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One thing about the Celtics that almost everyone lauds these days is the coaching. And it's true that Brad Stevens has his players playing hard most of the time, playing great defense, and winning some games they used to lose.

But why is the offense so weak? Why, on a team that boasts the league's 3rd best Defensive Rating, is the offense mired in the NBA's bottom half? Why, with the Golden State game on the line and ~22 seconds left in the 4th quarter, did the coach fail to take an OBVIOUS timeout to set up a proper play? (With the score tied, IT ended up shooting and missing a 3. Smh.)

Why is Isaiah left to find his own offense so often?

Good teams have a stock of offensive sets that they utilize regularly. You can see them running those sets throughout each game. The Celtics have their sets too, of course. But too often, they bring the ball up, and.... and the offense devolves into either an ISO (by Thomas or Turner), or a jumper by an open (or not-so-open) man. The only time you can be sure of seeing a good set is after a timeout, when the coach has fed it to them.

One could argue that the Cs' offense breaks down only when their pick-and-roll gets busted by the opposing defense. Fair enough. But good teams have secondary and tertiary plans. They don't drop into relative chaos when one play fails.

This smells like inadequate coaching on the offensive side. Inadequate coaching and insufficient practice.

There aren't any stats that measure coaching. Yet we know that the Celtics have a top-3-rated defense, but are #18–#19 in Offensive Rating right now. I.e., Boston's offense is currently WORSE THAN LEAGUE AVERAGE.

This kind of stark O-D dichotomy doesn't come along often in the NBA. Theoretically, it happens when the coaching (and front office?) has focused on one side of the court at the expense of the other.

There's no time in the middle of a season to fix an offense. So there are two possible solutions for this Celtics team right now:
  1. Bring in a strong assistant coach to help manage the offense.
  2. Use the All-Star break for a mini training camp of sorts, focused on the offense.
Will this solve the Celtics' offensive problems? Not likely. Three reasons: There's not enough time, they're not likely to find the right assistant coach (or they would have by now) — and the roster. One of the offense's biggest problems is the roster itself. Too many of these guys just aren't very good shooters. That's not going to get fixed in a mini training camp. The only way to fix that in the short term is with trades.

So most likely we're going to see some trades in an effort to bolster the offense.

The question is: can that ever really be enough if the coaching on the offensive side is inadequate?

And if they do bring in some shooters, what will happen to their vaunted defense?

You can't build an excellent team without excellent coaching. And excellent coaching requires attention to ALL aspects of the game, and both sides of the court. Most coaches are better at one side than the other. Great teams manage that by bringing in the right assistant coaches. Case in point: Doc Rivers and Tom Thibodeau.

Brad Stevens may need a Tom Thibs — for the offense.


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Green Stats runs after each Celtics game, right here, usually within ~ 1 to 20 hours of the final horn.
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Photo: Jamie Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports


Follow DRJ on Twitter @DRJ_CsNStats

DRJ 12/16/2015 05:17:00 PM Edit
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