On this episode of the First to the Floor podcast, Jake and Ben breakdown the blowout in Phoenix, discuss the steadily improving defense, and, most importantly, look at some stats that show just how incredible the Celtics have been this season.
Stat: Derrick White’s true shooting percentage is 62.1%.
We already knew Derrick White was a straight up hooper. Even after joining a team that was still healing from being forced to play with Dennis Schroder for 40+ games, he came in and showed his elite defense and offensive IQ. More importantly, he showed he played nothing like Dennis Schroder.
Still, if you asked Celtics fans what the one knock on White was, and it’s a big one, it would be his shooting. Well, all the man does is go ahead and put up a career high TS% (his rookie year with 17 games notwithstanding) while splashing threes at 40%. A guy that’s an elite defensive player and has no weaknesses on offense? I guess it makes sense the Celtics are about 11.5 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court.
The Real Big Three
The big three lineup of Brogdon-Tatum-Kornet has played 81 minutes together.— Wayne Spooney (@WSpooney) December 8, 2022
THEY'RE A +29.3 NET RATING!
I feel dumb for doubting Luke.
The most talented Big Three that’s ever existed? Almost certainly. In actuality, BIG is an acronym representing the threesome of Kornet, Brogdon, and Tatum. Kornet is the B, for Big, Brogdon the I for Intelligent (takes two minutes for a UVA guy to mention it, almost as bad as those people who “went to school in Cambridge”), and Tatum is the G for Great at basketball.
I had two worries going into this season: the third big spot and how Brogdon would fit into a team with a clear hierarchy that made the NBA Finals last year. As usual, I’m an idiot. These three are obliterating teams when they play together. Eighty-one minutes isn’t a massive sample, but it’s BIG (get it) enough to understand there’s something going on when the bench hits the floor with Tatum.
Absurd Offensive Versatility
Stat: The Celtics are top-10 in efficiency in 9 of the 11 play types tracked by NBA.com.
NBA.com tracks how offenses score via play type. The Celtics are top-10 in the following nine of them (added the old ranking in there, too). I know I said that twice, but I felt it bared repeating:
Transition - 7th
Pick and Roll: Ball Handler - 4th
Pick and Roll: Roll Man - 10th (wait until Rob gets back though)
Spot up - 1st
Handoffs - 8th
Cuts - 7th
Off-screens - 1st
Putbacks - 1st (wait until Rob gets back though . . . wait)
Misc. - 9th (I also have no clue what this is, but we are top-10. Hang the banner!)
The only two the Celtics aren’t top-10 in efficiency in? The two least ball-movey play types around: isolations and post ups. We’ve started to see teams bump us off ball and switch more in an effort to get us out of some of this beautiful ball movement. The problem? The Celtics can just give the ball to Tatum who is individually in the 71st percentile on isolation efficiency and 97th on post ups. How do you stop this team!?
A Jaylen Brown Two-fer
Stat 1: Jaylen Brown is shooting 84% from the line, easily a career high.
Stat 2: The Celtics have a +7.9 net rating when Jaylen Brown is on the floor without Jayson Tatum.
The first stat is obvious, but if you are like me, it might just be your favorite stat in this whole piece and maybe the podcast.
The second stat might just be the most important one though. For years the Celtics have vacillated between getting pummeled or barely keeping their head above water when Jayson Tatum sits, no matter who remains on the court. Even last year, the C’s were just a slight tick into the positives at a +1.54 net rating when Jaylen played with Jayson. It’s a huge boon to this team that Jaylen can keep the C’s rolling when Tatum sits either mid-game or on a scheduled rest day. Jaylen just continues to ascend, and the numbers are right there along with him. And just for fun, the Celtics are -27.3 per 100 possessions when both of them sit. Safe to say they are pretty important.
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