Just How Bad are the Celtics?

A Celtic diehard now for 46 years, I think I am able to take the downs as well as the ups. But the assessment of the current Celtics team by other diehards just seems absurd. This is a really bad team and I assume it will get worse before it gets much better.

Why do I say this? For this entry I will use Hollinger's PER stats to make several points. First, given 30 teams, there are 150 starters more or less; but with injuries et al the number is somewhat greater for total starters during a season. In any case, any team should want all of its starters to be at least ranked in the top 150 players -- even if they are concentrated in the lower 50 players of that total, as would be expected of a poor team. Second, it can be shown that even really, really bad teams have had no fewer than 3 players in the top 150 players in the league.

BUT THE CURRENT CELTICS DO NOT EVEN HAVE 3 PLAYERS WHO MAKE THE CUT BASED ON LAST YEARS NUMBERS. There must be massive improvement in performance for this team to even equal the PER status of Cleveland last year -- the team winning the number one draft pick.

Hollinger ranks the top 344 players by PER. Of the current Celtics roster, eleven players are included in the 344.

player PER rank

Rondo 57

Green 145

Humphries 182

Crawford 177

Brooks 186

Sullinger 187

Bass 226

Lee 244

Wallace 247

Bradley 314

Bogans 339

So, there are only two players who finished in the top 150 players -- and just barely. And based on PER, the Celtics best 5 man team is Rondo, Green, Humphries, Crawford and Brooks. Now there is a frightening prospect.

Now lets compare these numbers with those of Cleveland last year. These numbers strongly suggest that the Celts don't need to commit to "tanking," they have no choice.

Varejao 16

Irving 18

Thompson 111

Miles 133

Waiters 179

Of course Varejao was hurt much of the season; but even then Cleveland had at least 3 players who were above the 150 cut and Waiters was not all that far below. Of the team, only Boobie Gibson fell down into the dark waters where Celtic players like Bogans, Bradley and Wallace found themselves.

Now we all must admit that Philadelphia is artfully constructing a team that will work very hard to win even 10 games. Utah, Phoenix and Sacramento are not far behind. But I believe the Celtics will give them all a heck of run for the bottom. Go Celts.

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