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Mailbag answers: Great offense, nicknames, and destiny

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Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

You know the drill by now. I asked for mailbag questions, you provided them! Here are my answers. Hope you enjoy.


Question 1: What is the single most surprising thing about our early success this season?

(Waives a hand in the direction of the offense)

Seriously, I expected this team to be good, but the way they are good is surprising. I figured they’d be very good defensively and a little better offensively. Instead they are a wagon on offense and started off kind of slow on defense (picking up more lately). Which is what you get into in your 2nd question...

Question 2: How much of our offensive efficiency do you credit to Joe Mazzula? Seems to me the entire identity of the Celtics has shifted, from defensive juggernaut to offensive juggernaut. How does that happen to a team that went all the way to the Finals while hanging their hats on the defensive end? Is this something that just happened, or was it Joe, putting his stamp on the team?

I clearly didn’t factor in the kind of improvements several of the players made in their own games. Obviously Tatum took another step, but so did Grant, and Smart, and White. Then there’s the new guys. Brogdon we knew would help. Hauser and Kornet have been better than we could have hoped. So I put a lot of it on the players.

With that said, Mazzulla has them playing fast, he’s got them moving the ball (starting with the stars), and he’s clearly letting them play (sometimes to a fault). I think he should get a lot of credit for the way the offense has gelled.


Last season, some people wanted to consider bringing Al Horford off the bench to preserve him. Should those same people be suggesting bringing Robert Williams off the bench if they want to be consistent?

Interesting thought. Perhaps at first, in order to ease him back into shape and to be conservative with his knees. I’m up for anything that preserves him at this point. In addition, I could make a case that playing the double big lineup isn’t as necessary when we have so many guard weapons. So you may see Joe stagger our bigs more than we did last year.

With all that said, if Robert is fully healthy, I don’t see any issue starting him and watching his minutes. Whatever works best for him.


We should talk about Jayson Tatum’s missing piece, as great as he is, he has a glaring weakness that there is really no excuse for. He has no left hand around the basket. Its so obvious every game. We need to make this a story and hope it gets his attention.

About that...

Side note: Congrats, your bit got you into a mailbag. Can we think of something else now?


What do you think Sam Hauser’s official nickname should be? I am on record as being a fan of Sammy Swish, Sniper Sam, & Sir Samuel Swishalot. There are plenty of instant classics out there though, such as HausMoney, not to mention Eddie House’s campaign for 30-with-a-Scope. Is a single moniker even enough for a sharp shooter of Sam’s caliber? Is it too unorthodox to just scream a new nickname every time he puts the ball through the hoop, seamingly without even grazing the net? Should we just refer to him by his +/- rating at this point? How do we play this, Jeff? This is the kind of hard-hitting question I hope you prepared yourself for.

Excellent question that requires much deep meditation and research for me to adequately answer. Unfortunately I’m a lazy procrastinator, so you’ll have to accept this shoot from the hip response for now.

I like Hausermatic. Maybe not as a nickname, but just something to scream at the TV when the ball is in the air (because you already know it is going in).

I also approve of the idea of a new nickname every game. Reminds me of SportsCenter in the 90’s.


Will Grant give us any discount in the summer? We can promise to hang batsuit with his number on the rafters.

Nope. His agent would be negligent to give any kind of discount this summer. In fact, he should be looking to entice offers from other teams in any way possible. That doesn’t mean he’ll pull the “get me out of here at all costs” routine that some free agents pull. Just don’t be shocked when rumors start linking him to teams with cap space this summer.

The good news is that the Celtics have the right to match. So there’s still a great chance that he’ll still be in green next season and beyond.


One thing I have appreciated about GM Brad Stevens is his willingness to shuffle players 11-17. Now I really like our two way players and don’t see us loosing them unless someone really likes Davison in a trade. Vonleh and Jackson contracts don’t become fully guaranteed until January 7. Vonleh in particular has fit in. Both fit as an experienced but still young to go with our core. Wing depth and Jackson’s impact seem to put him on the most likely to be cut. We do have the injury exception that gives us a bit more than the veterans minimum albeit at a large price. Any wings on the free agent market fit what we might need-length with shooting as Danny liked to say?

I would think that if there were any options that they liked better than Vonleh and Jackson that they would have picked them up in the offseason. Both are good guys to roll the dice on and see how they develop. I doubt there’s any urgency to make any moves at the moment.

Where you might see some movement is after the trade deadline. The Celtics could be in the market for buyout guys who are looking for a chance at playing in the Finals.


Who has the least consistent form/follow-thru on their jumper?

Tatum has the most exaggerated follow through - I love they way that shot looks.

What’s the best aspect of Sam Hauser’s defense?

Scal and Grande were joking about this last night. He gets targeted because of the way he looks. People go into isolation on him and find that he’s not as much of a pushover as he would appear. They force up something that isn’t a high percentage shot and more often than not it is a miss. Let’s call it the Billy Hoyle effect.

Do you think Kabengele will get any floor time with the Celtics this year?

Yes. I don’t know when, but it will happen at some point. Might only be garbage time on a night when Horford is getting rest and before Robert is back. Or maybe Vonleh will foul out in 5 minutes. Who knows.

What’s the latest news on Yam and Juhann?

I think Keith is keeping tabs on them. I haven’t been following along to be honest. Kind of like the stock market, I try not to track that kind of stuff too often.


I hate to be that guy but i gotta bring it up. We have to get the J’s minutes down. All i can think about is them wearing down in the finals last year. Is it too soon to be this worried about that?

No, it is never too soon to be worried about that. It is one of the few issues that people have with Mazzulla thus far. It is paying off with wins, but at some point I would hope we can find the Jay’s (and really all the starters) some longer breaks.


It’s a beautiful thing. No further questions.


Mitch’s Dad

Is this a “team of destiny”? They sure look like they have the “it” factor. Is there such a thing as a “team of destiny”?

To win the Championship you have to be very good and very lucky. Sometimes being very good makes you very lucky (good habits lead to good breaks). But there’s always an element of dumb, blind luck involved as well. Make of that what you will.

Also, it is a long season. You don’t win titles in November (but you can lose them). Let’s let this play out and enjoy the ride!


When we win the championship this year, do the 2-way players get rings?

I don’t see why not. The players typically decide who gets rings.

Stolid Citizen

Longtime Celtics fan who is delighted so far. Maybe this is the year.

Wonderful, thanks for joining!


Why does Celtics Blog allow clickbaity headlines like the Poeltl one?

Perhaps to get people to click them?

Seriously though, to me, it would be click-bait if it were misleading. Saying he was “linked” to the Celtics is legitimately what Windy was saying. That’s pretty soft “bait” if you ask me.

Sometimes it is fun to aggregate stories that aren’t really hard news, but a good topic for commenters to discuss. A storyline all year has been the lack of depth at center. There’s a good center potentially on the market. The Spurs and Celtics have made a deal in the last year. Windy brought up the Celtics and Spurs. That’s a topic to me, but to each his own.


With a desire to always upgrade the roster, where do you see upgrading needed and based on TPE’s and movable players what would you be willing to peel off the asset lists to improve the roster?

Ideally if we can upgrade without sacrificing rotation guys, we could always drop one of the deep bench guys. Then again, at some point you get too many guys looking to get minutes and you start messing with the chemistry.

Right now it seems like Kornet is a good enough stopgap at the center position and we’ll be set when Robert comes back. I wouldn’t mind more wing depth to give the Jay’s some time off. In theory you could use Pritchard to get some good value back, but I’ve really liked the energy and shooting he brings when we have injuries at the guard position.

At the moment, however, I’m very happy with the roster as it is. I’m not in any rush to fix what ain’t broken.

Thanks for the questions everyone! Enjoy this team!

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