Celtics mid-season report

The Boston Celtics are 26-15, third in the Eastern Conference at the halfway point of the 2016-17 NBA regular season. Despite having a sketchy defense, Boston has found ways to win through the on-court leadership of Isaiah Thomas. "I.T." is running at a career-high efficiency clip, an unquestionable All-Star, with averages of 28.4 points, 6.1 assists per game while shooting 38% from three-point land.

Is it possible for the Celtics to be better NOW? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Isaiah is a winner.

The Boston Celtics, in our estimation, are about as good as they can presently be. While Isaiah Thomas has been a wizard offensively, the Celtics D leaves too much to be desired for them to win the NBA championship. Boston ranks 20th (of 30) in defensive rating, and Thomas has the worst defensive rating on the team.

If the above paragraph reads like a big downer, our apologies to Celtics fans. We try to be as objective as possible and the only conclusion we can come to is that Boston over achieved a bit in the first half with a 26-15 record. Certainly, they are a good team, and they should play for a chance to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

The addition of Al Horford has stabilized the pivot for Boston. Amir Johnson has been solid but he doesn't shoot a high enough volume of three point shots to be considered a consistent threat as a stretch four. Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley bring toughness to the Boston starting five.

The only way we think the Celtics could be better NOW is if they were to unload some of their second round picks (they have three in the 2017 NBA Draft), and say Jonas Jerebko or Kelly Olynyk or Amir Johnson to get a starting caliber, defensive minded player that can play the three and four spots.

Are the Celtics in touch with their reality?

Yes. The Celtics have the rights to swap 2017 first round draft picks with the Brooklyn Nets. If the season ended today and there were no surprises in the lottery that pick would be number one! At worst, the Celtics would be getting the fourth pick in what looks to be an excellent draft.

The Celtics also have their own first round pick, and the second round picks of the Timberwolves, L.A. Clippers, and the Cavaliers.

Bench play for the Celtics could be better but the C's are also developing players while winning. Marcus Smart (age 22) still has not shown that he can be efficient enough to take the next step in his career (going from bench to starter). Jaylen Brown (age 20), the Celtics first round draft pick (number three overall in 2017), hit just 31% of his three-point shots in the first half of the season.

Five most efficient by position

PG - Isaiah Thomas .722, SG - Avery Bradley .527, SF - Jae Crowder .489, PF - Amir Johnson .511, C Al Horford .620

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? (players w/ 300 minutes played minimum)

The Celtics TEAM defensive rating is 108.9 (20th of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Al Horford 107, and Kelly Olynyk 107.


NBA related. Trade targets.