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Summer development wish list (Roundtable for new authors)

We asked our new authors what skills they would like to see players and coaches develop over the summer

NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

We have a whopping 6 new writers to the CelticsBlog team! Give them a warm welcome in the comments below. To kick things off with them, we wanted to do a quick roundtable discussion. Here’s the topic that we picked:

What skill would you like a player (or coach) to develop over the summer? (You can’t pick Jaylen learning how to dribble left, that’s too easy)

Guy DePlacido

I would love for Robert Williams to gain confidence in his jump shot. We’ve seen him, sparingly, hit baseline jumpers as the shot clock expires and we’ve seen him hit free throws at a consistent level. His form is there but he lacks the confidence to take the shot consistently. Working with his shooting coach Aaron Miller might be the breaking point to that glass ceiling.

Sam LaFrance

I’d like to see Malcolm Brogdon re-develop some vision while on the drive. When Brogdon joined the Celtics last summer, the thought by many fans was that the team would be adding another playmaker. That wasn’t the case. Instead, the former Rookie of the Year became Sixth Man of the Year by putting scoring first. His assist average dropped by 2.2 per game as he took on the new role off the bench. That’s all fine, but he could be even more effective if he dished the ball off on more of his drives. Especially playing alongside Robert Williams III and now Kristaps Porzingis.

Mark Aboyoun

I’d like to see Payton Pritchard increase his defensive activity. With Marcus Smart and Grant Williams off the team, the Celtics on paper got worse defensively. If Pritchard wants to be in the 8-9 man rotation he’ll have to show he’s not a liability on the defensive end. Smaller guards tend to struggle to defend at the pro level due to their size, but he can make up for his lack of size by being more active. Drawing more charges and getting into the passing lane will help Pritchard stay on the floor. He’s had two of the best defensive guards in Derrick White and Smart to learn from and in Smart’s absence it’s the perfect time to step up defensively.

Noa Dalzell

I’d like to see both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown settling for fewer three-pointers. Both players shot a career-low from three in the 2022-23 season, while taking a career-high number of attempts. Tatum hit just 35% of 9.3 attempts per game, and particularly struggled from the top of the key, converting on just 28.9% of 190 shots on the season. Brown hit 33.5% of 7.3 attempts per game, and was least efficient from the corners (24.2% from right corner, 33.3% from left). Part of this (somewhat) poor shooting is the result of a three-pointer reliant offense that head coach Joe Mazzula consistently preached. But, at many points throughout the season, Tatum and Brown settled for difficult, contested threes, particularly when the offense was stagnant. It’d be great to see them both continuing to leverage their unique athleticism and ability to finish around the rim, and not be so reliant on the three ball.

Ben Dupont

Derrick White was statistically very impressive last season at the point guard position. With Marcus Smart now in Memphis, though, the burden of unlocking Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis will be placed largely on his shoulders. One way he can do that better is by improving his pick-and-roll offense. Smart is a very productive pick-and-roll player who can operate effectively as both a roll man and a ball handler. White could stand to improve in both roles. Using Smart as a roller was key to getting Tatum and Brown into rhythm last season, particularly in the playoffs. When the stars take over ball handling, White’s screening and rolling will be key. As a ball handler himself, White could be more confident making reads in the pick and roll. Coming off of screens, he tends to turn the ball over too much, or get stuck in the paint. The good news is that – with the addition of Porzingis – almost everyone White will play with is an elite roller.

Sara Jane Gamelli

I would like to see Head Coach, Joe Mazzulla get more comfortable in the Celtics organization, and on the floor. Mazzulla is extremely intense and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals in his first year as Interim head coach. Previously an assistant, by mid-February, he was named head coach, and received an extension by GM, Brad Stevens. Head Coach Mazzulla led the Cs to a 57-25 record, which was second best in the East. Celtics fans expressed their displeasure with the C’s leader, after his time management in the Game 4 loss against the 76ers, in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Mazzulla took a lot of criticism, following Boston’s 103-84 Game 7 loss against the Miami Heat. The Celtics shot just 9-42, and every player on the roster struggled. Boston has high expectations headed into the 2023-2024 season, and I would like to see Coach Mazzulla have a better plan for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, including smart plays in crucial possessions, and time management. His ability to coach the Big 3 and utilize Kristaps Portzingis in this offense will be key.

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