Boston Celtics analyst sends strong message on Kristaps Porzingis's usage: 'Crunch-time weapon they don't use'

Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics
Memphis Grizzlies v Boston Celtics / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

Even on the precipice of a 60-win season, the Boston Celtics are still fielding questions about their offensive execution.

In the latest episode of his self-named podcast, Ringer founder Bill Simmons divulged that he thinks Joe Mazzulla is suppressing the team's best weapon.

"One of the things that stood out about the New Orleans game is that they went through Porzingis," Simmons said. The team was like, you know what? We should go through the 7"3 guy they don't have a matchup for. When they play through Porzingis, the other team panics—I don't know if they have figured that out yet or are saving it for the playoffs. Tatum and Brown dribbling 25 feet from the basket with everyone standing around is easy to stop—other teams are rooting for you to do that. Porzingis is the crunchtime weapon on this team they don't use."

Boston Celtics must turn to Kristaps Porzingis late in games

What Simmons preached is a sentiment I've shared for some time: the Boston Celtics are wildly predictable down the stretch in tight games. Any semblance of ball movement or creativity goes out the window and is reduced to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown chucking heavily contested shots.

The current strategy confines Kristaps Porzingis to the perimeter, turning him into a supercharged Rashard Lewis. While his outside shot is valuable, relying solely on him as a deep threat underutilizes his abilities. Putting him at the free throw line or down on the low block causes chaos and is the most effective play in the Celtics' arsenal. 

If teams send a double, the other four starters can all shoot or slash at an elite level, likely generating a quality shot or a trip to the charity stripe. If they dare to leave Porzingis on an island, he can post up or take his pattened free throw line jumper, one of the surest bets in the league. It puts fear in opponents and forces a level of pressure unmatched by the Jays playing hero ball. 

The notion that Joe Mazzulla will unleash all these ways to iron out late-game woes come playoff time baffles me. Reps are important, and it's hard to believe all these concerns will fix themselves at the most vulnerable point of the season. With this group of guys, any set involving ball movement should be impossible to stop, whether on tape or not.

The Celtics will likely have a few close games before the season ends, which should serve as learning opportunities on how to close teams out properly. Like so many of their problems, it's an easy fix. I'm hesitant to believe they magically figure it all out, but there's a massive, unicorn-sized billboard to remind them of a way to ease some of their troubles.