A realistic goal for the Celtics? Lead the NBA in assists

It’s tempting to dissect and analyze preseason stats, however the truth is that almost all are reasonably meaningless.

For example, the Sacramento Kings are permitting an NBA-low 84.5 issues in keeping with recreation to this point. Chances are that would possibly not proceed. If it does, kudos to them.

There are some stats, then again, that no less than have the attainable to foreshadow a long term common season pattern. Preseason luck in a definite house for sure doesn’t ensure common season luck in that house, however it on occasion generally is a precursor for what’s to return.

One preseason stat this 12 months is especially intriguing. The Celtics are main the NBA through an important margin in assists in keeping with recreation (33). The subsequent closest crew is the Kings (banner or bust in Sacramento) at 29.5.

It’s necessary to notice that the Celtics have performed the Hornets two times, so those numbers is also slightly skewed. Even so, those self same Hornets led the NBA closing 12 months at 28.1 in keeping with recreation, so 33 is somewhat spectacular regardless.

So, will it proceed? Well, it will have to, as a result of the Celtics have the proper staff to be the best possible passing crew in the NBA. They completed 14th in assists closing 12 months, at 24.8 an evening, however their general ineptitude early in the season was once clearly tough to triumph over in that regard.

In the postseason, despite the fact that the quantity went down moderately to 24.5, that put them 5th general. Defense is best in the playoffs, so scoring and help numbers pass down naturally. The Celtics moved the ball extraordinarily smartly in the postseason – apart from for after they didn’t.

The subsequent query: does it actually topic what number of assists they get? As lengthy as they’re getting just right pictures, isn’t that sufficient? Well, roughly. The Celtics have the luxurious of turning to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to get them a bucket after they actually want one.

However, each avid gamers had stretches in the playoffs the place the Celtics counted on them an excessive amount of and so they coughed it up. Tatum and Brown are ready and prepared passers, and so they’re at their best possible when the ball is transferring fluidly.

The approach Celtics have zipped it round the perimeter, minimize, screened, and brought high-percentage pictures in the preseason has been very encouraging. Nearly 47 p.c in their pictures had been 3-pointers, which is the best mark in the league – simply above the Adelaide 36ers (don’t sleep on them both).

So, can a crew that shoots numerous 3’s and has two terrific isolation scorers lead the NBA in assists? Of direction it will probably. Malcolm Brogdon, Marcus Smart and Derrick White are all exceptional passers, and Payton Pritchard, Tatum, Brown, Grant Williams, Al Horford, Blake Griffin and Luke Kornet all move smartly for their function.

You may just make a case that every one ten of the ones avid gamers are above-average passers, and clearly Brogdon and Smart are elite. Sam Hauser doesn’t wish to move. He’s Sam bleepin’ Hauser. Everyone else in the rotation loves to stay the ball transferring, and Hauser can when he doesn’t have an perspective.

There’s a sound likelihood that Brogdon, Smart, White, Tatum and Brown may just all common greater than 4 assists in keeping with recreation. Let’s say Brogdon (6), Smart (6), White (4), Tatum (4), Brown (4), Horford (3), Pritchard (3) and everybody else (3) do their phase. Those are reasonably conservative numbers, and that’s 33 proper there. Even if some totals are slightly decrease, they might simply hit 28 or 29 and lead the league.

The days getting rid of the trash or creating a sandwich whilst Dennis Schröder dribbles aimlessly in circles are over. This Celtics crew is taking part in some exceptional offense via 3 preseason video games. Regardless of who is available in the market, the mindset is modest. Get out and run, and if it’s no longer there, paintings it round to seek out nice pictures.

The play underneath is a major instance. Brown is aware of conceptually that he shouldn’t attempt to do an excessive amount of when the double comes, however on occasion closing 12 months he fell for the entice. Here, he makes the easy play and unearths White. White attracts a double himself and swings it over to Hauser, who makes the uncontested layup – sorry 3-pointer.

Sure, it’s no longer precisely inspiring protection, however the concept stays the similar.

There will inevitably be instances the place the Celtics give the ball to Tatum and Brown and inform them to head get a bucket. The overwhelming majority of the time, even though, elite ball motion will have to be provide.

Keep a watch on the help quantity during the season. It would possibly function a barometer for how the crew is faring general.

This is a remarkably unselfish, balanced and poised staff. The Celtics are the best possible passing crew in the NBA on paper, and it’s as much as them to turn out it.

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