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Performance improvement plans: Bus 1 Boys

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

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Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via 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!

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

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Luke Kornet
Department - Deep Bench
Role - Backup big

  • We appreciate that Luke has some physical limitations that dictate his skillset and are proud of him making do with what he is given. Luke has blossomed as a rim-running big on offense and often synergized with our top performers on pick-and-rolls. He’s even climbed into the 98th percentile as a pick and roll finisher. Great job, Luke!
  • We’d like to see Luke put more of his team-oriented focus into cleaning the glass. We know it’s not glamorous work, but at his size, he really should be doing a better job of it. He was second to last among centers in rebounds per 36 minutes on the team (behind our soon-to-be retiree), and dead last by a long distance in defensive rebounds per 36 minutes. We think this is some low hanging fruit that Luke could correct quickly and really help out the team.
  • We’d also like to see Luke get back to a skillset that he highlighted on his resume that could really be a value add: three-point shooting. We know he made the most 3s of any seven-footer ever in college, but Luke hasn’t brought that to the professional setting. We ask that he work with some of our in-house coaches to hone his craft. This could really open up his usefulness on offense and clear the lane for bench units. If you are unable to improve in either, preferably both, of these areas, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.

We hope you have a wonderful summer!

Atlanta Hawks v Boston Celtics Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Payton Pritchard
Department - Deep Bench
Role - Bench shooter

  • Payton was a valuable employee for the team for two years running but has hit some trouble this past fiscal year. We understand that the addition of several new employees in manager positions has pushed Payton down the pecking order, but that’s no excuse for the open displeasure he’s expressed publicly. We welcome Payton to reach out to HR offline and we can circle back on his public request. We hear there’s some openings in our Houston and Detroit offices he might be interested in.
  • We have very few complaints about his on the court effort. Every time Payton was asked to chip in on a project, he did an admirable job, even if it wasn’t always perfect.
  • If Payton isn’t transferred this summer, then we really need him to work on diversifying his offensive skillset. He’s overly reliant on solving problems offensively in one way: shooting 3s. We recommend that he focus on his pick-and-roll game. He’s already got a foundation of a go-to tool — the deep step-back (almost 40% from 25-29 feet this year!) — so if he could improve his ability to attack bigs or split hedges/traps, that could really be a weapon for him. Considering his defensive limitations, if Payton doesn’t add something to his offensive game, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.

We hope you have a wonderful summer!

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

Sam Hauser
Department - Bench rotation
Position - Wing shooter

  • Sam is still a relatively new addition to the team, but we are excited about what the future might hold for him. He established himself early in as proficient in some very important duties: making threes and holding up in isolation defense.
  • With that said, this year wasn’t without its challenges for Sam. He had the lowest rebound percentage of any non-guard on the team, and while we understand some of that is due to physical limitations, we’d really like to see Sam get better at boxing out and securing boards. We don’t think this is an effort issue, and hope with more experience Sam can read the play better and will position himself more appropriately.
  • Where Sam really needs to take the next step, however, is on the offensive end. We don’t expect him to compete with our top earners and go-getters, but Sam has several ways he could improve. We strongly recommend Sam spend many continuing professional education hours watching Duncan Robinson. Sam could really start using his shooting to open up lanes for himself, or to pump fake, relocate, and then fire a three. Like Robinson does in the video example we’ve provided below. It’s less about Sam acquiring new skills, and more about using the elite skill he has to make the game easier on himself. However, if Sam is unable to vary the ways he attacks on offense next year, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.

We hope you have a wonderful summer!

Boston Celtics Press Conference for Gallinari and Brogdon Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

Danilo Gallinari
Department - Bench rotation
Position - Wing scorer

  • We really missed Danilo this year! He was forced to take a yearlong medical leave of absence, but we hope he is able to return to the team soon.
  • There was a handsome 6’10” Italian sized hole on the team, we could have really benefitted from his unique isolation scoring abilities and knockdown shooting. Often when our top performer, Jayson Tatum, sat, the offense sputtered. We think Danilo could really assist in this regard.
  • If there’s one thing we want Danilo to work on before he comes back to the office, it’s trying to get back to 100%. We know he’s approaching the age where he’s calculating how much is saved up in the 401(k), so it’s absolutely imperative that he not let the injury end his career. Losing a step now could be the end of it, but we are here to help.

We are happy to refer Danilo to our in-house, crack medical team to help manage his return to work, and we can’t wait to touch base on the various touch points and pain points that Danilo can help resolve. However, if Danilo does not take his return seriously and/or has lost a step, we may be forced to engage in further discipline, up to and including termination.

We hope you have a wonderful summer!

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