In this episode, Ben, Jake, and I lament the lost opportunity of the Utah game and provide some positivity. I even tried to do the impossible and defend Joe Mazzulla. What we had the most fun doing though was another round of Celtics Would You Rather. The premise is simple: you’re presented with two scenarios, they could be good things or bad, and you choose which you would prefer.
Would you rather have Jayon Tatum start shooting 37% on pull-up threes or have a Marcus Smart that’s always 100% in control?
Starting off with a tough one. Tatum has been sub-30% on pull-up threes basically all season, which was once his primary form of offense. He still occasionally gets in rhythm, and when he does, he’s unstoppable. If you could guarantee he’s elite on pull-ups, he’d launch himself back into the MVP conversation.
Marcus Smart has many wonderful qualities. Court vision, switchability, and a sneaky good post game, but he also sometimes does stuff like this:
I often think the complaints about his shot selection are somewhat overblown, but they aren’t totally unfounded. Imagine you harness all of the great things about Smart and eliminate some of the more questionable stuff he does — awfully tempting.
Verdict: Give me Tatum shooting 37% on pull-ups.
Would you rather guarantee that Rob is healthy for the rest of the season/playoffs or guarantee that every player other than Rob is healthy for the rest of the season/playoffs?
This one looks pretty obvious on its face. The initial instinct is to guarantee the Timelord is manipulating the space-time continuum all through the playoffs. But, guaranteeing both Jays, Al, Smart, and Brogdon are completely healthy for a full playoff run is tremendously valuable. You still might get healthy Rob, but that’s obviously far from a sure thing and he’s clearly the biggest health risk of any of those guys. Either way, this team probably needs full health to win a championship.
Verdict: Healthy Rob.
Would you rather Jaylen makes All-NBA or not?
From a purely fandom standpoint, I’d imagine most Celtics fans want JB to make an All-NBA team. It would mean a lot to him and he’s certainly deserving. It would also allow us to pay him more than anyone else in free agency, all but guaranteeing he sticks around for his next contract. And after those comments he made today that didn’t exactly laud the virtues of Boston, I can’t blame anyone for hoping we can give Jaylen as much money as possible to keep him around.
The one holdup is that the Celtics are already deep into tax territory. If you pay Jaylen the supermax, that just drives you deeper and deeper into the luxury tax. If you’re confident he’s coming back even without the supermax, then the best thing from a team building standpoint is that he doesn’t make All-NBA and he’s on a normal max making a paltry 50-ish million a year. Given that the cap is due to jump right after he signs his deal, that could be tens of millions in savings and ensure the Cs can continue to build a team around the Jays.
Verdict: It ain’t my money. Go get that All-NBA nod, Jaylen.
Would you rather have a Derrick White always play in crunch time or Grant gets his defensive form back?
Much has been made about Derrick White not playing enough, especially in the fourth quarter, often thanks to friend of the podcast, Chris Forsberg.
Derrick White played zero minutes in the fourth quarter tonight.— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) March 19, 2023
Derrick White is obviously awesome, and Grant has struggled, even still, their fourth quarter net ratings tell an unexpected story.
I generally agree with the criticism of Mazzulla that Derrick White should play in crunch time more, but it's worth noting that the C's have a -0.1 net rating with him ON and a +1.8 net when he's OFF in 4th quarters. 444 and 420 mins respectively. Grant is +5.1 on -2.6 off— Wayne Spooney (@WSpooney) March 20, 2023
The Celtics are MUCH better with Grant in the fourth than Derrick for some reason. There’s probably some noise around garbage time here, but the numbers largely don’t lie as the samples are pretty significant at this point in the season. Now if you add Grant’s peak defense into the mix and the fact that Derrick won’t always be the perfect matchup? I think it’s a fairly easy one.
Verdict: Give me peak Grant. Hopefully he comes around by playoffs.
Lobster Roll or Clam Chowder?
This is impossible and largely seasonal for me. Summer? Lobster roll and it’s not close. Winter? Clam chowder and it’s not close. There’s just something particularly cozy about having some warm chowder on a cold New England evening.
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