).
Kornet was basically extended garbage time, not sure he comes in if we're not up double figures.

Basically 10 guys played during the substantive portion of the game, and PP and Semi only got 1 stint early each then were done.
Minor nitpick: Kornet played in non garbage, but it was because TL was hurt.
 

Cellar-Door

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Minor nitpick: Kornet played in non garbage, but it was because TL was hurt.
yeah, I guess "extended garbage time" is a misleading term. I meant it in the sense that he got 2 minutes at a quarter break up double digits. If it had been closer not sure he gets that time.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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yeah, I guess "extended garbage time" is a misleading term. I meant it in the sense that he got 2 minutes at a quarter break up double digits. If it had been closer not sure he gets that time.
Kornet got 2 minutes in the 3Q to spell TT because TL wasn't available. TT wasn't playing the entire 3Q (minus TL's 1:11 where he tried to gut it out) and even Brad isn't playing GW against Robin Lopez or Alex Len unless there's no other option.
 

Imbricus

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Interesting article out there on why the Celtics defense on three-point shooting dropped so much this year from last season. I know in the game threads, the tendency is to blame a lack of effort. But I've watched a lot of games this year and I agree that a not insignificant contributor has just been crappy luck:

Compounding the issue for Boston is the luck factor. Despite allowing a similar number of wide-open attempts per game from 2020 to 2021, opponents made Boston pay more this season than ever. Teams hit 40.3% of their wide-open triples this year vs 37% last season.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Interesting article out there on why the Celtics defense on three-point shooting dropped so much this year from last season. I know in the game threads, the tendency is to blame a lack of effort. But I've watched a lot of games this year and I agree that a not insignificant contributor has just been crappy luck:
Thanks for posting. I'd be interested in knowing who is taking the 3Ps compared to the last few years. I wonder if the Cs are facing better shooters.
 

SteveF

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Median team 3p% on wide open shots was 38.9% this year and 38.5% last year, just as a way of providing context.
 

chilidawg

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Interesting article out there on why the Celtics defense on three-point shooting dropped so much this year from last season. I know in the game threads, the tendency is to blame a lack of effort. But I've watched a lot of games this year and I agree that a not insignificant contributor has just been crappy luck:
Watching the games, I had a hard time not thinking that lack of effort was the issue. They just didn't seem engaged many nights.
 

slamminsammya

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Thanks for posting. I'd be interested in knowing who is taking the 3Ps compared to the last few years. I wonder if the Cs are facing better shooters.
Yea, I don't think it would be too hard for whoever wrangles this data to add an expectation according to each individual shooter's pct. I am also not sure how much I believe the way they bucket open / wide open etc. provides the right signal. Shot tracking has been shown to demonstrate biases according to the stadium, I would believe the same goes for how they categorize open.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Watching the games, I had a hard time not thinking that lack of effort was the issue. They just didn't seem engaged many nights.
I was thinking the same thing. Not all close outs are created equally. “False hustle” is a real phenomenon.
 

Imbricus

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Watching the games, I had a hard time not thinking that lack of effort was the issue. They just didn't seem engaged many nights.
Yeah, I think this is absolutely true. But I think crappy luck may play into it some. I remember a string of games where it seemed, even when the Celts had their hands in someone's face, the other team was knocking down threes like a bunch of Steph Currys. So bad luck may be 30% of this? 20%? 10%? There is an element of luck to getting an inflated sphere to fall through a ring 25 feet away.
 

JCizzle

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Kemba Walker is questionable with a bone bruise in his left knee for Game 3, according to Celtics.

Well, I'm certainly glad all the load management led to two games of healthy Kemba and his 10/27 for 32 points over these two games. Sigh. What a disaster of a season.
 

Imbricus

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This was a good article on SB Nation about the Celtics' failure at running an offense, which was glaringly apparent in Game 2. The deck says it all:

Boston has struggled to share the ball all season, but the Nets have shed some light on some particularly ghastly tendencies.
A couple of takeaways: (1) Kemba isn't really a playmaker (which we all pretty much knew), but he also isn't hitting three pointers at a high-enough clip to justify his frequent stop and pops. (2) The Celts' strategy (I use the word ironically) of heaving the ball up, early in the shot clock, for a three pointer is dumb:

Instead of taking 12-15 seconds of the 24-second shot clock to survey the court, move the ball inside and out, and potentially create natural openings for players down low or allowing defensive swarms to converge before the ball handler kicks it out to an open Evan Fournier or Nesmith, the Celtics hurry up the floor and launch it the first chance they get.
And finally:

There might be nothing that can save them at this point, but some ball movement might help.
Amen. Wish we had a CP3 kind of guy.