What is this team missing?

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Correlation is not causality. Marcus launches in volume when the offense isn't flowing, when actions aren't working, when the better shooters aren't freeing up or aren't being aggressive enough. This "Marcus volume games are losses" implies that Marcus is taking shots away from someone else.

Everyone shot more or less the same percentage yesterday. Why is Marcus's 4-13 worse than JTs 3-10 or Kemba's 3-10?
I think the disconnect is whether RO has insight into the team's view of Smart's shooting. I have not read or seen anything that they disapprove of Smart's shooting versus the team's overall selection but perhaps there is chatter or news out there that the team has identified him as the piece that is holding them back.

Otherwise, you are spot on. Given his minutes and responsibility, it appears that the Celtics are entirely fine with Smart and other players taking certain types of shots, even if they don't make them. There is no question his game can be aesthetically...different. But it seems silly to heap blame on him when the entire team, including their two best players, didn't play well enough to earn this series.
 

djbayko

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I hate to quote John Tomase in anything, but this is my point when it comes to Smart and his penchant for taking too many shots. It's just not good for the team.
View: https://twitter.com/jtomase/status/1310579003795943424
Chicken or egg? I agree that Smart gets a little heat-checky when he hits a couple. But a lot of those shooting performances were becaue of poor ball movement leaving them with few options or too much ball movement (both of which were symptoms of playing in tough games). At some point in the shot clock someone has to shoot the ball.

Edit: Or what Jimbo said before me...
Correlation is not causality. Marcus launches in volume when the offense isn't flowing, when actions aren't working, when the better shooters aren't freeing up or aren't being aggressive enough. This "Marcus volume games are losses" implies that Marcus is taking shots away from someone else.

Everyone shot more or less the same percentage yesterday. Why is Marcus's 4-13 worse than JTs 3-10 or Kemba's 3-10?
 

ifmanis5

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The stat does not lie like Tomase does however. When Marcus Smart is a volume shooter, it is not good for the team.
For sure. The GH injury caused some of this but it's up to Brad to tell him to stop shooting or have more granularity on the offense that incentives the Jays to shoot more. Look at how Spo handled Kendrick Nunn. Nunn was great all season but just didn't have it against the Celtics so Spo benched him. Not saying Marcus needed to be benched but Spo was fine with benching a 15 points a game player and adjusting. I want to keep Brad but I hope he learns from the bubble experience.
 

Buck Showalter

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For sure. The GH injury caused some of this but it's up to Brad to tell him to stop shooting or have more granularity on the offense that incentives the Jays to shoot more. Look at how Spo handled Kendrick Nunn. Nunn was great all season but just didn't have it against the Celtics so Spo benched him. Not saying Marcus needed to be benched but Spo was fine with benching a 15 points a game player and adjusting. I want to keep Brad but I hope he learns from the bubble experience.
But Brad cannot make strong decisions like that with little to no depth on the bench.

Do we want Wanamaker to supplant a starting player's inability to get to the basket, knock down a corner-3 against a particular defensive-set?

Not a chance.
 

ifmanis5

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But Brad cannot make strong decisions like that with little to no depth on the bench.

Do we want Wanamaker to supplant a starting player's inability to get to the basket, knock down a corner-3 against a particular defensive-set?

Not a chance.
Grant was solid. So was TimeLord. And if those guys got more consistent run they would have been in an even better position.
 

BaseballJones

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Bingo...

The game is 48 minutes long...the effort, focus and intensity has to be there from the opening tip.

And I'm tired of hearing how young he is....

Luca? Herro? Bam?

All young players...enough with the age stuff.
Uh...Luka's team got bounced in the first round after blowing a 3-1 series lead. And he was bad in game 3 (13 points on 4-14 shooting) and game 5 (22 points on 6-17 shooting, with just 4 assists - which for him is a low number).

Bam wasn't great in game 1 (18 points on 5-12 shooting, just 6 rebounds) or game 5 (13 points on 11 shots). He had a bunch of meh games in prior series too (game 2 vs Ind, game 5 vs Mil, for example).

Herro has had some good games and some bad games. Look at his playoff game log and you'll see that he's basically been a role player that has gone off a handful of times in the playoffs.

Don't get me wrong - I love all these players. But Tatum has been MUCH better than all of them during these playoffs.
 

Cellar-Door

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This team needs to consolidate the big rotation by replacing Kanter (and likely 1 of Theis/Williams) with a better option who can guard the athletic Adebayo type bigs without destroying the offense.

Probably need more bench shooting as well.

Even then, this is a team that probably would be in the finals right now if Hayward didn't get hurt.
 

Nator

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I think this team has the pieces already to challenge for a title next year. I think that both Williamses(?) will improve in different ways.

Robert will be more disciplined on defense and learn that not leaving his feet still will result in altered shots and hesitation from opponents. He will be just fine as a rim protector and a rim runner.

Grant Williams will work at his shooting, and just keep working on his core muscle group. I think it was the opener this season, or maybe the 2nd game against Philly, but Embiid was out by the arc and working to back Granite down. He put a shoulder into him and it did nothing. Embiid seemed to hesitate for a split second and was like "WTF?" like he couldn't believe a guy he has almost 40 pounds on didn't budge an inch. I'd like to see him earn more minutes just to simply deal out punishment on every screen he sets to wear opponents out.

Anything they get from Langford is gravy. Also, I would love it it Carsen Edwards could turn into our version of a JJ Redick or a Tyler Herro.

Finally, more Tacko.
 

OurF'ingCity

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At the 6-minute mark Enes Kanter enters the game with the C's holding a 1 point lead (15-14). With under a minute left in the first, Kanter checks out with the C's down 9, 33-24. Outscored 19-9 with Kanter on the floor. With under 9 minutes to go in the 2nd, Kanter checks back in, C's down 5 (40-35). No Grant in the first half, only 3 minutes of Time Lord in the first half (which were decent minutes).

Also Stevens just so often seemed to be behind Spolelstra in making adjustments.

Some of this might have been limitations imposed by his short bench, but better use of the Williamses is an option he had but didn't attempt to use.
This ignores that Grant was in the game for the vast majority of the fourth quarter, including the stretches where Boston gave up its 96-90 lead and during the Heat's later 6-point run to make it 109-102 with about four minutes left. That isn't all or even mostly on Grant, of course, but it does suggest that playing him more wouldn't have changed the ultimate outcome.

I do wish we had seen a little bit more of TimeLord last night, though, if only to give Miami something else to think about. Brad just doesn't seem to have confidence in him yet - for most of the postseason he played him only when he felt like he had to (basically, when Theis was in foul trouble or they needed height to counteract something the opponent was doing).
 

Jimbodandy

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For sure. The GH injury caused some of this but it's up to Brad to tell him to stop shooting or have more granularity on the offense that incentives the Jays to shoot more. Look at how Spo handled Kendrick Nunn. Nunn was great all season but just didn't have it against the Celtics so Spo benched him. Not saying Marcus needed to be benched but Spo was fine with benching a 15 points a game player and adjusting. I want to keep Brad but I hope he learns from the bubble experience.
This is the worst post in the thread. It's not worth the 20 minutes that it would take to point out all of its flaws.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I think it would be helpful for posters who suggest the Celtics need a coaching change or for Stevens to improve to discuss what the Celtics did badly versus their organizational approach. Assuming we can all agree that the Celtics are pretty data-driven in their decisions, if you have a problem with Steven's rotations, Xs and Os, time management etc, you may actually have problem with Ainge, Zarren et al. I am not suggesting that Stevens isn't making these decisions or is above criticism - just that some of the choices he and his staff make are likely blessed from above.

Of course, if the top of the Celtics house has some holes in its game, that is also a worthy issue to discuss. My take is that that Ainge thought this team was probably another year away around the deadline. Had Tatum made the leap to start the season, Ainge may have done more to shore up the bench. The knock on effect is that Stevens rotations would likely have been much different in that scenario, the outcome may have been more favorable and we would be singing his praises today.
 

RedOctober3829

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They do defer to him. That's why their growth is important. If they're demanding those shots and getting to the hole and otherwise doing their job with purpose, then Marcus barely shoots at all. That's the point. The problem isn't Marcus. The problem is that the better scorers sit back when they shouldn't be.
Last night, Jaylen was doing his job and doing it very well. He was extremely efficient(10-17 FG) and doing what you'd want him to do and yet Marcus took an insane amount of shots. When his 3's are in the rhythm of the offense that is fine. And I will say that Marcus' early success kept them in the game when the others got off to a cold start. But, when he starts hunting out his own shots at the expense of moving the basketball around and getting others a better shot it really hurts the team. If Brown, Tatum, and even Kemba do this, I don't mind it because they are the 3 top options on the team to score and the success of the team falls on their shoulders on the offensive end. It is fair to wonder whether Smart's status as the leader of the team will further impact Tatum and Brown's tendencies to defer to him. As much as I am bringing up the possibility of moving him, Smart is a very valuable player to have on the team. I just would like to explore every reasonable option to improve the team.
 

BaseballJones

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2020-21 ages of key Celtics players:

Tatum: 23
Brown: 24
Smart: 26
Kemba: 30
Hayward: 30 (assuming he opts in)
G Williams: 22
R Williams: 23
Langford: 21
Theis: 28

This is a VERY young team with a couple of older guys (Kemba/Hayward). Even Smart is just now entering the beginning stages of his prime, even though it feels like he's been around forever.
 

Dduncan6er

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I think a lot of the reason Brad doesn't move to zone like a lot of other teams is because the Celtics can switch so much. The Heat played zone so much because they had to. The Heat would get absolutely crushed with 2 of Robinson, Dragic, and Herro on the floor because they're such bad defenders and they would consistently be targeted. The zone is played to hide them. If anything it's more on the C's for not getting more quality shots against the zone and making them get their shooters off the floor. A knockdown shooter off the bench would likely lead to the C's facing less zone in the future.
 

bankshot1

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I'm perfectly fine with CBS, but there are times IMO he can be more pro-active in his approach to TOs and other game decisions. Regular season a coach can be patient and hope the team figures it out and plays through a rough patch, as there are 82 games to figure it out. Brad as Professor Socrates Stevens seems to be a good teacher, but the post-season timelime and urgency is a little more compressed, and at times "Red" Stevens might have been helpful. (even picking up a T to show your guys you fucking care) If you blow a game in the regular season, no biggie, you blow a game in the post-season it may be season over. IMO at least one of the Celts G1 and G2 losses might have been saved with CBS helping his guys through the 3-2, or reducing turnovers, or calling a TO to stop a 8 point run from being 12 point run.

I put this series loss more on getting little from Kemba or Gordo, who were both playing at less than 100%. Having a mobile PG to penetrate the 3-2 D would have been nice. And they had no real answer to Bam.

I don't think they're missing a lot other than a healthy PG and a dependable 5 (and maybe TL grows into that).
 

nighthob

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He's a nice player, but he isn't the guy you remember from Philly. He's about to turn 30 and trending downwards.
 

nighthob

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Yeah, but he's no longer a very good shooter. I agree they need someone like what he used to be, I'm just not sure that that's who he is anymore.
 

4 6 3 DP

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This team needs someone that the ball goes through in the last 6 minutes when defensive intensity is at it's highest. This would have been Horford last year, the offense cannot run through Marcus Smart in crunch time. He should be the fifth option offensively in any important possession. And Jaylen Brown for all of his strengths needs to be 3-4 because his tunnel vision is not helpful against locked in defense.

I was extremely frustrated with Stevens at the end of almost every game, as the ball was just not staying in Tatum/Walker's hands enough for my liking, but ultimately as many of you have said, your alpha has to demand the ball, and as of yet, Tatum isn't doing it, and Walker isn't the player that he was.
 

CapeCodYaz

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Chicken or egg? I agree that Smart gets a little heat-checky when he hits a couple. But a lot of those shooting performances were becaue of poor ball movement leaving them with few options or too much ball movement (both of which were symptoms of playing in tough games). At some point in the shot clock someone has to shoot the ball.

Edit: Or what Jimbo said before me...
I agree with all this but far too many good drives to the basket where they pop it out for a 3 point option and missed--drive, get fouled and you might get an easier shot at 3 points sometimes!
 

Jimbodandy

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Last night, Jaylen was doing his job and doing it very well. He was extremely efficient(10-17 FG) and doing what you'd want him to do and yet Marcus took an insane amount of shots. When his 3's are in the rhythm of the offense that is fine. And I will say that Marcus' early success kept them in the game when the others got off to a cold start. But, when he starts hunting out his own shots at the expense of moving the basketball around and getting others a better shot it really hurts the team. If Brown, Tatum, and even Kemba do this, I don't mind it because they are the 3 top options on the team to score and the success of the team falls on their shoulders on the offensive end. It is fair to wonder whether Smart's status as the leader of the team will further impact Tatum and Brown's tendencies to defer to him. As much as I am bringing up the possibility of moving him, Smart is a very valuable player to have on the team. I just would like to explore every reasonable option to improve the team.
I'm all for exploring options to improve the team, and even Tatum isn't untouchable.

All that I'm saying is that Brad isn't going to sit Marcus for the shots that he took yesterday. Everyone knows that Marcus isn't a top three scoring option on this team, including Marcus. But someone has to take the shots. And when they're the type of shots that the team wants taken, and you just don't want it to be Marcus doing it, then the problem that you have is with the organization.
 

Dduncan6er

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Tatum will keep evolving and will become THE guy in the last 5 minutes of playoff games. This was a great learning opportunity for him and he'll be more comfortable closing out games in the future. His passing improved leaps and bounds in the bubble and things will continue to slow down for him at the end of big games.
 

reggiecleveland

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One thing that people need to keep in mind in this thread is that it's really easy to say "we need a better big man" or "we need someone who can shoot better off the bench" but much harder to actually find those players without sacrificing elsewhere. People need to show their work and explain how we can get a good bench shooter or quality big man given the Celtics' current cap situation.

Roster construction in the NBA is really hard, particularly with a capped out team like the Celtics. It's unfortunate that this year's draft is mostly meh because that is one of the only places the Celtics could theoretically materially improve their team. The other is the trade market, but it would have to be a blockbuster trade to really change things - even something like the Miles Turner-for-Smart trade someone proposed in a different thread might not make a real difference because while it would address some issues, it would open up others (it would require them to find a very good defensive guard to replace Smart, for starters).

And they really can't do anything in the free agent market this year given their cap situation, except potentially add a veteran minimum contract or two.
That is why I am expecting flawed guys, the big will likley be like Timelord on O but more experienced on D. The shooter will probably have
Everyone shot more or less the same percentage yesterday. Why is Marcus's 4-13 worse than JTs 3-10 or Kemba's 3-10?
The problem is why we need a SHOOTER not a scorer off the bench. Having these three guys take 33 threes is a problem. But based on the talents of Brown, Tatum, Walker there are lots of open 3s, they need 8-12 of those going to a guy?guys who is/are in the league because of how well he/they shoots/shoot 3s.

The hard thing to do is get into the paint, and the Cs do that great. What separates them from Miami, and LA is what the guys who get into the paint (those 3) have as options other than passing to each other. They need the big that finishes, Theis is okay but tends to just kick it out again as often as he dunks it. They also need the pure shooter they can find.
 

ragnarok725

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Smart is such a conundrum. He brings so many positives to the team, but man, it's brutal to watch him hoist brick after brick in big spots. Yes, he's gotten marginally better as a shooter, but he's not good enough to justify the volume of shots he takes. So what do you do with a guy like that? He helps you more than he hurts you, so you don't want to get rid of him. But in big games, having him on the floor brings a very real risk that he'll shoot his way to a loss for you.
This is definitely tough. I've been extremely frustrated by Smart at times.

But consider this:

Year 3PA 3P%
2014-15 4.1 .335
2015-16 4.0 .253
2016-17 4.2 .283
2017-18 4.6 .301
2018-19 4.3 .364
2019-20 6.6 .347


Smart took a big leap in his number of 3s attempted per game this year. His percentage suffered - some, not a ton. He's improved significantly as a shooter over the last 5 years or so. There is a legitimate possibility he could continue improving here, whether via strict percentages, or in selection.

He takes too many bad shots. And he misses some of those bad shots in really ugly ways that make you really question whether he can improve his decision making. But he's still evolving as a player. It's hard to believe he's still 26. If he could take one more small leap, the team could get a lot tougher to deal with.
 

lexrageorge

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Time left on the shot clock during Marcus Smart's 3 pointers:

Misses: 11, 9, 1, 7, 14, 13, 10, 14, 12
Makes: 14, 7, 9, 6

EDIT: I should have added that these numbers do lack context. Don't know which of those looks were wide open. And he's not a terrible 3 shooter anymore.
 
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Buck Showalter

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Any way they could bring in Gallinari? He's a FA and will probably get more than the MLE so maybe a S&T? He's shot over 40% from the 3 the last 2 years.
I would like Gallinari if we can afford him (I won't even attempt to interpret the Celtics' moves needed to fit him in)....

But in the same breath...I kinda' like Austin Rivers (if possible) to replace Wanamaker's minutes.
 

reggiecleveland

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Time left on the shot clock during Marcus Smart's 3 pointers:

Misses: 11, 9, 1, 7, 14, 13, 10, 14, 12
Makes: 14, 7, 9, 6
Pretty random sample.
Player confidence, being allowed to shoot are tricky. I have to trust the coaching staff that turned a guy I hated when they drafted him because he was a bad college shooter into a 34% 3 guy in the NBA for understanding what freedom they need to give him.
 

NomarsFool

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My feeling was that Smart has, in general, been making better decisions in the playoffs than I remember him doing during the regular season. However, I looked at the stats and his assists per game and assists per 36 actually went down a small amount in the playoffs.

He's a polarizing player. There are many games where I can't believe the incredible plays that he makes on the positive side, and there are games where I can't believe the plays that he makes on the negative side.
 

reggiecleveland

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When Hayward was healthy Smart, rightfully, regarded as one of the best bench guys in the NBA. As bench guy he will be 0-5, 2-6, 3-6, for example adding up to his rough %. You get into problems when guys that should be taking 5 shots a game start taking 10. Once he becomes a starter he plays more, and also suddenly he is on the floor with Wannamaker, Semi, Kemba more than usual which leads to him shooting more.
 

dhellers

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I'm perfectly fine with CBS, but there are times IMO he can be more pro-active in his approach to TOs and other game decisions. Regular season a coach can be patient and hope the team figures it out and plays through a rough patch, as there are 82 games to figure it out. Brad as Professor Socrates Stevens seems to be a good teacher, but the post-season timelime and urgency is a little more compressed, and at times "Red" Stevens might have been helpful. (even picking up a T to show your guys you fucking care) If you blow a game in the regular season, no biggie, you blow a game in the post-season it may be season over. IMO at least one of the Celts G1 and G2 losses might have been saved with CBS helping his guys through the 3-2, or reducing turnovers, or calling a TO to stop a 8 point run from being 12 point run.

I put this series loss more on getting little from Kemba or Gordo, who were both playing at less than 100%. Having a mobile PG to penetrate the 3-2 D would have been nice. And they had no real answer to Bam.

I don't think they're missing a lot other than a healthy PG and a dependable 5 (and maybe TL grows into that).
Spo's use of timeouts was predictable, but (other than game 5) did seem to work -- they stopped Celtics runs. And sometimes that meant stopping a 6 point Celtic run. It does suggest that timeout can help. But perhaps they only help if there is something the coach can change.

More importantly: Kemba and Especially Gordon, were not what they were hired to be. Kemba was an okay, but not deadly scorer. Post all star game he just didn't seem to be able to consistenly utilize his array of offensive tricks -- a capablity the Celts kind-of-desperately needed at the end of games.

Can Kemba recover that? Can Gordon get (and STAY) healthy enough to be someone who punishes other teams when they give him some space.
If both of these are yes, chalk this year up to experience and go get 'em in 2021.

If not, some tough decisions on whether you reshuffle the deck and make some painful deals, or hope your young core gets good enough to overcome the degraded capabilities of your 2 foundational vets.

I would vote for patience.
 

reggiecleveland

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The answer is not to replace Kemba, or that Kemba sucks. The answer is to stop the key from being crowded when he drives.
Sorry for mass posting, but some of the analysis here is like baseball. Each player affects the other. Kemba is not as bad he looked, and he lit it up vs Philly and Toronto (at times).


He would be helped the most by the addition of finishers (shooter, alley oop guy) but with Theis invisible and Marcus as the third wing his kick options were limited, and both the big, or guy that switched onto Theis, or Marcus' guy were there to help. Teams help off of Tatum and Brown too since while good shooters do not terrify your from 3.
 

JCizzle

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Chicken or egg? I agree that Smart gets a little heat-checky when he hits a couple. But a lot of those shooting performances were becaue of poor ball movement leaving them with few options or too much ball movement (both of which were symptoms of playing in tough games). At some point in the shot clock someone has to shoot the ball.

Edit: Or what Jimbo said before me...

If I ran this correctly, Smart went:

2-3 with 22-24 seconds on the shot clock
1-1 with 18-22 seconds on the shot clock
2-8 with 15-18 seconds on the shot clock
3-9 with 7-15 seconds on the shot clock

He only shot it once in what the filter deems "late" or "very late" situations. Not sure I love that from a guy who is probably the fourth option most times on the court.
 

djbayko

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If I ran this correctly, Smart went:

2-3 with 22-24 seconds on the shot clock
1-1 with 18-22 seconds on the shot clock
2-8 with 15-18 seconds on the shot clock
3-9 with 7-15 seconds on the shot clock

He only shot it once in what the filter deems "late" or "very late" situations. Not sure I love that from a guy who is probably the fourth option most times on the court.
I don't think this necessarily disagrees with what i was saying. How many times do teams wait until the 24-second clock is almost up before they shoot? That's how you get yourself into shitty shooting situations - even worse than an open Marcus Smart 3PA. The scenarios I was talking about - when ball movement is stagnant or when there are one too many passes - can easily lead to shots being taken in that average time category.

But we were also talking about the series as a whole (or at least the 6 games where Marcus took a lot of shots), not just the last game as outlined in your post. His % of shots taken late/very late is higher when you looks across the series (13.4% vs. 4.8% or 15.9% of 3PA vs. 7.7%).
 
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