Spooky Stats From Boston
Thus far in the 2018-2019 season, the Boston Celtics have struggled much more out of the gate than their over .500 record would indicate. The Celtics have been putrid offensively nearly across the roster. Their stars are struggling to score, and right now the team is far from resembling the championship contender they aspire to be. In honor of Halloween, let’s embrace the fear and look at three statistics from the Celtics so far that are giving Brad Stevens the cold sweats.
29: This is where the Celtics rank out of the 30 teams in the NBA in offensive efficiency (through 10/29), ranking ahead of only the train-wreck they call the Oklahoma City Thunder. For a team with championship aspirations, this type of offensive production is simply unacceptable. Such putrid play on that end wouldn’t even get the Celtics out of the weakened Eastern Conference, definitely a no-no for a franchise looking to take another step forward after falling in last years Eastern Conference Finals. Boston has alternated between looking clunky and lost offensively and simply blowing make-able looks, which can at least be attributed partially to the re-acclimation of key rotation players.
0.3: This number represents the number of points per game Celtics reserve Marcus Morris (14.3 PPG) has scored over the first six games than starting point guard Kyrie Irving (14.0 PPG). For any dedicated Marcus Morris fans or Kyrie Irving haters this might be a good statistic, but Celtic fans should be concerned about the way Kyrie has looked coming off knee surgery. He’s struggled from every where on the floor scoring the ball, posting a painful shooting line of 39% from the field and 24% percent from deep. If he’s not torching defenses with his ability to get buckets, Irving really isn’t a very productive basketball player. As blasphemous as it may be to say it, Irving has been significantly less valuable to Boston than both of the Celtics backup guards Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart. As we saw last year, the Celtics won’t be able to get over the hump and legitimately contend for a title without Irving, so Boston fans have to hope his scoring struggles will abate as he gets back into the groove of things.
5: The number five signifies the number of players on the Celtic roster averaging over 34% from outside the three point line. Even more concerning is the players that constitute the few Celtics hitting a respectable percentage from beyond the arc. It includes only one starter, Gordon Hayward, who’s success from deep coming back from a gruesome injury is promising but largely a result of him spending more time spotting up as he eases his way back, which very knowledgeable people predicted would happen. The other Celtics over 35% include backup big men Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis, both back up bigs, who only shoot when left wide open, and Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris. While it’s encouraging that the bench has shot so efficiently, Celtic fans should be fearful of the names not included. The aforementioned Irving has been doing his best Marcus Smart impression from deep, while youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s scoring efficiency has fallen off a cliff after they broke out last year.
The silver lining in Boston is that all these numbers are offensive stats. The defense has picked up right where it left off amidst an early offensive explosion in the NBA, leading the association in defensive rating just like they did last year. That side of the floor will always be the primary focus and strength of this Brad Stevens led squad, but the team desperately needs to improve on all these numbers if they hope to be the top team in the East, nonetheless challenge the Warriors. The Celtics will likely just hope for a return to form from Irving and Hayward and a normalizing of the outside shooting of Tatum, Brown and Horford, but if the offense continues to sputter into the new year don’t be shocked if Danny Ainge reaches into his war chest of picks and makes a blockbuster to bolster the offensive attack. The goal is to take down Golden State sooner rather than later, and if the startling statistics above don’t improve Ainge won’t be shy about trying to fix it himself.
All stats via https://www.basketball-reference.com/