Numbers for thought: Can the Celtics really shoot that well?
Numbers for thought is a series that selects certain pieces of statistics before each game (or let's say every now and then to make this a more attainable goal) that may or may not be meaningful (you know, small sample size, outliers or whatever) but nonetheless provide entertainment value (or so I hope).
Photo credit: Elise Amendola/AP
Welcome to the first post in a prospective series that is going to be awesome for people who like to see numbers and don't exactly care about how meaningful they are! My goal is to look at a few interesting statistics before/after each game or cumulatively during the season and try to have fun with them. For example last year, this series could have focused only on Gerald Wallace and still provide great entertainment/anxiety (depending on how serious you were about the season) because he had a hell of a run with his historically low FT%, historically high TO% and historically incomprehensible fluctuations of his mood (well, that one is not exactly quantifiable, but I'm sure there could have been a way to do that.)
OK, so here are the four numbers that I think are worth watching for tonight.
*55.7%: That's the Celtics field goal percentage this season -after only one game, of course- that puts them at #1 in the league. Yep, the Celtics, as of now, are the best shooting team in the league. For comparative purposes, the Celtics FG% was 43.6% after the first game of last season. It will be interesting to see how that number changes against the Rockets who have a scary defensive presence inside in Howard and a horrible defensive presence -can we even use that noun here?- in Harden.
*0-0-0: Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton, the shooting guards for the Celtics, played for 44 minutes against the Nets combined, and they had 0 assists, 0 rebounds and 0 steals. That's right, they were shooting alright (9-14) but they did not contribute in any other statistical category except for turnovers and fouls. The last time that was achieved by two Celtic guards was last season when Bradley and Pressey did it in a span of 24 minutes against the Mavericks, but they were shooting horribly too (2-14 combined) so it was just a bad night. The circumstances were different on Wednesday as Bradley and Thornton actually played well too. Let's see if this lack of assists and rebounds will change for the Celtic shooting guards tonight.
*54.5%: That's how much the Celtics' total number of steals increased compared to last year after the first game. Again, obviously this is a very small sample size, but 11 steals in a game is nonetheless impressive. The bulk of that effort belonged to Marcus Smart who had 4, and if the Rondo-Bradley-Smart trio can be as fierce as they are expected this year, we'll be in for some fun.
*0.0%: That's Jeff Green's turnover rate. It is not that unusual for a player to not the turn the ball over really, but if that player played 36 minutes, and had a 11.1% turnover rate last season, that becomes an interesting piece of information. Green's usage rate also went down significantly compared to last year, but maybe that means the Celtics will finally figure out how to use Green efficiently this season.
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