The Scouting Report: Boston Celtics
Projected starting line-up: Avery Bradley, Evan Turner, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller
The Celtics and general manager Danny Ainge are having a fire sale. They traded away Rajon Rondo. A few weeks later they traded the best player they received in that trade, center Brandan Wright, to Phoenix for a first round pick.
They flipped Jameer Nelson, who had a player option for next season to Denver for Nate Robinson but subsequently waived him.
They also traded Jeff Green away to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future first round pick and Tayshaun Prince. Prince has been playing a little bit, even getting 20 minutes against the Clippers (his next team?), although he’s been rumored to be in the process of negotiating a buyout.
Brad Stevens still has the Celtics moving the ball around quite a bit. The Celtics are in the top ten in the league in passes per game and are seventh in the NBA in total assists. But that hasn’t exactly resulted in good offense, mostly because they struggle to shoot from the outside as a team, hitting 33 percent of their 3-pointers. The Celtics play at the league’s third fastest pace but their 3-point rate is about league average.
What makes the Celtics unique is who shoots the majority of their 3-pointers. Their big men are just as likely to shoot from the 3-point line as their guards. Sullinger and Kelly Olynky coming off the bench are not afraid to let it fly.
Marcus Smart is back in the line-up after recovering from an injury and has started to raise his 3-point volume. And he’s hitting too. Smart was looked at as the air apparent to Rondo in the Celtics backcourt. Although he’s not starting, he’s getting some quality run and if he has an above average 3-point shot to go along with his defensive tenacity, he should be a dynamic presence at the point guard spot for years to come.
Tyler Zeller has emerged as a pick and roll big man who can finish in the lane and above the rim. The Celtics aren’t very good but they are young and with their high pace and defenders like Bradley and Smart, they might be able to turn the Blazers over. That was one of the things that put them down by 25 against the Suns. If the Celtics can maintain ball pressure, they’ll give themselves a good chance to steal one from the Blazers.