This afternoon, I was discussing with a fellow NBA enthusiast, why the Celtic's are struggling. I won't name any names but I will say this, the gentleman is no Celtic's fan, in fact, he despises them (he is a Sixers fan). However, the question came up "What is wrong? Why is the team struggling on what has always been their core strength?"
I refuse this answer. I do not think a few players could decline that terribly much on defense. So what is it?
On paper, we all know this team looks good, it has got depth, the ability to play small or big. So what possibly could be the issue? Well, let us start with the team needs more time proposal. The team has had a month together in preseason and in training camp. Now this could be the issue, this may be why there are some issues, but it can not be the sole reason. Why? Because during pre-season, the team did not look this out of place and did not struggle this much on defense. That throws out the not enough time together issue, however, another issue has been pointed out. Is it the rotation issue? This could be valid. However, again, I do not believe it is enough. I think with the two reasons previously mentioned, we have stumbled upon the issue.
My view of the problem is rotations, not Doc's line up rotations, but defensive rotations. I was watching the Bobcats today while they played Indiana. I saw a Bobcats team that rotated perfectly, the Bobcat big would rotate to get the penetrating Indiana guard off of a Pick & Roll, than the Bobcat guard would rotate to help with the Indiana big. It was all a perfect symbiotic relationship. It was also surprising to see the Bobcats doing so well on defense, doing what the Celtics should have been doing.
What is happening with the Celtic's is this (From what I see): The opposing team Guard penetrates off a Pick & Roll, our Celtic big (KG or Bass) will rotate to stop the penetration, than Celtic guard (Lee or Terry typically were doing this) would sag off and ignore the opposing teams big man. This would leave the opposing teams big (Chris Bosh or Tobias Harris) a perfect lane to dunk or score. The Celtic big would rotate and do their job, while the Celtic guard would either not rotate and double the guard or sag off the guard.
What I just mentioned happened for the first half, which is why the Celtics didn't get blown out that bad by the end of each half. The second half is where it became serious. The opposing guards would penetrate, and the Celtic big would not rotate. Why rotate to stop the penetrating guard if you are only going to leave your man wide open? This is what happened time and time again. This allowed Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings to shred the Celtic's defense. Courtney Lee and Jason Terry would get burned time and time again (Dwayne Wade did the same basic thing while playing Miami).
These issues could be caused by the Celtic's not being used to their rotations. This could be caused by the team not being able to "Gel" yet. It could also be caused by the team not communicating. It could also simply be that the team does not trust each other. I do not think we will get to learn what the issue is, but whatever it is, it is not that the team is poor at defending.
As always, feel free to throw in what you think it is. It is always enjoyable to see other peoples views and reactions. So far, this is my popular thought, I have not found any evidence to prove otherwise. Keep it clean & respectful please.