Ah the "peek-a-boo offense". An interesting term I learned of on the internet, it was used to describe the plays that were designed to get Ray Allen an open shot. This offense usually involved a lot of dribbling around while Ray Allen ran around screens, trying to get free. While Ray usually got his shot, it was criticized for slowing down the offense and being too predictable. When Ray left, some fans were relieved that they "would not have to see the peek-a-boo" again. While I am apologetic to those fans, I think we need to use it again. And a lot.
A major description of our bench heading into the season was that it was "offensively talented". After all you had former Sixth man of the year Jason Terry, Jeff Green (who people somehow believed was good offensively), and heck even Jared Sullinger (a talented offensive player in college). Obviously the bench has not given us anywhere near the offensive production we imagined it would, due to the parts not mixing together properly, and offensive regression for some of the players (Courtney Lee).
Avery Bradley's return was mostly centered around what he would bring to the defense, but an underrated aspect of his return is what he does for our bench offense. By taking over the starting spot from Jason Terry, Bradley gives the bench back its best offensive weapon. But Terry going back to the bench does nothing by itself. He needs to get shots, which he did not get against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Here is something interesting I wondered so far this season: Why do we play Jason Terry if he is not getting shots? His defense is terrible. He gives you little as a playmaker. His volume scoring makes up for his shortcomings, but he cannot volume score if he does not get the volume. Terry needs to shoot to be effective, and with the current state of the bench they should be letting him shoot whenever and however.
Here is the point of this article: The Celtics need to spam the "peek-a-boo" offense with Jason Terry. Obviously this does not mean ignore offensive creativity. Throw some Green post-ups in there, some Lee cuts, and some Terry-Sullinger pick and rolls. But the best offensive play we have off of the bench is the Terry "peek-a-boo".
There are two things going for this idea: First off is the simple fact that Terry seems like he will embrace this, unlike Ray who did not want to be relegated to the bench behind Bradley. Terry also has a history of playing in sets like the "peek-a-boo", with Dallas utilizing it heavily during his time there. This play is a perfect example of an excellent "peek-a-boo" set.
The second reason why this idea seems good is because Doc has realized it himself! Here is a comment from practice today:
"I was disappointed last night in me and the team. When Jason Terry is on the floor, you gotta run plays for Jason Terry," said Rivers. "What else would you have him on the floor for? To play defense?
Sound familiar? While it does not surprise me that Doc is willing to revert back to the "peek-a-boo", considering how much it was done with Ray, it is a necessary action to take right now. The stats also back up the need for more "peek-a-boo", as according to Synergy Sports data, only 19.2 percent of Terry's plays this season have come off screens (where he's shooting a robust 49.2 percent in those situations and averaging a solid 1.045 points per play).
Now not everything is so simple (Darn!). The "peek-a-boo" offense needs three things: good screens, a decent ball-handler/decision-maker, and somewhat intelligent players. Our screen-setting has actually been a huge problem this season, with poor screens killing some of our sets. But hey, we finally found a use for Jason Collins! Dubbed our "second best pick-setter" by Doc himself, Collins seems to have both the intelligence and "pick-setting skills" to help in these sets. As long as he will stay in the rotation with Wilcox out, he needs to be put in a position where he can succeed (aka not with Rondo). Obviously this means putting Collins back on the bench, and I think it would be best to put Bass back as a starter (but that is another story).
The ball-handler issue is a little trickier. Obviously Rondo is amazing at making the correct pass, but he cannot be on the floor all the time. Bradley looks like he will get some time at point in these sets, and hopefully he was improved on his poor ball-handling. I wonder how effective Courtney Lee will be as the PG in some of these sets, but I do not have high expectations. Maybe we should dust of Barbosa? (Just kidding!)
Our bench has been poor offensively so far this season, due to both bad combinations and regression from some players (Courtney Lee). Until we can sort out the mess, we will need to rely on Jason Terry and the "peek-a-boo". This is what we got him for, and I think he is up for the challenge. Only time will tell.
Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below.
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