In this episode, Jake and I engage in some good old fashion complaining about the effort against the short-manned Suns, and then move to a new segment that we’ve done before but never given a name now called “How Worried Should We Be?” Jake developed a highly mathematical scale where we put a number between 1 and “Ben Simmons on his way to the rim” (or really anything to do with Ben Simmons) to help evaluate just how worried we are about a particular Celtics trend.
The Cold Shooting
The Celtics have shot 30% or worse from beyond the arc thirteen times this season. They are 5-8 in those games. That’s actually a little better than anticipated. You drop that number to 27% and it’s 2-5 in seven games. A cold shooting night in January isn’t that big of a deal. Even a few cold shooting nights in January isn’t that big of a deal. The issue is if they have four cold shooting nights in a playoff series. This team is 2nd in defense over the last 15 games, and I expect that to remain pretty consistent with Robert Williams back. What will sink them in the playoffs is if the shots don’t drop. They’ve been better at finding ways to win when they aren’t, but that gets all the more difficult in the playoffs.
Jake Worry Level - 2
Spoon Worry Level - 5
The Lack of Effort
You know it when you see it, and we got a front row seat to it during the first half of the Suns game, perhaps the worst quarter of Celtics basketball this season — lazy pullup threes, one or zero pass offensive possessions, getting battered on the glass, blowing switches, and getting backdoor cut. These aren’t skill issues; they are effort and give-a-crap issues. This team pretty consistently plays down to its competition — if only for a half — but they’ve also shown they can turn it up in big games. Thankfully, every game in the playoffs is a big game, and I expect things to look more like the Nets game than the Suns game during them.
Jake Worry Level - 2.5
Spoon Worry Level - 2
I won’t shy away from it: Grant Williams has not looked good recently. In fact, to quote every single English speaker in the world, he’s looked “bad.” Once flirting with a 50/40/90 season, his FG% has plummeted over the last 15 games. He’s shooting 40% from the floor over that span, but still with a still solid 37.5% from 3. He just can’t do anything other than shoot 3s, and he’s allowed defensive contests to run him off the line far too easily. On the other side of the ball, he’s slipped defensively, unable to consistently stay in front of guards and wings and getting worked by centers. With the trade deadline approaching, there’s been a lot of chatter around the fanbase about moving on.
I was much lower than Jake on the Ben Simmons Trademark Worry Meter, and here’s why. Progression isn’t linear. Players have peaks and valleys on the road to realizing their potential, and Grant is in the midst of a valley. He’s added responsibility this season and tried to spread his wings off the bounce to mixed results. Teams have adjusted to his shooting, so now it’s up to him to do the same. I still believe!
Jake Worry Level - 9 (almost a full Simmons!)
Spoon Worry Level - 5
Hope you enjoy the episode and let us know in the comments where you are at on the Ben Simmons Trademark Worry Metter. Thanks for listening and please subscribe to the CelticsBlog podcast feed and the First to the Floor YouTube channel!