Analysis of Celtics Games, '21-'22 Season

HomeRunBaker

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I don't see it that way at all. To me, NBA teams focus mostly on potential for guys in this age range and JB's potential---athletically in particular---has always been far above Halliburton's. Which is especially important because sitting here today his play is as well. Brown is a vastly better scorer, and has tools to be a much more versatile defender and has shown that in flashes (though, as we've all noted, not consistently). I agree Halliburton is a better distributor. That said, and agreeing there's a couple years of age difference, I think there's no way any team is valuing Halliburton above Brown even figuring in contract (a big benefit for Halliburton right now). One is an all-star now with the potential to possibly be a first team all-NBA talent (though I don't know Brown will quite get there) and one is a very good player who looks like he might make an all-star game in a good-case scenario. But you never trade the first for the second. Even if one thinks Halliburton is a better player today (which is a tough case to make, even with Halliburton's efficiency) I don't think teams will project them similarly going forward.

And to repeat---going back to the draft---I'm a big Halliburton fan. But I think people are focusing a bit too much on Brown's gaps and too little on Halliburton's. So, yes, I agree Celtics wouldn't do that as I think they recognize the difference between potential superstars and very good players. HRB often makes the point about athletic ability and sometimes I think people focus a little too much on efficiency stats and not enough on how players can project forward....
Very well said.
 

benhogan

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I think there's no way any team is valuing Halliburton above Brown even figuring in contract (a big benefit for Halliburton right now). One is an all-star now with the potential to possibly be a first team all-NBA talent (though I don't know Brown will quite get there) and one is a very good player who looks like he might make an all-star game in a good-case scenario. But you never trade the first for the second. Even if one thinks Halliburton is a better player today (which is a tough case to make, even with Halliburton's efficiency) I don't think teams will project them similarly going forward.

And to repeat---going back to the draft---I'm a big Halliburton fan. But I think people are focusing a bit too much on Brown's gaps and too little on Halliburton's. So, yes, I agree Celtics wouldn't do that as I think they recognize the difference between potential superstars and very good players. HRB often makes the point about athletic ability and sometimes I think people focus a little too much on efficiency stats and not enough on how players can project forward....
I didn't say or suggest either of those two things.

Clearly Brown is better and more valuable right now (that's why people have included Barnes in the deal)

I like Halliburton but pretty sure there’s no team who thinks his upside is equal to what Brown is today, much less what he might grow into. Which is why that deal doesn’t make sense for Celtics unless the goal is to win a playoff series this year or there are major chemistry issues we haven’t heard about (which I do not rule out)
I simply suggested Sac, who drafted and have a bias, may believe Haliburton's eventual upside is of "equal" since he was better age-wise. That's another paradigm that many of the young player projection ceiling/floor experts like to use.

Agreed, Jaylen is an explosive athlete, everyone on the board agrees with that.
 

PedroKsBambino

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You said "So it wouldn't shock me if Sac viewed his eventual upside to be greater" and my belief is there's little chance that is true. Even crappy organizations are more sophisticated about this than saying "played better at age 20 so has more upside" without looking at the physical package, tools, etc. Age relatvie to production matters, but it is not abstract.

Obviously neither of us knows Sac's evaluation and I agree they might have bias---and also that teams value the years of control with Haliburton for sure. Even wtih those, as several of us have said, this is more a "two dimes/a dime and a nickel for a quarter" kind of proposal. I could be wrong, of course!
 

Cesar Crespo

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The C's have been bad from 3 this year but we also need to adjust for the league. Shooting is way down to begin the year.

The league average is .343, down from .367 last year. The Hawks entered last nights game 6th best in the league at .366. The 6th best 3 point shooting team would have been below average last year.

The C's .323 is bad, but it's not nearly as bad as it looks.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'd even argue if this is a real change and not just an off year, the game is going to start moving away from the 3.
 

Cesar Crespo

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The C's have 3 players who are above average (4 if you include Jabari) from 3 this year. Those 3 are Grant Williams, Romeo Langford and Jaylen Brown.

Grant's probably in the best 3 game stretch of his career. Over the last 3: 26.9 minutes, .583/.529/1.000, 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds. 5.7 3PA/G. He's also up to 6.1 3PA/36 this year. That was 3.3 his RY and 4.1 last year.

It'd be weird if he continues his current play and develops into the shooter we need. If he can hit 36-38% of his 3s on decent volume, it will go a long way on a C's team that can't shoot.

Since his 0-25 start, he is 104-250, .385 from 3. That includes the playoffs. I'd also guess his recent play has solidified him as an Ime guy, if he wasn't one already.

I'm one of the people griping about Ime's usage and rotations, but Grant Williams is possibly proof he will play young players consistently if they do something with their minutes. He was/is playing Romeo consistently, too. Romeo did get less minutes over the last 2 than he was receiving early on, and given the injuries the last 2 games, that doesn't bode well for Romeo. It could also just be a 2 game blip.

I also wonder with the team's need for offense and shooting, if Ime will shift away from Romeo in favor of Nesmith.
 

nighthob

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I like Halliburton but pretty sure there’s no team who thinks his upside is equal to what Brown is today, much less what he might grow into. Which is why that deal doesn’t make sense for Celtics unless the goal is to win a playoff series this year or there are major chemistry issues we haven’t heard about (which I do not rule out)
I didn't say that the general view is that Haliburton's ceiling would be greater than or equal to Brown's, just that the general view would be that it would be close. Brown is likely to be, and continue to be, the better scorer. But he's also pretty much at his ceiling. Maybe he'll get to be a better defender still, but his concentration lapses on that end are now in their sixth season. There comes a point where you have to say that's just who he is.

Anyway, I would prefer SGA as the target as he's what you would be hoping that Haliburton turned in to, and OKC is forcing him into a role that he's not suited for, primary scorer, in order to let Giddey run the offense. So something built around Brown for Gilgeous-Alexander would be a deal that worked for both teams.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I didn't say that the general view is that Haliburton's ceiling would be greater than or equal to Brown's, just that the general view would be that it would be close. Brown is likely to be, and continue to be, the better scorer. But he's also pretty much at his ceiling. Maybe he'll get to be a better defender still, but his concentration lapses on that end are now in their sixth season. There comes a point where you have to say that's just who he is.

Anyway, I would prefer SGA as the target as he's what you would be hoping that Haliburton turned in to, and OKC is forcing him into a role that he's not suited for, primary scorer, in order to let Giddey run the offense. So something built around Brown for Gilgeous-Alexander would be a deal that worked for both teams.
Most players are what they are by 25, with incremental growth from there on out. Jaylen is 25, and as you noted, in his 6th NBA season. I can see not wanting to trade Jaylen from Haliburton/Barnes, but I really disagree with saying Brown has the potential to possibly be a first team All NBA talent. 3rd team would be generous. about accurate looking at previous lists. Or maybe I was right the first time.

http://www.espn.com/nba/history/awards/_/id/46
 

nighthob

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Most players are what they are by 25, with incremental growth from there on out. Jaylen is 25, and as you noted, in his 6th NBA season. I can see not wanting to trade Jaylen from Haliburton/Barnes, but I really disagree with saying Brown has the potential to possibly be a first team All NBA talent. 3rd team would be generous. about accurate looking at previous lists. Or maybe I was right the first time.

http://www.espn.com/nba/history/awards/_/id/46
I said All Star talent for what it's worth. He's clearly a top 30 player and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. But I agree that there's no chance in Newark that he's ever a top five guy.
 

NickEsasky

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I'd even argue if this is a real change and not just an off year, the game is going to start moving away from the 3.
I'm curious as to why you think so. The efficiency of the 3-point shot hasn't diminished. Players keep increasing their range and ability to get 3's off as well.
 

Cesar Crespo

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I said All Star talent for what it's worth. He's clearly a top 30 player and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. But I agree that there's no chance in Newark that he's ever a top five guy.
Yeah, it wasn't you. It was PKB. Jaylen is definitely an all star talent and top 30 player.

I'm curious as to why you think so. The efficiency of the 3-point shot hasn't diminished. Players keep increasing their range and ability to get 3's off as well.
I don't think the trend actually continues but if the new rules are a reason for it, teams will start to play inside more. There will still be plenty of 3s to go around, it will just flatten or even slightly decline. 2PFG% have also declined, so maybe that wouldn't be the case.

3pt % has been pretty static for awhile, so it dropping to 90s levels is notable, at least. https://www.statmuse.com/nba/ask/nba-league-wide-three-point-percentage-by-decade

Despite that, teams are still attempting 1.1 more per game. I don't think you'd see any type of adjustment for another year or two anyway.

.343 from 3 and .518 from 2 this season.

I'd have to do a deep dive but I'm kind of curious if there are so many players learning the 3 or so many bad shooters letting it fly anyway because that's how the game is played, that it is starting to have a serious impact on the numbers and might be diminishing the value of the 3 as a whole. Too much quantity, not enough quality.

Or you know, it's all just noise and they start to bounce back to league norms.
 

benhogan

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Yeah, it wasn't you. It was PKB. Jaylen is definitely an all star talent and top 30 player.



I don't think the trend actually continues but if the new rules are a reason for it, teams will start to play inside more. There will still be plenty of 3s to go around, it will just flatten or even slightly decline. 2PFG% have also declined, so maybe that wouldn't be the case.

3pt % has been pretty static for awhile, so it dropping to 90s levels is notable, at least. https://www.statmuse.com/nba/ask/nba-league-wide-three-point-percentage-by-decade

Despite that, teams are still attempting 1.1 more per game. I don't think you'd see any type of adjustment for another year or two anyway.

.343 from 3 and .518 from 2 this season.

I'd have to do a deep dive but I'm kind of curious if there are so many players learning the 3 or so many bad shooters letting it fly anyway because that's how the game is played, that it is starting to have a serious impact on the numbers and might be diminishing the value of the 3 as a whole. Too much quantity, not enough quality.

Or you know, it's all just noise and they start to bounce back to league norms.
that damn new ball...jk

With the refs letting the defense play more physical on guys that drive won't that lead to looking for more 3s?

It's much harder to make a driving layup in traffic when the defender can keep their hand on the hip or lower back of the shooter.
 

Cesar Crespo

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that damn new ball...jk

With the refs letting the defense play more physical on guys that drive won't that lead to looking for more 3s?

It's much harder to make a driving layup in traffic when the defender can keep their hand on the hip or lower back of the shooter.
You might be right. Pretty much every year (I'd almost be willing to bet every season, but it's true for at least the last decade), (3pt% x 1.5) was greater than 2 pt%. That's not true atm. Usually, it's not even that close. It's 3 point % by a mile. Some of that could be shot distribution too as the mid range shot fades away. 2PFG% have been rising for awhile now, as well. When LeBron started, it was at .460. Last year, it was .530. Over the course of his NBA career, 3pt% has dipped below .350 3 times, this year, his rookie season (.347) and 2011/12 (.349). So it does happen from time to time and it bounces back. Just the other times it happened, 2PFG% was at .460 and .477, not .518.

At the very least, I think it's worth noting that 2PFGs are more effective in the NBA than 3PFGs this season, at least as of 11/18/21.

A better way of looking at it, the league TS% this year is .549 and EFG% is .517, both the lowest since 16/17.

I'm just thinking out loud. I'm sure there are all kinds of reasons why the trend will continue, even if 3P% continues to drop. It would be nice to see a league with Steph Curry and Patrick Ewing though.

edit: Plus at some point, having these players develop a 3 point shot will take away from developing other areas of their game. You'd think adding a shot would be easier to do later on than adding other skills. Plus, is it really worth having your big man add the 3 when he shoots it at a .328 clip over 4 attempts a game? Maybe, I guess.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I didn't say that the general view is that Haliburton's ceiling would be greater than or equal to Brown's, just that the general view would be that it would be close. Brown is likely to be, and continue to be, the better scorer. But he's also pretty much at his ceiling. Maybe he'll get to be a better defender still, but his concentration lapses on that end are now in their sixth season. There comes a point where you have to say that's just who he is.

Anyway, I would prefer SGA as the target as he's what you would be hoping that Haliburton turned in to, and OKC is forcing him into a role that he's not suited for, primary scorer, in order to let Giddey run the offense. So something built around Brown for Gilgeous-Alexander would be a deal that worked for both teams.
I was referring to benhogan, who said that—you did not I agree.
 

slamminsammya

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There is a seasonal component to offense which is playing a role here. I also wonder if crowds being at full capacity again requires an adjusment from the players.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Romeo did get less minutes over the last 2 than he was receiving early on, and given the injuries the last 2 games, that doesn't bode well for Romeo. It could also just be a 2 game blip.
I might be wrong about this but in one of the Cavs games down the stretch, they were trying to have Romeo set a pick to get DS (I think) a mismatch and Romeo couldn't get the pick set.

There was another time last night where Romeo couldn't get the pick set to get DS on Trae and while I wasn't paying that close attention, it seemed like he didn't play much at all after that.

Maybe I'm imagining all of that. But ATL was hiding Trae on Romeo and that worked pretty well for them (among other things).
 

HomeRunBaker

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I might be wrong about this but in one of the Cavs games down the stretch, they were trying to have Romeo set a pick to get DS (I think) a mismatch and Romeo couldn't get the pick set.

There was another time last night where Romeo couldn't get the pick set to get DS on Trae and while I wasn't paying that close attention, it seemed like he didn't play much at all after that.

Maybe I'm imagining all of that. But ATL was hiding Trae on Romeo and that worked pretty well for them (among other things).
No, he hasn’t played particularly well the past two games.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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So Ime said that after the defense stabilized, he's going to turn his attention to the offense. Hopefully he can do something about this. According to this article - https://fansided.com/2021/11/18/celtics-offense-broken/ -

(1) Cs are averaging 12.3 isolation possessions per game, which would be 6th highest since 2015 and the highest mark for any non-LBJ or non-Harden seasons (and that only includes possessions that finish in a shot attempt so ISO TOs not included).

(2) The Cs haven't been particularly efficient in ISOs scoring .84 ppp (comparatively, the top 5 ISO teams were .99 ppp or above).

(3) The Cs have even less movement - both player and ball - than last season: "Last season, the Celtics ranked in the 49 percentile in ball movement and 42nd in player movement. Their marks from this season would rank in the 17th and fourth percentiles, respectively."

(4) JT is also averaging a career-low 0.74 ppp on post-ups. I'm guessing this has at least something to do with the lack of spacing on the court.

As many others have said, not only has this year's Cs offense not been terribly effective, it's not been terribly fun to watch either. Hopefully it can get fixed.
 

bigq

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So Ime said that after the defense stabilized, he's going to turn his attention to the offense. Hopefully he can do something about this. According to this article - https://fansided.com/2021/11/18/celtics-offense-broken/ -

(1) Cs are averaging 12.3 isolation possessions per game, which would be 6th highest since 2015 and the highest mark for any non-LBJ or non-Harden seasons (and that only includes possessions that finish in a shot attempt so ISO TOs not included).

(2) The Cs haven't been particularly efficient in ISOs scoring .84 ppp (comparatively, the top 5 ISO teams were .99 ppp or above).

(3) The Cs have even less movement - both player and ball - than last season: "Last season, the Celtics ranked in the 49 percentile in ball movement and 42nd in player movement. Their marks from this season would rank in the 17th and fourth percentiles, respectively."

(4) JT is also averaging a career-low 0.74 ppp on post-ups. I'm guessing this has at least something to do with the lack of spacing on the court.

As many others have said, not only has this year's Cs offense not been terribly effective, it's not been terribly fun to watch either. Hopefully it can get fixed.
I don't watch many NBA games outside of the Celtics but #3 above is particularly damning. SSS caveat but those are putrid stats and regression to mean cannot come soon enough.
 

HomeRunBaker

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So Ime said that after the defense stabilized, he's going to turn his attention to the offense. Hopefully he can do something about this. According to this article - https://fansided.com/2021/11/18/celtics-offense-broken/ -

(1) Cs are averaging 12.3 isolation possessions per game, which would be 6th highest since 2015 and the highest mark for any non-LBJ or non-Harden seasons (and that only includes possessions that finish in a shot attempt so ISO TOs not included).

(2) The Cs haven't been particularly efficient in ISOs scoring .84 ppp (comparatively, the top 5 ISO teams were .99 ppp or above).

(3) The Cs have even less movement - both player and ball - than last season: "Last season, the Celtics ranked in the 49 percentile in ball movement and 42nd in player movement. Their marks from this season would rank in the 17th and fourth percentiles, respectively."

(4) JT is also averaging a career-low 0.74 ppp on post-ups. I'm guessing this has at least something to do with the lack of spacing on the court.

As many others have said, not only has this year's Cs offense not been terribly effective, it's not been terribly fun to watch either. Hopefully it can get fixed.
Imagine how many turnovers this team would have with MORE ball movement? That shit doesn’t come free and I’m going to trust Ime (yes, I said these two words together) that he recognizes the teams ball handling deficiencies.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Well, Lakers game started ugly but the Celtics turned it around.

The game opened in a blitz of Lebron/AD. AD scored 17 points in the first quarter alone. Things were going so poorly for the Celtics that something happened that I'd never seen before - later on in the action, an Al Horford three was taken away, minutes after the fact, because he had a foot out of bounds as he shot. (I think this is a terrible thing to do by replay - I've seen the 3 change to 2 and vice versa plenty of times, which I also don't like but this seems worse.)

Jayson Tatum opened the game bombing away from three - he was 1-5 on his first 5 shots, 1-4 from three.

Down by 9 with 4 minutes left in the quarter, Marcus Smart came in and changed the game with his offensive play. The Lakers had Malik Monk on him and Smart took him down low and hit a jumper over him. Davis scored on the other end and then Smart hit the same shot over Monk. LA scores free throws, and then Smart tries the same shot and misses. Davis scores on a lob fromRndo and this time Smart drives and lays it in and getas fouled. He missed three free throw, but he gaves them 6 points in a 1:20. Celtics are still down by nine, which becomes 12 when Horford's earlier three is removed, but Richardson runs off 7 straight points to cut it to 5. Monk answers with a pair of threes, then Smart drives and gets an and one. It ends with Lakers up 38-30, with Smart and Richardson scoring 20 points in the quarter including the last 18 Celtic points of the quarter.

Smart ends up as the second leading scorer with 22 points, 9-13 shooting, plus 8 rebounds, 6 assists.

Leading scorer, Tatum, who at some point in the game realized he could get whatever he wanted against the Laker defense. He started 1-5 (1-4 from three) and finished 13-26 (4 of 9 from three) for 37. A lot of drives and the Lakers couldn't stop him.

Schroder also scored 21 and, for the first time in 5 games, had more assists (6) than turnovers (4). Most of the assists were in the second half

Richardson had 15 points (9 in the first quarter) and he was on the floor when the Celtics turned it around. Led the team with +27 in 29 minutes.

Once they start taking it to the Lakers instead of settling for outside shots they played well.
 

Jimbodandy

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Well, Lakers game started ugly but the Celtics turned it around.

The game opened in a blitz of Lebron/AD. AD scored 17 points in the first quarter alone. Things were going so poorly for the Celtics that something happened that I'd never seen before - later on in the action, an Al Horford three was taken away, minutes after the fact, because he had a foot out of bounds as he shot. (I think this is a terrible thing to do by replay - I've seen the 3 change to 2 and vice versa plenty of times, which I also don't like but this seems worse.)

Jayson Tatum opened the game bombing away from three - he was 1-5 on his first 5 shots, 1-4 from three.

Down by 9 with 4 minutes left in the quarter, Marcus Smart came in and changed the game with his offensive play. The Lakers had Malik Monk on him and Smart took him down low and hit a jumper over him. Davis scored on the other end and then Smart hit the same shot over Monk. LA scores free throws, and then Smart tries the same shot and misses. Davis scores on a lob fromRndo and this time Smart drives and lays it in and getas fouled. He missed three free throw, but he gaves them 6 points in a 1:20. Celtics are still down by nine, which becomes 12 when Horford's earlier three is removed, but Richardson runs off 7 straight points to cut it to 5. Monk answers with a pair of threes, then Smart drives and gets an and one. It ends with Lakers up 38-30, with Smart and Richardson scoring 20 points in the quarter including the last 18 Celtic points of the quarter.

Smart ends up as the second leading scorer with 22 points, 9-13 shooting, plus 8 rebounds, 6 assists.

Leading scorer, Tatum, who at some point in the game realized he could get whatever he wanted against the Laker defense. He started 1-5 (1-4 from three) and finished 13-26 (4 of 9 from three) for 37. A lot of drives and the Lakers couldn't stop him.

Schroder also scored 21 and, for the first time in 5 games, had more assists (6) than turnovers (4). Most of the assists were in the second half

Richardson had 15 points (9 in the first quarter) and he was on the floor when the Celtics turned it around. Led the team with +27 in 29 minutes.

Once they start taking it to the Lakers instead of settling for outside shots they played well.
Great recap.

Lakers seemingly can't keep their foot on the gas pedal. They looked great in the first but were the worse team in the remaining three quarters. Specifically their defense is ghastly. Tatum and Schroeder get to the rim ok generally, but they lived there tonight. And love the callout on Marcus bullyball and Richardson's easy points.

Not sure why the Lakers don't give a fuck, but I'll take the W. Can't help but wonder what notorious try-hard Westbrook thinks of efforts like this.
 

lovegtm

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I'm more and more of a fan of Richardson as the season goes on. Not a great shooter, but can keep the ball moving and make plays off closeouts. On defense, he plays bigger than he is while still being able to guard quicker guys. Again, this is all very much in the category of "things that only matter if Tatum and Brown are healthy and play well", but happy to have him under contract another year after this.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I'm more and more of a fan of Richardson as the season goes on. Not a great shooter, but can keep the ball moving and make plays off closeouts. On defense, he plays bigger than he is while still being able to guard quicker guys. Again, this is all very much in the category of "things that only matter if Tatum and Brown are healthy and play well", but happy to have him under contract another year after this.
Watching him play, offensively, I can see the argument that having him out on the perimeter as a spot up shooter is not the best use of his skills.
 

Swedgin

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Watching him play, offensively, I can see the argument that having him out on the perimeter as a spot up shooter is not the best use of his skills.
Given that his best years were in the relatively egalitarian (by NBA standards) Heat offenses and he struggled with the relatively heliocentric Luka Mavs and Simmons/Embiid Sixers, there's definitely something to the idea that merely having him space out to 3 is not maximizing his skill set. He doesn't have the chops to be a lead ball handler or creator, but if the offense puts him an advantage situation he can make good things happen.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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Watching him play, offensively, I can see the argument that having him out on the perimeter as a spot up shooter is not the best use of his skills.
Given that his best years were in the relatively egalitarian (by NBA standards) Heat offenses and he struggled with the relatively heliocentric Luka Mavs and Simmons/Embiid Sixers, there's definitely something to the idea that merely having him space out to 3 is not maximizing his skill set. He doesn't have the chops to be a lead ball handler or creator, but if the offense puts him an advantage situation he can make good things happen.
He’s somewhat similar to Smart in some ways, you don’t necessarily want him being a lead anything, be it scorer or ball handler or floorspacer, but he’s good enough at being a secondary option at all those things that when Tatum is playing well, he’s a very solid complementary player. He’s looked good in that role lately as Tatum has played better.
 

benhogan

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JRich may be better coming off the bench playing with and against secondary players. PLUS he doesn't help spread the floor when Tatum/Brown are both playing

JRich has strictly been a starter for the last 4+ seasons, nice to see him adapting and showing zero attitude about coming off the pine.
 

Fishy1

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The defense was starting to round into shape just as Jaylen went down -- he was in there for the 79 point game against Orlando and the thrashing of the Heat.

I like what Richardson brings this team too. A little bit of slashing, some play-making, average three-point shooting. He's different from Marcus -- less beefy, quicker, but a worse passer -- and therefore nicely complementary to him. If only the two of them were better shooters...

If they had more snipers off the bench, that would be great... but if Al can shoot in the mid 30's, Grant. Tatum and Brown can shoot ~40% on their threes, then this team's offense will chug right along with Schroder, Richardson and Smart all around 32-35%. The fact that we're trading some three point shooting for a tougher defensive presence is helped by the league-wide trend noted elsewhere. For whatever reason, teams are making less threes. With that in mind, I don't mind having a bunch of long-armed, hard-nosed weirdos, so long as the rest of the team shoots above average.

Smart is at 50% on 2p attempts so far this year, by the way. That's in line with a greater trend for him: 3 of the last four years he's been around 50% on 2pt attempts, as compared to his early career, where he sat at around 42%. It would be great if he could just start hitting his threes again.
 

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JRich may be better coming off the bench playing with and against secondary players. PLUS he doesn't help spread the floor when Tatum/Brown are both playing

JRich has strictly been a starter for the last 4+ seasons, nice to see him adapting and showing zero attitude about coming off the pine.
Agreed, he’s a useful and flexible piece even if he’s not a plug and play three and D profile. The other thing I like is that he is serviceable as a pg, a defensive 3, ok if not good shooter, can rebound, can get you a bucket, and is tough….without being great at most of that he’s playable in different roles as needed.

Said another way: he’s like a classic Belichick guy: a better version of Bolden, or maybe like a Ninkovich type profile
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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To me, the Cs gameplan to relentlessly attack the soft interior of the Lakers D was a really promising sign. The not only tried it - they stuck with it all the way to the end. They average about 36 3PA per game and only shot 30. I wonder if this team leans into doing this more often going forward versus weaker defenses. It might be the best adjustment they can make given the skillsets on their roster (Richardson and Schroder in particular but even Smart who can out muscle smaller players around the cup).
 

RorschachsMask

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Celtics are 6th in the league in FT rate, which is nice. Dennis and Tatum are both top 25 in drives per game, they are putting a ton of pressure on defenses, even if it’s other guys going to the line instead of them.

Last year Tatum was 27th in the league in FT’s attempted per game, at 5.3. This year he’s at 5.1 (as is Jaylen), but it’s good for 18th in the league. I’ll gladly take that trade off in exchange for our guys being able to play way more physical on defense.
 

Devizier

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It feels like the Celtics could really use one more shooter. I was hoping Nesmith could fulfill this role (partially) but 1 missed attempt isn’t going to cut it.
 

Cellar-Door

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Some good things... Tatum turning it around, Smart playing much better and under control, Schroder embracing the role as a scorer off the bench.

Bad things.... Udoka tried to give Nesmith minutes in a blowout against a young/bad team. Nesmith was so bad he had to pull him and put in Hernangomez.

I have no idea what you do with Nesmith right now. If you can't even be trusted to play in blowouts.... woof.
 

RorschachsMask

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Some of these passes Tatum make really are Bird/LeBron esque. Obviously he’s not them, but he really does have excellent vision.

Once he continues improving making the passes quicker on traps, it’s going to be awesome.
 

Light-Tower-Power

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Some good things... Tatum turning it around, Smart playing much better and under control, Schroder embracing the role as a scorer off the bench.

Bad things.... Udoka tried to give Nesmith minutes in a blowout against a young/bad team. Nesmith was so bad he had to pull him and put in Hernangomez.

I have no idea what you do with Nesmith right now. If you can't even be trusted to play in blowouts.... woof.
Schroder has been starting with Brown out, but yeah, hopefully he has found his rhythm and will keep it going once he’s moved back to the bench. I’d rather Schroder play with the starters over Smart but that’s not going to happen.
 

lovegtm

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Schroder has been starting with Brown out, but yeah, hopefully he has found his rhythm and will keep it going once he’s moved back to the bench. I’d rather Schroder play with the starters over Smart but that’s not going to happen.
tbf Smart has been playing at a really high level on both ends the past couple weeks. I want him on the court as much as possible.

Isn't the obvious solution to bench one of Horford or Rob and start DS/Smart/Brown/Tatum?
 

Eddie Jurak

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Here's what stood out to me:
  • Tatum: locked in again, shooting 50% (11-22 and 6-12 fom three), scoring 33 points, and adding 8 rebounds/5 assists. He had a brilliant assist to Smart where he drove, defenders collapsed on him, and he hit Smart all alone under the hoop with a short bounce pass.
  • Grant: Shot 4 for 6 from three and 5-9 overall for 14 points. He's now at 43% on the season on the 5th-most attempts of anyone on the team. I think his three point shooting isreal. Not 43% real, but he shot 37% last year and I think he'll be at least that good. Also 8 rebounds, a steal, assist, and 2 blocks. I think hitting threes, not fucking other things up, and coming up with other little ways to contribute is keeping him on the floor while Rob is out.
  • Al: Vintage Al. Only 9 shots form the field, and 10 points, but also 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and a block.
  • Smart: Only 7 points on 2-6 shooting from the field, but led the team in assists (8), steals (2), and plus/minus (+23). Oh, and did this:
View: https://twitter.com/celtics/status/1462239652803317761?s=20

  • Schroder: Another big game, scoring 29 on 13 of 22. Also 6 assists/2 turnovers.
  • Kanter: Second straight game where Kanter gave the Celtics quality extended minutes as backup C. This time, a double/double in 17 minutes, plus 2 blocks.
Interestingly, Schroder and Smart have worked out a way to coexist in the backcourt. Since the Dallas loss, the Celtics are 5-2. Here are Smart and Schroder points/assists/turnovers in each game:

  1. W, Toronto, 104-88
    • Smart: 13/6/0
    • Schroeder : 20/4/8
  2. W, Milwaukee, 122-113
    • Smart: 19/6/0
    • Schroeder : 38/3/6
  3. L, Cleveland, 89-91
    • Smart: 2/8/2
    • Schroeder : 28/3/4
  4. W, Cleveland, 98-92
    • Smart: 14/5/3
    • Schroeder : 14/3/3
  5. L, Atlanta, 99-110
    • Smart: 8/11/2
    • Schroeder : 15/3/3
  6. W, LA Lakers, 130-108
    • Smart: 22/6/1
    • Schroeder : 21/6/2
  7. W, OKC, 111-105
    • Smart: 7/8/1
    • Schroeder : 29/6/2
They have both kind of embraced their inner combo guard, in different ways. In this stretch, Schroder has never had more assists or fewer turnovers than Smart but he is averaging 23.6 points to Smart's 12.1. I doubt that Smart has come anywhere near 23.6 ppg over any 7 game strecth in his whole career.
 

bigq

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Grant: Shot 4 for 6 from three and 5-9 overall for 14 points. He's now at 43% on the season on the 5th-most attempts of anyone on the team. I think his three point shooting isreal. Not 43% real, but he shot 37% last year and I think he'll be at least that good. Also 8 rebounds, a steal, assist, and 2 blocks. I think hitting threes, not fucking other things up, and coming up with other little ways to contribute is keeping him on the floor while Rob is out.
Agree with everything you said about Grant Williams. He has played very well and was outstanding last night. So far this season he is thriving in the 15-20 mpg role in a way that Semi Ojeleye never could. Grant is up to 56% on corner threes (15 for 27). If he can hit open threes at a reasonable rate and play passable defense he will go a long way to helping this team.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Agree with everything you said about Grant Williams. He has played very well and was outstanding last night. So far this season he is thriving in the 15-20 mpg role in a way that Semi Ojeleye never could. Grant is up to 56% on corner threes (15 for 27). If he can hit open threes at a reasonable rate and play passable defense he will go a long way to helping this team.
I always saw Semi as a guy with 1.5 useful NBA skills. He could cover Giannis one on one without fouling too often. That's an NBA skill. But he could never stop anyone from shooting over him, so his one NBA skill was only useful against Giannis types who didn't shoot well enough to capitalize on that. Then his half-skill was his 3-point shooting, which came and went.

Grant's a more well rounded player with physical limitations on his NBA upside. He has the height of a wing but not the athleticism, while lacking the height to be a true NBA big. Give him 3 inches of height while keeping his other skills and he's a good NBA big. Instead, he's a guy who has to hit threes and do the little things to carve out an NBA role for himself.
 

HomeRunBaker

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tbf Smart has been playing at a really high level on both ends the past couple weeks. I want him on the court as much as possible.

Isn't the obvious solution to bench one of Horford or Rob and start DS/Smart/Brown/Tatum?
You don’t attribute any of that to him playing his more natural position off the ball as a secondary ball handler with responsibilities that he is more accustomed to on the floor? It’s not a coincidence, to me anyway, that Smart’s been a much better player once he returned to his normal role.
 

lovegtm

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You don’t attribute any of that to him playing his more natural position off the ball as a secondary ball handler with responsibilities that he is more accustomed to on the floor? It’s not a coincidence, to me anyway, that Smart’s been a much better player once he returned to his normal role.
I've been pretty with you on the "DS as the PG" train. I'm just thinking how to maximize Smart's minutes in his normal role, and it seems like Tatum at the 4 is the obvious way to make that happen.

It should also be getting pretty darn obvious that any limiting of Rob's minutes will be a good thing going forward (health reasons, not performance reasons).
 

benhogan

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You don’t attribute any of that to him playing his more natural position off the ball as a secondary ball handler with responsibilities that he is more accustomed to on the floor? It’s not a coincidence, to me anyway, that Smart’s been a much better player once he returned to his normal role.
Agreed. Smart going back to his natural position took the pressure off Marcus "forcing things".. Plus it's not only his offense that gets more efficient, it's his defense that also gets bumped. His only real kryptonite on D is small/quick PGs, he's much more effective guarding wings that mistakenly want to get physical with him.

IME has done a very good job re-establishing the defensive mindset, but the jury is still out as far as rotations. Already the Horford/TL pairing has yielded overuse which has led to less efficient Center play (and maybe injuries?). Love Horford, but his best position isn't as a wing. He's a 5 that can drag the opposing center to the perimeter. IME needs to lighten Al/Rob's minutes by using them primarily at Center and start Schroder at PG.

Also, need to credit IME for upping Grants role as a floor spacer and replacing Jabari with Kanter. Most overstate Kanter's defensive inefficiency without recognizing his ability to set screens, get buckets and rebound on both sides of the floor.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Periodic Celtic hustle stat update (I don't know how these things correlate to winning but the plays make the games more enjoyable for me at least - and yeah the samples are small):
-Smart is fifth in total deflections.
-Tatum and Schroder are both fifth (tied with a bunch of players) in total loose balls recovered - as a side note at 32 Ja Morant has 10 more loose balls recovered than the next player!
-Horford is still the leader in contested threes per game and is in the top ten in contested shots overall

Also, not a hustle stat but Grant is in the top ten in TS% at 68.5 but let's watch how that trends along with his threes and free throws. This version of Williams gives you glimpses of a pretty useful rotational piece.
 

benhogan

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The very worthwhile Athletic with a nice update. Great subscription!

https://theathletic.com/2968591/2021/11/21/celtics-hold-off-thunder-push-past-500-mark-with-another-home-win-3-takeaways/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

1. Grant from 3. Corner3 efficiency is important when playing with the JAYs, who are very good above the break 3pt shooters. Obviously, the Corner3 spreads the floor, but it also puts the defense in bad position and should lead to fewer transition run-outs. It's a very underrated shot, not all 3pt FGA are created equal.

After a rough rookie season from that distance, he broke out in the playoffs that year, then followed it up with a respectable 37.2 percent 3-point shooting last season. Williams has made a lot of progress with his jumper.

Most of it has come from the corner. Entering Saturday, Williams had knocked down 12 of 23 corner 3-pointers (52.2 percent) while going just 9-for-29 on deeper above-the-break attempts (31.0 percent). He had a similar breakdown last season, when he shot 44.6 percent from the corners but just 31.5 percent from above the break. Williams’ emergence as a corner king could still be a small-sample fluke, but he hasn’t slowed down from that region yet.

Williams made 3 of 4 corner 3-point attempts against the Thunder. After missing his first try, he drilled his next three. Williams also made one of two shots from above the break, giving him four 3-point makes on the night. He has already recorded six games with at least three made 3-pointers, one more than he had all of last season.
He finished Saturday night tied for sixth in the NBA with 15 made corner 3-pointers. Dating to last season, he is shooting 48.2 percent from the short 3-point porch.


2. Smart walking the talk. Give him and Al those uniform Cs

The Celtics entered Saturday night ranked 24th in assists per 100 possessions, one spot lower than they finished last season. Still, Udoka has often stated his appreciation of the team’s ball movement. He believes the Celtics’ bad shooting percentages have occasionally made the assist numbers misleading.
The Celtics shot the ball well throughout the first half Saturday night, and the assists piled up. They dished out 17 of their 28 helpers before halftime. Though the latter number is less than the Warriors’ average this season, it also marked a new milestone for this Boston team. The Celtics had not previously recorded more than 24 assists in a game that ended in regulation. Their two biggest assist totals of the season — 34 against New York and 33 against Charlotte — came in overtime games.

Smart has facilitated a great deal of Celtics offense lately. He has averaged nine assists per game over the team’s last three outings, with just four turnovers during that stretch.
Though his 3-point shot still hasn’t come around, Smart has been one of the Celtics’ most indispensable players this season. While providing great defense regularly, he has also adopted more of a pass-first mindset. Through 16 games, Smart is near his career low in field goal attempts per 100 possessions. The Celtics have been at their best with him on the court. They have outscored opponents by 99 points with him in the lineup and gotten crushed by 67 points during his time on the bench. That’s partly a function of who he plays alongside, but Smart has been a big leader of the Celtics’ ball movement so far.


3. Free Tibet and Kanter. Shooting 3s isn't the ONLY way to open up the floor for the JAYs. The return of the wipeout screen.

Enes Kanter’s playing time has been an interesting subplot for the Celtics bench. After landing a big role in Portland last season, he received only 10 minutes over Boston’s first 13 games. Even on nights when the Celtics frontcourt was short-handed, Udoka went to other options. Udoka has questioned Kanter’s fit within Boston’s switching defensive schemes.

But with Robert Williams sidelined by a sore knee, Kanter has slid into the rotation over the previous four games. He had his most productive outing yet against Oklahoma City, delivering 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Just like old times, Kanter dominated the offensive glass and led the Celtics’ second unit in scoring. Since getting an opportunity to play, he has also set some mean screens to free up his teammates. Kanter has cleared some serious space for his Celtics teammates. Sometimes his screens give Boston space to pop 3-pointers. Other times they leave ballhandlers with more room to get into the paint. Kanter has cleared some serious space for his Celtics teammates. Sometimes his screens give Boston space to pop 3-pointers. Other times they leave ballhandlers with more room to get into the paint. Kanter has defensive limitations. He could return to the bench when Williams returns, as he’s expected to do soon. But Kanter can still give the second unit points, rebounds and screens when given an opportunity. Over the last four games, the Celtics have outscored their opponents by 34 points during Kanter’s 54 minutes.