"Off-season is a myth" - Celts need work on invading the paint & getting to the line
In a previous article, I mentioned Marcus Smart's quote, "Off-season is a myth!" There is no off-season for the true NBA professional. It is the time to work on your weaknesses - and fears. Yes, fears. The Celtics obviously have chromophobia - an irrational fear or aversion to colors found in the painted area of the court.
Do they have an aversion to the green painted area (prasinophobia) of their own court? How about the blue (cyanophobia) of the 76'ers home court or the yellow (xanthophobia) of the Warriors court. This past season, the Celtics were second-to-last (29th) in free throw attempts with only 20.0 per game. Who was first? The Clippers at 28.6 free throw attempts per game.
Who had the most attempts for Boston? Kyrie Irving with 3.75 per game. James Harden led the League at 10.74 free throw attempts per game, followed by Joel Embiid (9.85), Giannis Antetokounmpo (9.82), Anthony Davis (7.73), Lebron James (7.60) and Kawhi Leonard (7.58).
Flashback to Boston's Championship 2007-08 season. They ranked 9th in the NBA with 26.5 free throw attempts/game. Paul Pierce led his team with 6.25/game, followed by Kevin Garnett (4.66) and Ray Allen (3.32). Hell, even much-loved Leon Powe averaged 3.28/game with only 14.4 average minutes of floor time.
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Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward all need to work on their strength this summer. Driving into the lane, taking hits and getting up a good shot takes strength and handles. Hayward averaged only 2.54 FT attempts - Brown had 2.80 - and Tatum averaged 3.03. Not good enough. They have no aversion or fear of the tan-colored hardwood, but any portion of the floor with color? They avoid it.
Fouls don't occur often beyond the arc. No defender wants to give an opponent a shot at a 4-point play. Driving into the paint can be hazardous. But it has rewards. Racking up fouls on the opposition. Chances for 3-point plays. Brief breathers when the foul shots are taken.
A number of our readers have broached the idea of Kevin Garnett coming to Boston to tutor Rob Williams. I would also bring up the idea of Paul Pierce instructing the Jay Team on driving into the paint. At very least, Jaylen and Jayson should watch tape of The Truth attacking, and not fearing, the colored area. The Captain averaged as many as 10.3 free throw attempts per game (2005-06 season). Color is not to be feared, particularly the green area of the TD Garden floor.