Grading the Celtics preseason performance individually and as a team

The Celtics culminated the 2014-2015 NBA preseason with a 100-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night in Boston.

Overall, it was a successful preseason for the C's finishing at 5-3 versus their Atlantic Division foes.

Here are some grades and highlights from the games:

Team Performance:

The Celtics had excellent teamwork and were competitive in every game except for the second time they played the New York Knickerbockers.

In both of their losses to Toronto Boston played the defending division champions tight and the first loss taught Marcus Smart a valuable lesson moving forward.

This is the game where Kyle Lowry took it to him in the fourth quarter giving Smart the insight that the NBA guards he will sometimes be going against will not be so easy to overpower defensively due to their strength.
He learned it the hard way, too. After scoring only eight points over the first three quarters, Lowry blew the Celtics off the board with a 10-point, three-steal, two-assist fourth in the Celtics’ 116-109 loss to Toronto. Smart was on hand, and out of position, for many of those plays.

Now Smart understands how all of those Division 1 point guards felt over the last two years.

“It’s like guarding me,” Smart said, breaking into a smile. “He’s a bigger guard just like me who uses his body very well. He imposes his strength on other guards and that’s what he did tonight.”

The Toronto games aside, Boston's loss to the Knicks was really the only lackluster showing of the preseason.

In this game Boston allowed New York to shoot 52.6% while the Celts shot just 37.5% from the field.


Three point shooting - as the following player reports will show Boston could be a top tier three point shooting team this season.

Rebounding - due to their lack of size this will be a problem for Boston again this year. Having said that, surprisingly the C's were +5 overall in that department in the preseason.

Preseason Grade: B+

Individual Performance:

Projected Starters

Jared Sullinger Sully was a beast under the boards and demonstrated why last season Gerald Wallace called him one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA. In his last two preseason games, both played against Brooklyn, he had 36 total rebounds eight of which were offensive.

It also looks as though he's heeding Brad Stevens advice to model his game after Kevin Love if his three point shooting is any indication. Sullinger shot 15-30 from the arc this preseason.

Grade A

Avery Bradley Avery played very well in almost every game. He, too, shot the ball extremely well from three including a 6-9 20 point performance in just 21 minutes in the second game against Philadelphia.

Grade A-

Marcus Smart - Smart had his ups and downs shooting and there was the aforementioned lesson courtesy of Kyle Lowry. However, as demonstrated by his last game, his three ball will get there and he comes to play nightly.

Grade B+

Kelly Olynyk - Olynyk never dazzled but he was always solid and shot the ball excellently from deep as well (45%). He also averaged just under a block and a half a game including three in one of Boston's wins over the 76ers.

Grade B

Jeff Green - Green only played in four games this pre-season where he played a lot like...Jeff Green.

In his first game back coming off a calf injury he was understandably rusty going 3-12 against the Raptors. His second game's numbers were good finishing with 18 but he was still forcing up some ill advised shots.

Finally, in the last game he only played nine minutes but tantalzied Celtic fans once again with this spectacular block.

Grade B


Gerald Wallace - Wallace played tough defense and got on the floor for loose balls in the five pre-season games he appeared in. A trend that should continue this season and next because this is mostly what he'll have to offer when he becomes an UFA in 2016.

Wallace even had a twelve point five assist performance against Brooklyn in the pre-season finale in 22 minutes.

Grade B+

Marcus Thornton - Thornton has been as advertised. A streak shooter who when he gets it going was fun to watch including a 19 point outing in the first Toronto game. He is however a liability on defense and is at times very inconsistent shooting the ball.

Grade B

Tyler Zeller - Zeller showed he can be effective offensively in his breakout 6-6 shooting performance in the first Toronto game.

Even though he started off slow in this department he also got on the boards in the last three games corralling 20 in just 57 minutes.

Grade B

Brandon Bass - Bass was the consummate professional as usual setting good picks, playing hard on defense and taking the open mid-range J.

The only problem is he had only 17 total rebounds in the final six games while averaging close to 19 mins per.

Grade B-

Evan Turner - Turner looks as though he could be an enigma this season not unlike Jeff Green. The first game of the pre-season he started at the point and had 15 points 10 rebs and 6 assists in 31 minutes against the 76ers.

The second time the Celtics faced Philly he had 8 turnovers in 30 minutes.

Turnovers were a problem for him in Indiana and he's going to have to be less careless with the ball if he wants to see extended minutes this season.

Grade B-

Phil Pressey - Pressey did not shoot the ball well going 7-26 including 1-16 in the final five games.

On the flip side he limited his turnovers committing just 7 in eight games played.

Grade B-

All in all, with their three point shooting and defensive and offensive continuity improving daily this should be a fun second season of the Brad Stevens era for Celtic fans.

Follow Clint on Twitter @ClintCorey