The Good, The Bad & The Okay
Here are some of the key takeaways from the Celtics season so far.
A lot of us could’ve predicted the stellar play of Celtics star, Jayson Tatum. Even the jump that Jaylen Brown has taken thus far hasn’t come as much of a surprise. But man… Payton Pritchard can play. During the offseason, fans wanted to see the Celtics make a move for James Harden and I think we can all at least agree now that trading Jaylen Brown would have been a grave mistake. Had the Celtics traded Kanter, Poirier, Hayward, and Wanamaker for Thompson, Teague, Nesmith, and Pritchard, I think we’d see this offseason as a huge success and a step in the right direction by adding bench scoring and rebounding.
- Draft: Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, Yam Mader
- Free Agents: Tristan Thompson, Jeff Teague
- Free Agents: Gordon Hayward, Brad Wanamaker
- Trade: Vincent Poirier, Enes Kanter
- 10 W – 8 L (4th in the East)
- 111.6 PPG (16th), 44.3 RPG (15th), 22.8 APG (25th), 9.1 SPG (3rd), 5.6 BPG (9th)
- 47.3% FG (10th), 37.7% 3PT (9th), 75.5% FT (19th)
- 109.2 OPPG (8th, 19.7 FPG (15th), 14.0 TPG (20th)
- Jayson Tatum for MVP am I right? No really, it’s very possible that the 22-year-old gets more than just All-Star votes this season. Tatum has improved upon his already deep bag of tricks. The side step is crisp, attacking the rim is finally beginning to take place. If he puts more effort into his Free Throw routine, JT is on his way to becoming an MVP-caliber player. Tatum has played in 13 games, averaging 34.8 minutes per game.
- 26.8 PPG, 3.7 APG, 7.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG
- 2.5 TO, 1.7 PF
- 48.4 FG%, 43.5 3PT%, 83.3 FT%
- Jaylen Brown rising to stardom this season comes to no surprise when you factor in the absence of Kemba (injury) and Tatum (Covid-19) for a few games leaving the Celtics to lean on Brown to lead the offense and he delivered. Brown has played in 18 games, averaging 33.1 minutes per game.
- 27.1 PPG, 3.5 APG, 5.4 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG
- 2.5 TO, 2.8 PF
- 53.1 FG%, 44.3 3PT%, 75.6 FT%
- Tacko Fall has become more than just a league sensation. Looking more like an NBA player every time he steps onto the court. Tacko has played in 4 games, averaging 10.5 minutes per game.
- 3.0 PPG, 0.0 APG, 3.8 RPG, 0.0 SPG, 2.0 BPG
- 0.3 TO, 1.5 PF
- 62.5 FG%, 0.0 3PT%, 50.0 FT%
- After spending all four of his years at the University of Oregon, Payton Pritchard entered the league as a veteran – and older than Tatum for that matter. Haters were thrown a bone when NBC Sports Boston compared Pritchard’s debut to Steph Curry’s. Following his recent MCL sprain, Pritchard will be sidelined for a few weeks – giving the Celtics reason to use that traded player exception. Fast PP has played in 14 games, averaging 20.9 minutes per game.
- 7.7 PPG, 2.6 APG, 2.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
- 1.6 TO, 1.8 PF
- 48.8 FG%, 42.5 3PT%, 90.0 FT%
- Robert Williams has become a more reliable option through his 13 games this season. Making smart decisions on the court by switching to a bigger guy to help Pritchard out defensively or setting a hard screen and quickly rolling to the basket for a lob from Marcus Smart. Timelord has played in 13 games, averaging 15.5 minutes per game.
- 6.2 PPG, 0.8 APG, 6.2 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 1.5 BPG
- 1.2 TO, 1.5 PF
- 75.0 FG%, 0.0 3PT%, 90.0 FT%
Key Takeaways: The Bad
- Aaron Nesmith is one of the few Celtics that have struggled to find a rhythm. It’s early, Nesmith has yet to be given a legit shot to prove his value though. Nesmith has only played in 9 games, averaging 12.8 minutes per game.
- 3.7 PPG, 0.4 APG, 1.7 RPG, 0.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG
- 0.8 TO, 1.8 PF
- 32.4 FG%, 31.0 3PT%, 0.0 FT%
- Grant Williams has taken strides in becoming a solid 3 and D player for the Celtics. Early in the season, Grant has struggled to find his role with the team and mentioned the mental obstacles of overcoming this confidence drought. Grant Williams has appeared in 15 games, averaging 17.4 minutes per game.
- 4.7 PPG, 0.7 APG, 3.1 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG
- 0.9 TO, 3.0 PF
- 41.9 FG%, 41.4 3PT%, 42.9 FT%
- The Jeff Teague experience is a major takeaway from the Celtics season so far. It has gone about as well as expected thus far. Not bad/Not special. Teague has shown us that he has the ability to get us a bucket at will, but is a downgrade from rookie Payton Pritchard. The Celtics may look to cut or trade Teague, I don’t think it’s working out for him in Boston. Teague has played in 16 games, averaging 18 minutes per game.
- 5.8 PPG, 2.3 APG, 1.9 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 0.2 BPG
- 0.9 TO, 1.1 PF
- 32.0 FG%, 41.7 3PT%, 87.5 FT%
- Carsen Edwards has tried to fill the role left by Wanamaker but, like most, has been completely outplayed by Pritchard. If before every game, we tell Carsen that we’re playing the Cavaliers, he just might become serious rotation player. Edwards has appeared in 7 games, averaging 9.1 minutes per game.
- 5.3 PPG, 0.4 APG, 1.1 RPG, 0.4 SPG, 0.1 BPG
- 0.5 TO, 1.0 PF
- 48.4 FG%, 30.8 3PT%, 75.0 FT%
- Tremont Waters was a flop in his first start with the Celtics. He just looked lost out there. Unable to get other players involved and showed a shoot first mentality at times. Has been completely overtaken by Pritchard. Waters has only played in 6 games, averaging 10.2 minutes per game.
- 2.8 PPG, 2.8 APG, 0.8 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.0 BPG
- 2.0 TO, 0.8 PF
- 29.4 FG%, 37.5 3PT%, 100 FT%
Key Takeaways: The Okay
- Marcus Smart had struggled to fit in offensively earlier this season. Hopefully his 20 & 25-point games against Philadelphia put any Marcus Smart trades to rest. With Smart sidelined for a week or so, and probably longer with the high potential of re-injury, the Celtics really need to cash in on that Traded Player Exception, created from Gordon Hayward’s departure. Smart has played in 17 games, averaging 32.3 minutes per game.
- 13.1 PPG, 6.1 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG
- 1.8 TO, 2.3 PF
- 39.4 FG%, 31.1 3PT%, 74.2 FT%
- Before the start of the season, Semi Ojeleye was on the trade block for the majority of Celtics fans. Ojeleye shooting improvement didn’t come without grinding in the lab with Jay Larranaga. Now releasing the ball on the way up on his jump shot, Ojeleye’s shot has become more quick and accurate. Ojeleye has played in 17 games, averaging 32.3 minutes per game.
- 5.3 PPG, 0.7 APG, 3.0 RPG, .1 SPG, 0.0 BPG
- 1.8 TO, 2.3 PF
- 40.8 FG%, 36.2 3PT%, 71.4 FT%
- Kemba Walker’s return was an immediate boost to the Celtics’ first & third-quarter scoring woes, providing an extra guy to worry about when the Jays are on the floor. Even though Kemba is averaging almost two steals per game, his defense is still highly questionable when he’s targeted by the league’s top guards. Luckily for the Celtics, we have Tatum, Brown, Smart and even Grant/Semi to guard KD, Kyrie, and Harden. Walker has played in 6 games, averaging 24.8 minutes per game.
- 14.3 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG
- 2.0 TO, 1.3 PF
- 37.3 FG%, 29.3 3PT%, 85.7 FT%
- Tristan Thompson has been exactly what we need. Grab 7 rebounds or so, and be a tireless defender on the interior. I like that the coaching staff limited TT’s shot attempts on the offensive end and the use of that double-big lineup. Thompson has played in 16 games, averaging 22.2 minutes per game.
- 5.9 PPG, 0.8 APG, 8.4 RPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG
- 1.0 TO, 2.4 PF
- 44.7 FG%, 0.0 3PT%, 64.3 FT%
- Daniel Theis has been frustrating to watch during certain stretches of the game. Some could blame Theis’ poor play on the ‘double-big’ lineup. Others may look to the emergence of Robert Williams III paired with the addition of FA Big Tristan Thompson.
- 2 RPG/.33 SPG/.83 BPG, 58/26.1/33.3 (12 G) in 22.2 minutes
- Theis has played in 18 games, averaging 23.2 minutes per game.
- 9.7 PPG, 1.2 APG, 5.1 RPG, 0.6 SPG, 0.9 BPG
- 1.1 TO, 2.7 PF
- 61.7 FG%, 38.2 3PT%, 76.0 FT%
- Javonte Green was a guy who could have benefited from the numerous injuries/covid lists on the Celtics however, he was one of them. We’ve seen spurts of solid play from Green, he’s played in 10 games, averaging 17.2 minutes per game.
- 5.6 PPG, 0.7 APG, 3.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
- 0.7 TO, 0.9 PF
- 50.0 FG%, 20.0 3PT%, 64.7 FT%
Outlook for the Celtics
The major takeaway from the Celtics season so far, is that the Jays are the real deal. The dynamic duo are combining for over 55 per game and with Kemba back in the lineup, willing to sacrifice his stats for the better of the team, things were looking bright. It seems that the injury bug may be chasing the Celtics again this year with both Pritchard and Smart sidelined with leg injuries.
Danny Ainge has the TPE in his back pocket, ready to make a move for players like George Hill, JJ Redick or Evan Fournier. It’s only a matter of time, and the right trade partner. The Celtics is about to begin their five game road trip out West, so don’t anticipate a winning streak anytime soon.
Prediction for Boston’s next five games:
111-102 W @ Golden State (Feb. 2nd), 124-115 L @ Sacramento (Feb. 3rd), 109-104 W @ LA Clippers (Feb. 5th),119-102 L @ Phoenix (Feb. 7th), 105-104 W @Utah (Feb. 9th)
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