Brad Stevens gets a lot of love for the offense he’s run since taking over the Boston Celtics. Like any great head coach, he also knows when to get out of the way.
For the first time in his tenure, Stevens has a reliable wing who can isolate and score in Jayson Tatum. His emergence as an All-Star and a one-on-one threat from anywhere on the floor has given Boston their go-to bucket getter when they need it. While the typical Stevens offensive system is based on movement, deception, and a spread of opportunity, he’s tinkered with more set plays and given break-off options for Tatum to utilize his strong isolation repertoire.
Tatum is one of ten NBA players with at least 200 isolation possessions this year according to Synergy Sports Tech. Of those ten, only James Harden, Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic are more efficient. He’s so good that he’s requiring the Celts to change their offense.
To thread the needle between iso-based and equal opportunity, Stevens is dialing up one-on-one calls for Tatum out of inbounds plays. On this week’s CelticsBlog Film Room episode, we’ll look at their play from a baseline inbound and how it provides great spacing around Tatum and even has some wrinkles to catch teams napping who over-anticipate the play:
Playbooks change on an annual basis, but concepts are more longstanding. The way the Celtics flatten out to the baseline around Tatum at the elbow is a long-time staple of NBA play. Their formation quickly and effectively enters to this concept while giving Tatum a consistent read.
Simple sets from Stevens, terrific work from Tatum, and two points for the Celtics.