A rough start has managed to turn into a work of art over time, as the Boston Celtics have played their way into being legitimate threats in this year’s Eastern Conference race.
Frequently finding themselves below the .500 mark in the win-loss department throughout the first few months of the regular season, the C’s now boast a winning record of 34-26, placing them sixth in the conference standings and just four wins behind the top-seeded Miami Heat.
Just a few weeks back, it would have been rather hard to describe Boston as being actual contenders in the upcoming playoff race, but their mid-season turnaround has been an absolute gem to watch, and leading this flip of the switch surge has been the team’s core-four players in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams III, and Marcus Smart.
Their production thus far into the season has actually been so high to the point where, whether it’s Smart or the Time Lord serving as the third-cog alongside the team’s star wings, the Boston Celtics find themselves rolling out the best Big-3 in the entire NBA.
Well, according to Bleacher Report’s metrics anyway.
Out of five total teams analyzed that still have their talented trios intact post the All-Star break, when putting a large emphasis on the net rating accumulated by each three-man unit ( Plus-13.9 in 693 minutes), coupled with their records (22-12, 64.7 W% when a Big-3 plays), writer, Greg Swartz, came to the conclusion that, no matter which way one wishes to dice it up, the shamrocks have the top group in the association:
"Tatum and Brown, who should absolutely not be split up any time soon, have destroyed opponents no matter who they share the floor with. Smart gives this duo a bulldog of a defender and willing playmaker who’s looking to make his eighth playoff appearance in eight years in Boston.Swapping out Smart for Williams is even more of a boost for Boston, with Tatum, Brown and Williams beating opponents by a whopping 19.5 points per 100 possessions in 715 total minutes.Derrick White should also blend beautifully with Tatum and Brown, bringing a similar skill set to Smart as a terrific backcourt defender and passer.With a 9-1 record in their last 10 games and finally moving up to the No. 6 seed in the East, Boston’s Big 3 (any variation) is getting hot at the right time.While a trio of Tatum, Brown and Smart may carry the overall star power of some others on this list, they have been the most successful Big 3 thus far this season."
To start off his article, Swartz stated that over the past decade, “NBA championships have largely been built on the back of Big 3s” which, being the boys in green have the top trio in 2021-22, should be quite a nice thing for the franchise’s faithful followers to read.
With the fact that we still have roughly two more months to get through before the playoffs even begin, at this point in time it’s truly difficult to place bets on whether or not the Boston Celtics can attain banner No. 18 by year’s end even with the league’s best Big-3.
That being said, what does seem like a safe bet is that, during this final stretch of the season, fans have a lot to look forward to.