The 2017/2018 Boston Celtics Regular season thread

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Eddie Jurak

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He is having his most efficient season shooting (2pt % and eFG) which isn't a total shock given that he is now the main scorer for his team.
It's a reflection of Kyrie's exceptional talent that you say "isn't" here. He and (previously) IT both saw improvement in efficiency as they became the central focus of their team's offense - I would think the norm would be for a player to be less efficient when that happens. Some of this, I would guess, is that as great a player as he is, Lebron isn't nearly that good a coach.

However his defense has seen a huge improvement - he is averaging the most steals per game of his career, features his lowest D-Rating (I know that stat has lots of problems) and his BPM is the highest of his career, bolstered by a marginally negative DBPM.
As the team and Kyrie have figured things out offensively, both their and his defense has fallen off, and we've seen a couple of games where Kyrie coming out has led to some defensive stops. I'm thinking the critics were right to identify defense as a weakness, but that he is still a solid upgrade over IT.
 

CreightonGubanich

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It's a reflection of Kyrie's exceptional talent that you say "isn't" here. He and (previously) IT both saw improvement in efficiency as they became the central focus of their team's offense - I would think the norm would be for a player to be less efficient when that happens. Some of this, I would guess, is that as great a player as he is, Lebron isn't nearly that good a coach.
It's a testament to both Kyrie's growth as a player and the situation that Brad has put him in. Milwaukee was trapping Kyrie up high on every pick last night, and Kyrie, for the most part, just made the right basketball play. There was one play in particular where they trapped him, he gave the ball up, and then beat Kris Middleton on a hard cut to the basket right down the middle of the lane, where Horford found him for an easy layup. Kyrie didn't get baskets like that in Cleveland. There's two or three of those plays every single night that result in easy baskets for him, it's great to see him making himself into a threat off the ball.
 

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This team is probably one more very good starter and a bench scorer away from being a true contender. I cannot imagine where they will get the former because those guys don't grow on trees or show up in the spring-time or something.
Or if Hayward got healthy by April...
I almost wondered if the part of DeJesus' post that I snipped was said tongue-in-cheek.

This team has "one more very good starter" on the injured list. If, as BigSoxFan, notes, IF Hayward got healthy by April, we get that "one more very good starter" which allows them to move Tatum to the bench, thereby adding the bench scorer that DeJesus also rightly notes is needed.
 

RedOctober3829

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By true contender, I mean a team that has a shot to beat Cleveland and even Golden State in a seven game series. As presently constituted, the C's have a punchers chance of beating Cleveland in seven though they are going to struggle to score when the games matter.

At present, they have little shot of beating Golden State though that is more a function of the Warriors depth than anything else. That said, if Curry were really hurt or Durant or Green got hurt...
They aren't supposed to beat Golden State this year.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I almost wondered if the part of DeJesus' post that I snipped was said tongue-in-cheek.

This team has "one more very good starter" on the injured list. If, as BigSoxFan, notes, IF Hayward got healthy by April, we get that "one more very good starter" which allows them to move Tatum to the bench, thereby adding the bench scorer that DeJesus also rightly notes is needed.
Even without that starter (I feel Hayward will add to our 2nd unit in the playoffs) this team is 21-4 over 30% into the season while beating the supposed favorites and checking off the critical playoff boxes of having a superstar individual scorer with a strong starting unit as the benches have less of an impact in the playoffs than in the regular season. We are absolutely a contender.
 

bowiac

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Kyrie's usage is about the same as last year. Yes, he's the primary option, but he's not actually taking many more shots per possession or something. The efficiency improvement I'd say is most attributable to Stevens.

The concept of a real contender is tricky right now. Assuming everyone on Golden State is healthy, I'm not sure there are any other "real contenders" apart from Houston. Everyone else seems like a 3:1 underdog or worse vs. the Warriors.
 

phenweigh

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Not that it matters to anyone but me - however I need to go on record as being, to date, completely wrong about the Kyrie Irving trade. It was a brilliant move and Irving is playing the best basketball of his career. He is having his most efficient season shooting (2pt % and eFG) which isn't a total shock given that he is now the main scorer for his team. However his defense has seen a huge improvement - he is averaging the most steals per game of his career,
What I've noticed, and I think it's easy to overlook because Marcus Smart has phenomenal hands, but Kyrie has very good hands defensively. When a dribbler goes into crowd, Kyrie seems to often come out of pack with the ball. I think that's where many of his steals come from, rather than the intercepted pass type.
 

Manzivino

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A top 14 protected pick means that much to you?
Plus it's probably going to turn into a 2022 second after the Clippers miss the playoffs in 2019 and 2020. I've said it in the DPE discussions, I'm right there with you, if they can cash that pick in for Lou Williams with his Bird rights in tow there's a good chance that's the best value they're going to get out of that asset.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Kyrie's usage is about the same as last year. Yes, he's the primary option, but he's not actually taking many more shots per possession or something. The efficiency improvement I'd say is most attributable to Stevens.

The concept of a real contender is tricky right now. Assuming everyone on Golden State is healthy, I'm not sure there are any other "real contenders" apart from Houston. Everyone else seems like a 3:1 underdog or worse vs. the Warriors.
You wouldn't consider an NBA Finals participant a "contender?" Someone has to represent the EC.....by definition that team has to be considered one that contends for the Championship.
 

bowiac

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You wouldn't consider an NBA Finals participant a "contender?" Someone has to represent the EC.....by definition that team has to be considered one that contends for the Championship.
Well, that's sort of what I was getting at with the concept of a contender being tricky. In a normal year, yes, I'd consider that to be a contender, but I'm not sure that's true in the context of the Warriors.

Anyway, this is semantics. The Celtics are as much of a contender as anyone in the East at least, and I think there's value to going to the NBA finals even if you lose in 5, so I'm fine "going for it."
 

HomeRunBaker

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Well, that's sort of what I was getting at with the concept of a contender being tricky. In a normal year, yes, I'd consider that to be a contender, but I'm not sure that's true in the context of the Warriors.

Anyway, this is semantics. The Celtics are as much of a contender as anyone in the East at least, and I think there's value to going to the NBA finals even if you lose in 5, so I'm fine "going for it."
Ok I'll agree that the Celtics are "as much of a contender as anyone in the East".......considering they are 21-4 with the 3rd best point differential in the league.
 

lovegtm

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By true contender, I mean a team that has a shot to beat Cleveland and even Golden State in a seven game series. As presently constituted, the C's have a punchers chance of beating Cleveland in seven though they are going to struggle to score when the games matter.
One big change in the playoffs that will benefit the Celtics is that Kyrie will probably play 38-40 minutes rather than the 31 he's averaging currently. Obviously other teams lock down more in the playoffs, but I think more Kyrie time outweighs that. I'm also guessing we'll see them up his usage rate when the games really matter. Tatum will also have another 50 games of development under his belt, although rookie wall is a concern.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I almost wondered if the part of DeJesus' post that I snipped was said tongue-in-cheek.

This team has "one more very good starter" on the injured list. If, as BigSoxFan, notes, IF Hayward got healthy by April, we get that "one more very good starter" which allows them to move Tatum to the bench, thereby adding the bench scorer that DeJesus also rightly notes is needed.
Yeah, I was trying to be coy. I am not a Dr. and I don't always read DRS' blog. However I think Hayward will, indeed, be back at some point in the playoffs. I doubt he will be that impactful but if they can get anything out of him, its a huge plus.
 

Eddie Jurak

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What I've noticed, and I think it's easy to overlook because Marcus Smart has phenomenal hands, but Kyrie has very good hands defensively. When a dribbler goes into crowd, Kyrie seems to often come out of pack with the ball. I think that's where many of his steals come from, rather than the intercepted pass type.
Probably just an extension of his handle.
 

phenweigh

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I'd like to take a moment and recognize the improbability of the Celtics being 22-4. At the start of the season the consensus was the first half of the season would be an adjustment period. Then comes the injury to GH and an 0-2 start. Anybody who would have predicted they'd win 22 of the next 24 would have been rightly ridiculed. Probability wise, current reality seems less likely than predicting an NBA title would have been.
 

Ed Hillel

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Until the Celtics get a bona fide interior defender and rebounder, they are going to be vulnerable in any playoff matchup against big men who can score and rip down boards. Al is a very fine player, but he finesse, as they say. Baynes and Theis are solid, but not on the level we need. So, without some draft luck, how are we going to get that man?

I don’t mean this year, I mean long-term. It’s really the last major piece to the puzzle imo.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Until the Celtics get a bona fide interior defender and rebounder, they are going to be vulnerable in any playoff matchup against big men who can score and rip down boards. Al is a very fine player, but he finesse, as they say. Baynes and Theis are solid, but not on the level we need. So, without some draft luck, how are we going to get that man?

I don’t mean this year, I mean long-term. It’s really the last major piece to the puzzle imo.
Hard to find one of those guys who also fits their offensive schemes, though. But I agree the Spurs exposed their lack of this.
 

Manzivino

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Until the Celtics get a bona fide interior defender and rebounder, they are going to be vulnerable in any playoff matchup against big men who can score and rip down boards. Al is a very fine player, but he finesse, as they say. Baynes and Theis are solid, but not on the level we need. So, without some draft luck, how are we going to get that man?

I don’t mean this year, I mean long-term. It’s really the last major piece to the puzzle imo.
Realistically? Steal Kyle O’Quinn from the Knicks this trade deadline so they can use his Bird rights
 

HomeRunBaker

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Realistically? Steal Kyle O’Quinn from the Knicks this trade deadline so they can use his Bird rights
I was thinking Bagley or Ayton.......then you hit me with Kyle O'Quinn for the buzzkill. We already have O'Quinn.....his name is Aron Baynes.
 

Ed Hillel

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Hard to find one of those guys who also fits their offensive schemes, though. But I agree the Spurs exposed their lack of this.
Offensive schemes are secondary imo. They will have more than enough offensive power moving forward, especially when they add another bench shooter. Someone who can give a Tristan Thompson presence would be great, for example. Or even Tyson Chandler. For the right guy, I’d dangle Brown and some other assets, but I’m not sure there’s a trading partner that works.

Obviously if you get Bagley or Ayton you praise the Gods and go win a handful of championships.
 

Manzivino

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I was thinking Bagley or Ayton.......then you hit me with Kyle O'Quinn for the buzzkill. We already have O'Quinn.....his name is Aron Baynes.
He said other than draft luck.

You’re selling O’Quinn short. He’s a younger, better (defensively) Baynes that the Cs can re-sign without using the MLE. Short of draft luck, an unrealistic Davis trade, or a time machine that’s how they can upgrade the big rotation.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Celtics need to sign both Kyle O’Quinn and Sean Kilpatrick on principle. (Plus they both seem like pretty good hoops fits).
 

HomeRunBaker

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He said other than draft luck.

You’re selling O’Quinn short. He’s a younger, better (defensively) Baynes that the Cs can re-sign without using the MLE. Short of draft luck, an unrealistic Davis trade, or a time machine that’s how they can upgrade the big rotation.
O'Quinn is a pretty awful NBA player which is why he's struggled his entire career to earn minutes on lottery teams. His best skill is his passing which has limitations due to is slow reaction time. I don't see where he gets minutes over Baynes or Theis.
 

benhogan

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He said other than draft luck.

You’re selling O’Quinn short. He’s a younger, better (defensively) Baynes that the Cs can re-sign without using the MLE. Short of draft luck, an unrealistic Davis trade, or a time machine that’s how they can upgrade the big rotation.
Would you offer Morris for O'Quinn and a 2nd*?

and then flip that 2nd+ for Lou Williams?

there is your 2nd unit: O'Quinn, Theis, Smart, Rozier and Lou.


*Hot take alert: I may be overreacting to last nights loss, and have the right to rescind this trade idea in the next week :banana:
 
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Sam Ray Not

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Fwiw, O’Quinn’s #s this season per 36:

13.2 pts on .577 true shooting
13.6 reb
4.4 ast
2.2 blk
1.0 stl

That’s crazy good. Too many turnovers (3.8) and fouls (5.9) but you can live with that from a ~10 mpg bench big.
 

Manzivino

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O'Quinn is a pretty awful NBA player which is why he's struggled his entire career to earn minutes on lottery teams. His best skill is his passing which has limitations due to is slow reaction time. I don't see where he gets minutes over Baynes or Theis.
Every available stat (rebound rate, block rate DRating, defensive win shares, BPM, etc.) says O’Quinn is better than Baynes defensively.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The Cs aren't going to add a big man who can't space the floor just to defend the LaMarcus Aldridge's of the world one-on-one. If Brad was really concerned about LMA, he would have doubled him once or twice but he didn't. I presume that Brad was either trying to see what would happen if he didn't double LMA or he was saving his schemes for later since the game didn't really matter at all.

Also, having a guy like Tristan Thompson (not him but even someone like him) is going to clog up the middle and make Kyrie less effective.
 

chilidawg

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Every available stat (rebound rate, block rate DRating, defensive win shares, BPM, etc.) says O’Quinn is better than Baynes defensively.
Baynes is 3rd among centers in DRPM, OQ 25th. Baynes was better last year as well. Baynes also leads the league in DRating.

The real question is why doesn't he get more minutes, especially in games where we're getting abused inside.
 
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Manzivino

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Baynes is 3rd among centers in DRPM, OQ 25th. Baynes was better last year as well.

The real question is why doesn't he get more minutes, especially in games where we're getting abused inside.
Where are you seeing that? BBRef has OQ at 5.1 and Baynes at 2.4.

The answer to the minutes question last night was Baynes got nutshotted with a low blow. They do need to figure out something to combat the Aldridge/Drummond/Monroes of the world because they get consistently destroyed.
 

chilidawg

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Where are you seeing that? BBRef has OQ at 5.1 and Baynes at 2.4.

The answer to the minutes question last night was Baynes got nutshotted with a low blow. They do need to figure out something to combat the Aldridge/Drummond/Monroes of the world because they get consistently destroyed.
Where are you seeing that? BBRef has OQ at 5.1 and Baynes at 2.4.

The answer to the minutes question last night was Baynes got nutshotted with a low blow. They do need to figure out something to combat the Aldridge/Drummond/Monroes of the world because they get consistently destroyed.
In regards to minutes, Baynes only played 14 last night at the point he got knocked out, late in the 3rd, and he rarely plays much in the 4th. Against Detroit and Phoenix, two games where we were handily out rebounded, he only had 13 and 18. Plus 5 and 16 in those games. It's one thing I don't get about Brad's rotations. Maybe he doesn't have the stamina to be effective in longer runs.
 

lexrageorge

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The Cs aren't going to add a big man who can't space the floor just to defend the LaMarcus Aldridge's of the world one-on-one. If Brad was really concerned about LMA, he would have doubled him once or twice but he didn't. I presume that Brad was either trying to see what would happen if he didn't double LMA or he was saving his schemes for later since the game didn't really matter at all.

Also, having a guy like Tristan Thompson (not him but even someone like him) is going to clog up the middle and make Kyrie less effective.
I can guarantee you that Brad Stevens vehemently disagrees with the bolded. Sure, an out of conference road loss is the least painful loss possible. But at this point in the season, wins matter most of all, even with the Celtics holding a 4 game edge in the Eastern Conference. Injuries can happen, slumps can occur, or another team can get hot and go on a 17 game winning streak. Stevens isn't throwing games at this juncture, nor would we want him to.

The Celtics got beat. Sure, it would make sense for Stevens to play it conservative if Baynes may have gotten hurt, as they need him even more Sunday night. We obviously don't know all the reasons for Stevens' matchup decisions last night, but I doubt it was due to his thinking the game didn't matter.
 

benhogan

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What do we have with Marcus Morris?

A slightly injured vet that will improve as his health returns, who accepts his role as the 'bucket getter' on the 2nd unit? (hopefully)

OR

A top offensive option for the Pistons last year that doesn't like his reduced role with the Celtics and sulks a bit?

My eye test says he isn't really liking his role at the moment, but it could be injury related and lack of practice with the team. We'll get more time to assess.

Any predictions on how this will play out?
 

bosox79

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The same exact player he's always been just going through a cold stretch.
 

lovegtm

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What do we have with Marcus Morris?

A slightly injured vet that will improve as his health returns, who accepts his role as the 'bucket getter' on the 2nd unit? (hopefully)

OR

A top offensive option for the Pistons last year that doesn't like his reduced role with the Celtics and sulks a bit?

My eye test says he isn't really liking his role at the moment, but it could be injury related and lack of practice with the team. We'll get more time to assess.

Any predictions on how this will play out?
I'm somewhat optimistic, since the past couple games he has been trying to work into the offense more rather than going full iso at every opportunity, which to me indicates that he just needs time to work things out on the court, since he couldn't really practice earlier.

The 6th man discontent is clearly real, but I think that will fade over time.
 

Eddie Jurak

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The Cs aren't going to add a big man who can't space the floor just to defend the LaMarcus Aldridge's of the world one-on-one. If Brad was really concerned about LMA, he would have doubled him once or twice but he didn't. I presume that Brad was either trying to see what would happen if he didn't double LMA or he was saving his schemes for later since the game didn't really matter at all.

Also, having a guy like Tristan Thompson (not him but even someone like him) is going to clog up the middle and make Kyrie less effective.
This. The exception is that I could see them grabbing a 12th man type who could fill that role on occasion if one were available.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I can guarantee you that Brad Stevens vehemently disagrees with the bolded. Sure, an out of conference road loss is the least painful loss possible. But at this point in the season, wins matter most of all, even with the Celtics holding a 4 game edge in the Eastern Conference. Injuries can happen, slumps can occur, or another team can get hot and go on a 17 game winning streak. Stevens isn't throwing games at this juncture, nor would we want him to.

The Celtics got beat. Sure, it would make sense for Stevens to play it conservative if Baynes may have gotten hurt, as they need him even more Sunday night. We obviously don't know all the reasons for Stevens' matchup decisions last night, but I doubt it was due to his thinking the game didn't matter.
When I said that the game didn't matter at all, I meant that the outcome didn't matter at all. Sure Brad wants to win but in any random game it seems to me that Brad has other things that interest him more. Like how Shane Larkin might respond being in the 4th quarter of a close game at PHI. Like how Semi is going to guard Giannis when the game is still competitive. Like keeping his bench in when a big lead gets whittled down to see how they will react.

Like how Al is going to fare against LMA without any help.

I understand that this is just speculation, but I think Brad has something he wants to learn in every game. He tries to find spots in which to maximize the talents of everyone on the team - that is how he keeps players involved. So Brad wouldn't care if we were 20-6 or even 18-8 so long as he was figuring out what guys can and cannot do.

My guess is that were the game more important, Brad would have done something to get the ball out of LMA's hands once in a while. You can't do that regularly or that just opens things up for the Spurs 3P shooters. But we didn't and I have to think for good reason.
 

Imbricus

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My eye test says he isn't really liking his role at the moment
I could get on board with that assessment. He seems out of sync with the offense a lot. The first few games, you could attribute that to him just being new and needing time to adjust. But remember he recently made it clear he wanted to start, not come off the bench? So he may not be all that thrilled with the way he fits in here. When he gets the ball, it seems he's usually looking to do his own thing.
 

HomeRunBaker

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This. The exception is that I could see them grabbing a 12th man type who could fill that role on occasion if one were available.
Well, that would be O'Quinn on this team to fill the Zeller emergency big role if he was expiring that would save the Knicks $2m or so this year.......but he'd never take on that player option of $4.2m for next year.
 

JakeRae

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I could get on board with that assessment. He seems out of sync with the offense a lot. The first few games, you could attribute that to him just being new and needing time to adjust. But remember he recently made it clear he wanted to start, not come off the bench? So he may not be all that thrilled with the way he fits in here. When he gets the ball, it seems he's usually looking to do his own thing.
If Hayward manages to come back, he and Semi seem like the obvious candidates to lose minutes right now. Neither one is helping this team win games. Morris will be really unhappy if that comes to pass.
 

dabombdig

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If Hayward manages to come back, he and Semi seem like the obvious candidates to lose minutes right now. Neither one is helping this team win games. Morris will be really unhappy if that comes to pass.
Morris will stay in the rotation regardless of Hayward's return. Even if Hayward returns we would be looking at 10-15 mins off the bench for GH in late March at the earliest (and that is being very optimistic). My guess is Morris accepts his fate as the 6th man on a good team that could go deep into the playoffs. Any issues with him won't rise until next year when he is in the last year of his deal. The good news is he is on very affordable contract - which makes him a candidate to be dealt in the offseason.
 

dabombdig

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OTOH

Daniel Theis # per 36

13.0 pts on .602 true shooting
11.9 reb
1.5 ast
2.2 blk
1.3 stl

Too many turnovers (3.5) and fouls (6.8)
Amen. Theis is the exact reason we don't need another big (certainly one that can't shoot from 3). I think Theis's fouls and TO's will begin to go down as he continues to get acclimated with the NBA game. I also believe the ability is there to improve his perimeter shooting (next season). The cherry on top is his contract. Under a million this and on a non-guaranteed deal for just under 1.5 next year. Very nice underrated move by DA.
 

JCizzle

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Morris is out for today and tomorrow. I hope they just give him a week. No point to playing with a bum knee all year
 

chilidawg

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When I said that the game didn't matter at all, I meant that the outcome didn't matter at all. Sure Brad wants to win but in any random game it seems to me that Brad has other things that interest him more. Like how Shane Larkin might respond being in the 4th quarter of a close game at PHI. Like how Semi is going to guard Giannis when the game is still competitive. Like keeping his bench in when a big lead gets whittled down to see how they will react.

Like how Al is going to fare against LMA without any help.

I understand that this is just speculation, but I think Brad has something he wants to learn in every game. He tries to find spots in which to maximize the talents of everyone on the team - that is how he keeps players involved. So Brad wouldn't care if we were 20-6 or even 18-8 so long as he was figuring out what guys can and cannot do.

My guess is that were the game more important, Brad would have done something to get the ball out of LMA's hands once in a while. You can't do that regularly or that just opens things up for the Spurs 3P shooters. But we didn't and I have to think for good reason.
If that's indeed what he's doing, it's pretty amazing that they're managing to win a good number of games in the process.
 

chilidawg

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Baynes with 27 minutes this afternoon. +13, and matched Drummond's output. Team +4 in rebounds. Good adjustment from the last game against Detroit.
 
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