Analysis of Celtics Games, '21-'22 Season

shoelace

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No I hear ya and don’t mean to single out you even though you are who I’m responding toward. I was referring to a much larger group using the excuse angle.
I'm happy to be singled out, and I'll be glad to be called out by any of the posters who are more cynical about this roster/coach/etc if I'm proven wrong, it's part of the fun of posting here.

I don't disagree with much of what you said BUT the "trade Schroder" idea is trying to maximize assets in a year when the odds are very long on the Celtics even making the EC Finals. Haven't we've seen enough assets walk away for nothing, while we wishcast?
I mean, you're probably 100% right about this in an abstract, talent acquisition sense. I feel like they would have to be significantly out of contention to trade Schroder, or be blown away by an absurd offer. I've never been one of the folks who think Tatum and Brown would leave Boston as a free agent or demand a trade, but just don't think it sends a great message to those guys if you're trading veteran contributors, even if you're a few games out.

PLUS it's going to take longer than this season to adapt to IME's style/system. He's a rookie HC that is learning on the job and developing his style. No legitimate poster is saying IME should be fired.
I think these are all fair points. But, this season is also weird. I feel like players are adjusting to how the game is being officiated now, a lot of great players are off to bad starts, and I'm not yet willing to admit that that will all continue indefinitely. I want to see a five-game stretch where Jayson Tatum plays like Jayson Tatum before I make any pronouncements about this season. I don't think they're a championship team (how many championship teams in recent memory had a 23 year old as their best player?), but it's still unclear to me exactly what they are. I don't really see how anyone can be sure, unless they made their mind up about this team previously.
 

Eddie Jurak

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So, down by 2, 39-37 at the half. Their offense was terrible, long stretches of not being able to get out of their own way. Actually quite impressive that they are down by 2 after the terrible way they played.

What saved them - the Celtics were 4-17 from three in the half, but 3-6 of that was Grant. They were down 20-9 when Grant buried his first three. Grant also had a nice feed to a cutting Nesmith for an easy basket. Also had a steal.

Not much else to point to. Rob missed a dunk. Richardson had 3 straight calls not go his way, and got himself T's up after the second one. Langford had a pair of steals and had a nice drive and dish to Grant for his first three, but only scored 1 point. Horford took Mobley to school - had him out on the perimeter, faked him out and went in and dunked.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I'm happy to be singled out, and I'll be glad to be called out by any of the posters who are more cynical about this roster/coach/etc if I'm proven wrong, it's part of the fun of posting here.
To be clear, I like what Brad did in his first offseason on the job quite a bit. I was high on the team this year and was excited to play their Season Win Total to the Over until I heard Ime share his ideas on how he would utilize his roster.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Cavs shot 38.6% from the field and were lucky to have that given that the Cs chose to live with Rubio Island for most of the night and Ricky made them pay. Udoka and company have this team playing at a very high level defensively.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Well, that was a weird one but they hung in there despite losing Rob (left knee soreness). Al had a good second half, finally hitting some threes (3-4) and ending up going for 17 points on 7-10 with 9 roubounds, 3 assts, 2 blocks. Struggled a bit on the defensive end down the stretch as Clevelend kept getting him matched up onto Rubio on the perimeter, a matchup he could not handle.

Tatum still struggling but contributed rebounding, assists, blocks, and a couple of keys econd half threes.

Grant was good tonight, scoring 11 and hitting 3 threes. Kanter gave them 8 decent minutes, across the 3rd to 4th uater transition, scoring 5 points as the Celtics built their lead.

Celtics have only allowed 100 points in regulation twice in their last 7 games and they are 5-2 in that stretch, losing the 2 by a total of 5 points.
 

Sprowl

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Cavs shot 38.6% from the field and were lucky to have that given that the Cs chose to live with Rubio Island for most of the night and Ricky made them pay. Udoka and company have this team playing at a very high level defensively.
Getting Smart and Richardson on the court at the same time and on the same page is helping the team focus better on D. Richardson gets a little better each game.
 

benhogan

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To be clear, I like what Brad did in his first offseason on the job quite a bit. I was high on the team this year and was excited to play their Season Win Total to the Over until I heard Ime share his ideas on how he would utilize his roster.
On the broadcast (before TL's injury) Scal mentioned they were going to play TL and Horford together a little less
 

RorschachsMask

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With garbage time filtered out like cleaning the glass does, Celtics are up to 5th in defensive rating, and 11th in net rating.

A lot easier to swallow Tatum’s poor shooting when he passes and defends like he did tonight. But it’s not sustainable, he needs to get going. One of these games he’s going to start cooking, and it’s not going to stop.

Once that happens, and he starts shooting like we all know he will, and we get Jaylen back….this team should be pretty damn good. Not a title contender, but a good team that defends their asses off.
 

RorschachsMask

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Also, while I don’t love using net ratings and
On/off after 14 games, one thing certainly jumps out. Even with Smart and Tatum shooting poorly, the team falls off a cliff when they sit. -12 net rating for the team when either of them sit, Rob is next up at -8.

Their offensive rating when Tatum sits is 92.6, good lord. That just shows that even if he’s shooting like shit and not scoring, all the attention defenses pay to him makes life infinitely easier for everyone else.
 

shoelace

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On the broadcast (before TL's injury) Scal mentioned they were going to play TL and Horford together a little less
I'm with you and HRB on this. I understand where Ime is coming from to an extent, but having TL start and Horford first off the bench makes the most sense to me.

I wonder to what extent starting both guys comes down to stuff that is happening behind the scenes in practice and the locker room and a desire by the coach to reward both guys for their preparation, communication on the floor and leadership.
 

lovegtm

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I thought last year was a bridge year to this year, when the Jays we’re going to be ready to lead and be at their peak. That’s been pushed back to next year?
I'm old enough to remember when many people confidently declared that the 2019-2020 season was a bridge year, and that team turned out to be one of the best in the NBA.

This team is defending really well, the numbers and eye test like that end, and Ime deserves a lot of credit for getting buy-in there.

The offense blows. If its best offensive player can not suck, and the 2nd-best player can play at all, it could get decent. Long way to go, and probably not enough to be more than an ECF contender, but stranger things have happened (like last season, when elite D + 2 good offensive players would have been a title contender).
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The offense blows. If its best offensive player can not suck, and the 2nd-best player can play at all, it could get decent. Long way to go, and probably not enough to be more than an ECF contender, but stranger things have happened (like last season, when elite D + 2 good offensive players would have been a title contender).
This. At first glance, it doesn't look like there are any superteams out there. I'd like to see an extended period where JT and JB play together plus the Cs play top-5 defense.

Health is going to be the most important factor in winning a title this year, maybe more than most given that teams look to be somewhat even at the top.
 

128

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The Warriors are looking pretty super, honestly. Steph is insane, as usual, and they've put together a good cast of role players with a strong defensive identity.

And that's without Klay!
No Wiseman yet, either.
 

Eddie Jurak

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They are 7-7 despite missing 6 games of Brown, 3 games of Al, 1.5 games of Rob, and 1 game of Marcus. That's 10 games of their 3 best players by BPM and OBPM.

And with Tatum slumping.

And they have made notable gains since the beginning, at least on defense (not so much on offense).

Altogether, not a terrible place to be and certainly not cause for abandoning the season.
 

joe dokes

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Is there something about the way Tatum drives/finishes that leads to him not getting foul calls?
 

lovegtm

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Is there something about the way Tatum drives/finishes that leads to him not getting foul calls?
https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/y/youngtr01.html
https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/hardeja01.html

Tatum was getting them towards the end of last year, and then the league completely and abruptly changed how the game is called (mostly for the better imo). Tatum is going to have to adjust, and he's already been changing things. He'll need to go back to the 3-pointer as his main threat ala 2019-2020, and then work that in with his improved ability to use that threat to get to the paint and make passes.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Rob Williams felt "sharp pain" in his left knee. Even if there's no structural damage, sounds like an extended rest to me. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

https://www.celticsblog.com/2021/11/15/22784365/robert-williams-out-for-remainder-of-game-vs-cleveland-cavaliers-boston-celtics
Maybe playing him 107 minutes in a 3-game window covering 72 hours wasn’t a good idea, Ime? We saw this coming with 45 min on opening night for a guy with chronic lower body (hip & knee) issues. The hits keep on coming with Ime. Good grief.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Maybe playing him 107 minutes in a 3-game window covering 72 hours wasn’t a good idea, Ime? We saw this coming with 45 min on opening night for a guy with chronic lower body (hip & knee) issues. The hits keep on coming with Ime. Good grief.
I agree that TL's minutes has been befuddling to me. I mean 41 minutes on opening night (as many indicated) was super-surprising. While Brad the GM I'm sure doesn't micromanage minutes on an in-game basis, Brad the GM surely has input into how players are used. Surely he and Ime has discussed how TL is to be used.

OTOH, managing TL's minutes last season didn't seem to work either as he wasn't available at the end of the BRK series.

I dunno. Maybe they were trying to see if TL's new pacing himself would allow him to stay healthier in more minutes.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'm old enough to remember when many people confidently declared that the 2019-2020 season was a bridge year, and that team turned out to be one of the best in the NBA.
You mean a covid year that we are told to ignore unless it has a positive impact on the C's?

Maybe the C's are just a bubble team.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Is there something about the way Tatum drives/finishes that leads to him not getting foul calls?
I think Tatum’s constant whinging after every call he doesn’t get does not help matters. I also think his style
Is to avoid contact rather than playing through it. Not all guys are like this. Tatum shoots a fallaway that is basically impossible to block but maybe leads to less contact? Paul Pierce, by contrast, used to be happy to upfake the defender and then take the contact as he went into his shot.

Maybe Ime should offer him a deal: “Jayson, if you STFU, then I will pick an opportune moment and blow up at the refs until they call a T.”
 

benhogan

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Maybe playing him 107 minutes in a 3-game window covering 72 hours wasn’t a good idea, Ime? We saw this coming with 45 min on opening night for a guy with chronic lower body (hip & knee) issues. The hits keep on coming with Ime. Good grief.
Yea, I'd really love to see Horford and TL's energy each playing a crisp 24mpg.

It would be one of the most productive Center combos in the NBA

Ime already said Schroder goes back to the bench once Brown returns...why????
 

Deathofthebambino

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Yea, I'd really love to see Horford and TL's energy each playing a crisp 24mpg.

It would be one of the most productive Center combos in the NBA

Ime already said Schroder goes back to the bench once Brown returns...why????
Because he can't hurt Marcus' feelings and take him out of the starting lineup. Same reason Brad wouldn't reign Marcus in.

If TL is out for a significant amount of time, and Jaylen is replacing DS in the lineup, who is Ime going to start instead? Grant? Makes no fucking sense....
 

Cesar Crespo

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Because he can't hurt Marcus' feelings and take him out of the starting lineup. Same reason Brad wouldn't reign Marcus in.

If TL is out for a significant amount of time, and Jaylen is replacing DS in the lineup, who is Ime going to start instead? Grant? Makes no fucking sense....
Could go smaller with Richardson but yeah, should be DS or JRich.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Yea, I'd really love to see Horford and TL's energy each playing a crisp 24mpg.

It would be one of the most productive Center combos in the NBA

Ime already said Schroder goes back to the bench once Brown returns...why????
Incredible. That’s all I can say….incredible.
 
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benhogan

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Without looking it up, in how many of the last 4 games did Schroder have more assists than turnovers?
I hear ya, fits right in with the rest. The turnovers are maddening

But he's very capable of breaking down defenders off the drive. You either need to do that or shoot 3s when playing with the "Gravity JAYs".

on the season:
5.2 ast/gm
2.9 to/gm

When Brown gets back I wish IME would start:
DS/Horford/Tatum/Brown/Smart and
use TimeLord/JRich/Grant/Langford/Nesmith for a 10-man rotation
 

chilidawg

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C's are about league average when it comes to turnovers, and force about one a game more than they cough up. I'll bet their assist percentage is below average though.

Surprising that Grant has been the best of the recent draftees thus far.
 

benhogan

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Surprising that Grant has been the best of the recent draftees thus far.
The slimmed-down version is much better, he could barely move last season.
Supposedly he gained weight last season to play the 5 more. Bad idea. That should never happen again.

I see him mostly as a 4, don't love him as a small-ball 5. His corner 3 has him back on the PJ Tucker track

Grant is still just a complementary player, certainly don't want to be accused of putting him in Springfield
 

benhogan

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And depressing. 5 or 6 1st round picks in that period too, depending how you classify the Kanter trade.
we really need for those guys to improve in order to add another piece

Jerami Grant or Christian Wood may be available by trade deadline. It would be nice if PBS didn't have to completely empty the draft cupboard. Otherwise Thaddeus Young may be the best option or Slo-Mo if Memphis fades.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Athletic article on the Cs offensive woes here: https://theathletic.com/2958630/2021/11/16/despite-win-celtics-still-working-on-getting-their-offense-to-be-as-effective-as-their-defense/?redirected=1. The number that stood out to me is bolded elow:

Though Nesmith was drafted largely for his shooting prowess, he has also been quiet offensively. Especially if the young guys continue failing to earn minutes, Udoka does not have endless scoring options to support Tatum, Brown and Schröder.
That matters. Without proper floor spacing, driving all the way to the hoop becomes more difficult. That’s one reason the Celtics rank just 25th in shot attempts within 4 feet of the basket. They want Tatum and Brown to grow as playmakers, but haven’t made it easy on them. The Celtics have also experienced trouble manufacturing buckets with their starting frontcourt in the game. Though the team’s defense has been wildly effective with Horford and Robert Williams on the court together, the Celtics have scored only 97.8 points per 100 possessions with lineups featuring that duo. For the sake of reference, the Rockets’ league-worst offense entered Monday scoring more than that. Williams and Horford have played only 111 minutes together, a small sample size, but it’s already clear Boston needs to determine how to squeeze buckets out of their more traditional units.
I'm sure part of the issue with Tatum is just being cold and another part is the new defensive rules and ball change. However, I'm also sure one other issue is that the Cs don't have great spacing on the floor particularly when Horford and TL are on the floor together. Al isn't going to be shooting .280 from 3P all season (we hope) so that will probably change and I'll take their defense right now. I'd also like to see whether additional ball movement is going to help. But it's a number worth watching and if keeps going, I'm sure the clamor for splitting Al and TL will grow louder. Right BenHogan?
 

lexrageorge

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we really need for those guys to improve in order to add another piece

Jerami Grant or Christian Wood may be available by trade deadline. It would be nice if PBS didn't have to completely empty the draft cupboard. Otherwise Thaddeus Young may be the best option or Slo-Mo if Memphis fades.
The burning of that draft capital (still no reason to trade a 1st along with Kanter) is going to haunt this team. Even adding the pieces you note above does not change the fact that the team's ceiling with Tatum/Brown appears to be 4/5 seed at best, and the capital they do have is not nearly enough to trade for a star unless said star forces his way here.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The burning of that draft capital (still no reason to trade a 1st along with Kanter) is going to haunt this team. Even adding the pieces you note above does not change the fact that the team's ceiling with Tatum/Brown appears to be 4/5 seed at best, and the capital they do have is not nearly enough to trade for a star unless said star forces his way here.
There were logical hard tax reasons for including the nearly always worthless 30th pick to rid themselves of Kanter’s contract once he exercised his option. People have to stop thinking that Ainge was going to select Bane. He was one of the first guys Ainge interviewed during the draft process along with Xavier Tillman and Tyrell Terry and those were the only conversation he had with Bane. For all we know, he was doing his due diligence if one of them dropped well into the 2nd round. There isn’t any evidence that he was impressed enough to complicate their tax issue while guaranteeing him multiple years.
 
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wade boggs chicken dinner

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The burning of that draft capital (still no reason to trade a 1st along with Kanter) is going to haunt this team. Even adding the pieces you note above does not change the fact that the team's ceiling with Tatum/Brown appears to be 4/5 seed at best, and the capital they do have is not nearly enough to trade for a star unless said star forces his way here.
If you were running the Cs, you wouldn't be paying the tax for Kanter and the 30th draft pick.

Besides, even if DA did draft Bane, he wasn't going to move the needle. In a straight up trade, any team with a star is asking for JB or JT (as PHI is doing) and if the star forces his way here, it's going to happen whether or not the Cs can include one more decent young player.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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If the first that went out with Kanter is what stops this team from obtaining another star, Brad and everyone working in the front office should be fired immediately. The first is of diminished value as soon as its a potential piece in a trade for the next big acquisition.
 

Cesar Crespo

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It's not even that they missed Bane at 30. It's that they had another 5 picks and not much to show for it.

And eventually these type of players do move the needle. Maybe not individually, but if you combine enough of them. If they didn't, you could just surround Tatum and Brown with whoever you wanted.

People here think the C's would have another title if Perkins didn't get injured. Needle mover Kendrick Perkins.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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It's not even that they missed Bane at 30. It's that they had another 5 picks and not much to show for it.

And eventually these type of players do move the needle. Maybe not individually, but if you combine enough of them. If they didn't, you could just surround Tatum and Brown with whoever you wanted.

People here think the C's would have another title if Perkins didn't get injured. Needle mover Kendrick Perkins.
This may be the case but nobody can change history. Feel free to discuss how badly they messed up but talking about it doesn't change anything.

If Stevens and his staff cannot find reasonable alternatives to throw into a deal, they shouldn't be in their jobs. I don't know what the cut-off is for NBA front-offices but based on how transactions are done, it really seems like most NBA front-offices consider most players below the top-X to be fungible. And picks absent a tie to a direct draft slot seem to be even more commoditized.
 

Jimbodandy

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It's not even that they missed Bane at 30. It's that they had another 5 picks and not much to show for it.

And eventually these type of players do move the needle. Maybe not individually, but if you combine enough of them. If they didn't, you could just surround Tatum and Brown with whoever you wanted.

People here think the C's would have another title if Perkins didn't get injured. Needle mover Kendrick Perkins.
This is a fair take imo. Anyone who was arguing pre-draft for Bane or Quickley, I have no problen with them roostering a bit here. But most weren't.

Overall complaints about some guy drafted that low are nonsense. If 25 other teams pass on a player, why are we dwelling on the miss. Everyone missed. However, expected value on 2 late lottery and 4 late firsts HAS to be better than what we got. It's a weakness of the later Ainge regime. I don't see the counterargument here. It's part of why we're on season 2 of abject mediocrity, possibly season 3 if not for the bubble.

Brad has at least shuffled parts to enable trades, and Begarin looks like a nice megabucks ticket given draft position. Maybe PBS performs better with mid-firsts than DA did. Hope so, because it looks like what we're gonna have for the foreseeable future.
 

Eddie Jurak

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According to cleaning the glass, here are the 3 most common celtic lineups this year by efficiency differential:
  • Schroder-Smart-Brown-Tatum-Rob: 113 minutes, +6.2
  • Schroder-Smart-Tatum-Horford-Rob: 108 minutes, +0.9
  • Smart-Brown-Tatum-Horford-Rob: 106 minutes, +7.5
The 2-big lineup is better with Brown than Schroder, which I guess makes sense. Schroder drives, so 2 bigs on the floor with him may be inefficient.

These are interesting:
  • Schroder-Smart-Tatum-Grant-Rob: 46 minutes, -21.5
  • Smart-Brown-Tatum-Grant-Rob: 46 minutes, +43.6
  • Schroder-Smart-Tatum-Grant-Horford: 30 minutes: +43.7
  • Schroder-Richardson-Smart-Tatum-Rob: 66 minutes, +43.9
Smart and Rob go together, Schroder and Al go together?

Schroder drives, so Rob clogging up the lane would be bad, and Al can play out. In theory, Schroder could run the pick and roll with Rob, but Smart is way better at hitting Rob on those plays. And Schroder often waves off picks that are set for him. But Richardson instead of Grant and now Shroder works just fine with Rob, Smart, and Tatum.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This is a fair take imo. Anyone who was arguing pre-draft for Bane or Quickley, I have no problen with them roostering a bit here. But most weren't.

Overall complaints about some guy drafted that low are nonsense. If 25 other teams pass on a player, why are we dwelling on the miss. Everyone missed. However, expected value on 2 late lottery and 4 late firsts HAS to be better than what we got. It's a weakness of the later Ainge regime. I don't see the counterargument here. It's part of why we're on season 2 of abject mediocrity, possibly season 3 if not for the bubble.

Brad has at least shuffled parts to enable trades, and Begarin looks like a nice megabucks ticket given draft position. Maybe PBS performs better with mid-firsts than DA did. Hope so, because it looks like what we're gonna have for the foreseeable future.
My complaints on Ainge drafting mid to late 1st wasn’t so much about the misses but the lack of upside in those misses. Don’t miss on a Sullinger or a Pritchard when you are staring at their upside right in front of you. Miss on a freak athlete projection like a Begarin (or my beloved Gobert from prior years) to where you have a chance to a guy to grow into his length and athleticism (aka upside) on the cheap. Hopefully Brad’s choice of Begarin signals an end to the “safe” picks that are akin to kicking a FG on 4th and 3 when you’re down 5 in rhe 4Q.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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However, expected value on 2 late lottery and 4 late firsts HAS to be better than what we got. It's a weakness of the later Ainge regime. I don't see the counterargument here.
The counterargument is that you are assuming Expected Value without showing your work.

Here's an article with a survey of several different draft value analysis methods: https://tonyelhabr.github.io/nba-decision_analysis/what-research-says-about-nba-draft-pick-value.html

Here's a second one with expected value from drafts until 2008: https://www.82games.com/nbadraftpicks.htm. According to this second one, the percent change of drafting a role player or worse with pick 14 is approximately 45%.

Since the JT draft, BOS has drafted one starter, two players who are seemingly in the rotation, and two more players who people have clamored to be in the rotation but at least one of them is probably no better than a role player. To me, that's probably expected value. Maybe a little more. Not a home run by any means but it just goes to show how much of a crap shoot it is picking outside of the top 5 in the NBA.