Title-town, or Over-reaction Central? Take a Chill Pill!
Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me
We’re a measly three weeks into the most highly-anticipated Celtic season in some time, and there are already more “fixes” for what’s ailin’ our boys than you can shake a stick at:
Move a disgruntled Rozier for a future asset? [addition by subtraction]
Replace the coaching staff? [Brad can only coach underdogs]
Send Irving to a fat farm? [Heinie hasn’t been wrong about much, has he?]
Amputate Smart’s shooting hand? [No Elaboration Needed]
Trade Cape Cod and a player to be named later to Louisiana for AD?
Let’s slow down a bit, why don’t we, and look at some facts.
Two seasons ago, as Isaiah Thomas was regularly thrilling us, Brad Stevens’s bunch graded out as the ninth-best team in the NBA.
Last season, by the same criteria, Boston came in at No. 6.
Through Monday’s action (three weeks of play), and again using the same measuring stick, the 2018-19 Boston Celtics have held on to the league’s sixth-best ranking – third-best in the East behind Toronto and Milwaukee, and ahead of the entire West except for the Warriors, Blazers and Nuggets.
Sure, the “product” has yet to be aesthetically pleasing … and yeah they laid an absolute egg at home losing to the Magic.
But they’ve managed to pull off three road wins so far, second best total in the league. They lead the league in scoring defense and defending the three-ball (the only team holding the bad guys below 30%); and stand No. 2 in overall FG defense.
And then there’s the little component of the game I like to call “Striping” – a measurement of the effect of the free throw line and three-point stripe on the outcome of a game. The Celtics have misfired on 45 free throws while sinking 129 three-point shots in 10 games – that’s a gain of 8.4 points per game. Only Milwaukee (10.9), GSW (9.3) and Charlotte (8.7) are earning more nightly advantage in this way.
But here’s where the C’s stingy defense shines through … opponents earn only 2.7 points per game through Striping. The Celtics’ 5.7 point-per-game differential is No. 1 at this stage of the season. (The Bucks are second, the Warriors fourth, the Hornets ninth.)
Last year, Brad’s guys earned 6.7 stripes per game and allowed 4.3, the fifth-best differential in the circuit; in 2016-17, they earned 7.5 while surrendering just 3.2, leading the league with a +4.3 differential.
Finally, let’s try to put this year’s through-the-roof usage of the three ball into some perspective. The 2016-17 Celtics posted a usage rate for 3FG’s (3PAr) of .393, third in the NBA. Last season, 3PAr dropped to .357, No. 8.
So far this go-round, we’re back to No. 3, but 3PAr has soared to .411 – more than two of every five shots have been from distance.
My old-school basketball sensibilities will never become comfortable with so perimeter-based a game …
… but I’m not ready to join the mob campaigning for change.
And while I have nothing against Buck Owens, Roy Clark or Hee Haw, I believe I’ll take my cue from a New Englander.
Ladies and Gents, I proudly present Professor Doug Bell and his Bellevue Cadillac – sit back and “Relax”!