The Celtics offense isn’t sexy right now.
“[The Boston Celtics] offense can be very choppy at times. Shot selection is definitely questionable. When you don’t have a rim runner, like Robert Williams, in the game it just limits you. Do you see how many easy baskets they create with Williams in the game?” said the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “The Celtics work too hard for their baskets.”
The eye test tells you that’s true. You’ll often hear Brian Scalabrine gripe over the lack of ball movement in Boston’s offense several times per game. Even when they generate good shots the C’s still don’t make a significant number of them (Boston is towards the bottom third of the league in field goal percentage on wide-open three-pointers). Moreover, the roster is filled with players who either cannot reliably create for others and/or are very comfortable as isolation players.
But how could you fix this? Washburn suggests that all Brad Stevens has to do to fix the Celtics offense is trade for a shooter. So far Aaron Nesmith has not blossomed into that player. Payton Pritchard cannot find his rhythm in spotty minutes. I know I’ve enjoyed the Grant Williams emergence, but I don’t think it would be wise to count on him to be the best Celtics three-point shooter.
How Does a Shooter Impact Celtics Offense?
Washburn mentioed how Robert Williams changes the geometry of the floor for the Celtics in a positive way. Defenses have to account for him as he rolls to the basket, allowing for others to take advantage of a pre-occupied defense. Having a shooter on the floor also changes that calculus. If Jayson Tatum has the ball he’s going to command a lot of attention from every defender on the floor. Everyone has to at least take account of where he is at all times. With every defender focusing on Tatum it, again, allows other players to get easier shots. If that shooter happens to be a knock-down one, things, for once, could be easier for Tatum and company.