Jan 25, 2013, 12:39 PM EDT
Boston is two games below .500 and it’s become evident this isn’t a problem isn’t gong away easily.
Boston’s offense is 21st in the NBA scoring just one point per possession (100 per 100 possessions, via Hoopdata, well below the league average of 102.7). Thing is, that’s slightly better than the 98.7 the Celtics averaged last season. What’s different is the defense went from allowing a dominating 95.5 points per 100 possessions up to 100.4 — which is still eighth best in the NBA but not dominating enough to cover up the stagnant offense.
The question is, how do you fix it?
With the return of Avery Bradley the defense has gotten better, but it has not and likely will not return to the dominant force it was before.
If the Celtics are going to get better, they need to do it on the offensive side of the ball. Which means starting to get more points in the paint — the Celtics get 40.1 percent of their points in the paint, 23rd in the NBA. Boston has become a jump shooting team that doesn’t get a lot of easy baskets at the rim or get to the free throw line often.
Boston is looking around on the trade market for some help — they have interest in J.J. Redick, for example — but the problem is nobody really wants what Boston is offering. From Paul Flannery, who has been doing great work at SBN:
In the short term, the Celtics are stuck. They are right up against the hard cap and it’s not as if there’s anybody waiting by the phone who could actually help. Their trade options aren’t strong either.
Their secondary players — Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry — are on reasonably affordable contracts but they have all had disappointing seasons. Their young players — Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger — might tempt someone, but giving up on the future for a short-term gain with a team that may have run its course does not seem wise. Jeff Green has no trade value.
So the points have to come from inside the locker room. Terry in particular had been a disappointment and needs to find a comfort zone where he can come in, create shots, knock down shots and produce some offense. On paper he looked like an upgrade over Ray Allen, but right now opponents say the Celtics miss Ray Allen.
Boston is in the dreaded eight seed spot right now. If Andrew Bynum comes back to Philly and jump starts their season, Boston might have to improve just to make the playoffs. But even if they don’t, the eight seed gets the Miami Heat in the first round, and that wouldn’t go well for them playing like they are right now.
It’s not good. And there are no easy answers. But Kevin Garnett is not going to panic.
- Report: Clippers just need owner’s approval to finalize Garnett, Rivers trade 4
- PBT Extra: Previewing Heat/Spurs NBA Finals Game 7 6
- Utah Jazz bring back Jerry Sloan as team consultant 6
- Celtics, Clippers restart Doc Rivers-Kevin Garnett trades talks at Chris Paul’s wish 14
- Chris Bosh to fans who left Game 6 early: ‘Don’t come back for Game 7′ 43
- NBA Finals Game 6: Heat comeback in fourth, win in overtime to force Game 7 (125)
- If Spurs win, it is LeBron’s legacy that will take biggest hit (85)
- Lakers unlikely to sign and trade Dwight Howard to the Clippers, Rockets, or anyone else (81)
- Chris Bosh blocks Spurs’ Game 6 comeback attempt (video) (80)
- Heat’s Big Three dominate Game 4 to even the Finals at two games apiece (74)
- Play Video: Bosh: 'We'll see who hits first'
- Play Video: Clippers, Celtics discussions 'can't be wrong'
- Play Video: Elliot looks ahead to Game 6
- Play Video: The Hype: How much would you pay to punch someone?
- Play Video: If Heat lose, 'all hell will break loose'
- Play Video: Green breaks NBA finals 3-point record