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Performance improvement plans: the guards

After a disappointing season, it’s time to call in the last resort to fix the Celtics: human resources.

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are not your everyday employees, but I thought it might be kind of fun if someone wrote an article that treated them that way. All we’d need is someone who works professionally in the human resources world and has very little hobbies or interests outside of basketball and work. In other words, we need a boring corporate drone. That’s where I come in.

A performance improvement plan, if you are lucky enough to not know, is a tool (weapon) that HR uses to coach (threaten) an employee into better performance. It often identifies the employee’s weaknesses and gives helpful guidance (strict directions) on how the employee can improve (or else). It is with that background that I bring you the Fiscal Year 2024 Boston Celtics Performance Improvement Plans, complete with corporate jargon!

You can catch the performance improvement plans for the Bus 1 Boys here.

Writer’s note: these are written like a yearly evaluation; it came off too negative as a strict PIP. Bear with me here, people!

2023 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Malcolm Brogdon
Department - Bench rotation
Role - Sixth man

  • It’s great that Malcolm got recognized by our professional organization as the Sixth Man of the Year. Great job playing your role, Malcolm!
  • While Malcolm was great on an individual level last year, we aren’t sure the way he played is conducive to long-term team success. We like that Malcolm is a self-confident go-getter, but he needs to be more of a team player. Sometimes the best thing you can do is pass the ball and look for the open teammate.
  • We think Malcolm’s continued over reliance on self-reliance is a very fixable mistake, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that self-reliance and isolation in the workstation are issues for most of our team members. Malcolm has the talent — it really comes down to trust. He needs to do a better job delegating assignments to others, like open corner threes and dump-off passes, if he really wants to take the next step at Boston Basketball Inc. This past year was Malcolm’s lowest assist percentage and assists per 100 possessions since he was fresh out of college in Milwaukee. If Malcolm isn’t able to change his mindset and share his workload, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.

We hope you have a great summer!

2023 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Derrick White
Department - Starting lineup
Role - Combo guard

  • Derrick made 2nd All-Defense this season — what an achievement! We’d really like to see Derrick get a bit stronger so he can hold up against bigger wings like Mr. James Butler in the future. But overall great job, but there’s always room for improvement. Again, nice work, but don’t let it stop you from getting better!
  • We have discussed mindset with some of your co-workers that have a similar role, and like them, we think Derrick could really benefit from a slight change in mindset, but in the complete opposite direction. The one person who doesn’t realize how great Derrick White is at basketball is Derrick White. We want to see more of this:
  • Less of Deferring Derrick please. We don’t want pump-fake and pass Derrick; we want pump-fake and drive Derrick. If Derrick isn’t able to change his mindset and get more aggressive, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.
Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Seven Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Marcus Smart
Department - Starting lineup
Role - Point guard

  • This was an up and down year for Marcus. There were definitely some highs (career-high assist percentage, gold star!), but also some uncharacteristic lows. Marcus is our longest tenured team member, but it’s never too late to keep growing. Be sure to evaluate your Cliftonstrengths and keep a growth mindset.
  • One place where we’d like to see Marcus improve is something he’d regularly been elite at, defending in isolation. During the regular season, Marcus wasn’t just below average, he was dreadful in isolation. He was in the 16th percentile — that’s not good. Last year he was in the 94th percentile defending isolations, it’s no surprise Marcus was up for the DPoY last year. We think the fall-off is an amalgamation of issues that include injury and effort.
  • Marcus Smart sets the tone for our team with his effort. We want to get back to historic defensive levels next season, and Marcus is the key to doing so. We know the effort on the defensive end is still in there, he was in the 92nd percentile defending isolations in the playoffs, and we expect to see it all season next year. If we don’t, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.

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