The Boston Celtics find themselves without a win through the first games of the season, and look to halt becoming the first Celtics team to lose five games in a row in 67 years. The Celtics’ will have their chance to avoid the 0-5 start tonight when they play host to the Utah Jazz,who come into the contest as the other win less team in the NBA this season.
The Celtics have shown that they can compete in each of their games this season, and while there are many holes in this fresh Celtics squad, the inconsistency on offense are what keeps this team from sticking around late in the fourth quarter.
The first and probably the most prominent inconsistency that has led to the C’s misfortune is Jeff Green, and specifically Green’s scoring off of the dribble. Green’s 2013-14 season debut picked up where he left off in last year’s Eastern Conference quarterfinals where he led the team in scoring with over 20 points per game. In the season opener against Toronto, Green tallied 25 points, shooting 8-16 from the floor and 2-3 from three point range. Since then, he has scored 13 points on 4-13 shooting against Milwaukee, seven points on 3-5 shooting against Detroit, and 22 points on 6-12 shooting in the most recent loss to Memphis.
We have seen Green be a dominant scorer in the past, including a 43 point, seven rebound game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat last March. He’s proven that his physicality can match nearly any guard/forward in the league, but he still remains timid off of the dribble. If the Celtics are going to have a fighting chance at getting back into the win column, Green needs to cement his role as the go-to guy in Boston.
With All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo still nursing a knee injury from last season and point-forward Paul Pierce celebrating highlight-reel dunks as a member of the Nets, the Celtics are without a true distributor to carry the load offensively. Avery Bradley has filled in for Rondo at the one, but his lackluster passing skills make him a dismal option at the point guard spot, as he averages just 3.0 assists per game, and doesn’t make up for it by being a score-first type guard as he averages just under eleven points per game.
Boston needs to find a spark-plug from their bench that can work the ball around if they are going to stay consistent towards the end of the fourth quarter. Jordan Crawford has gotten decent minutes, and while he’s a much more talented passer than Bradley, he’s still more quick to take his own shot that to dish the rock as he averages just 2.8 assists per game.
Either Brad Stevens needs to give a guy like Phil Pressey or MarShon Brooks a chance to orchestrate the offense, or he needs to implement a share-the-load style offense to take the point guard role load off of Avery Bradley’s shoulders.
Pressey is a true point guard, and although undersized at 5’10”, he earned his spot on the Celtics roster by leading the team in assists throughout summer league action this past off season. MarShon Brooks, a clear score-first guard, may not be the answer for distribution, but if he can continue to build his reputation as a formidable scorer he could make up for the lack of assisted buckets.
Whether it’s through a new approach to distribution or Jeff Green being forceful with the rock for all four quarters, the Celtics have looming holes that keep them from winning games. If those holes aren’t closed tonight, the C’s will have a tough time keeping the Utah Jazz from scoring their first win of the season and leaving the Celtics alone in the cellar of the NBA standings.