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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Boston Celtics

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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Boston Celtics

So, it turns out "Mr. PER" John Hollinger is putting up his updated player profiles for this year. I know many people want to look at them, but ESPN can be a real B- when they're putting up paywalls and shoving the benefits of insider in your face every other article. So, for sh*ts and giggles, also because I'm pulling my hair out waiting for Oct. 5 (Celtics vs. Fenerbach Ulker), I might as well post them here, for nbadraft.net and the whole internet to enjoy.

Celtics are up next, with the Spurs to come later tonight. This time I'll try and add pictures so it won't just be some wall of text.

- TomShoe

PROJECTED STARTERS

RAJON RONDO, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

12.8
4.9
12.3
17.2

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Long-armed, creative point guard who penetrates at will and sees the floor.
+ Erratic outside shooter but good short-range finisher. Terrible foul shooter.
+ Disruptive defender. Will over-gamble at times. Great rebounder for his size.

Analysis
One of the league's most unique players, Rondo is either great or horrible at nearly everything, producing wildly divergent viewpoints as to his overall value. In the same season, he was passed over in favor of Luol Deng for the All-Star team and named on eight MVP ballots.

The truth is somewhere in between. Rondo can create shots for others, but generating his own points remains problematic. He scored only 12.9 points per 40 minutes, placing him 52nd among point guards, and was also 52nd in true shooting percentage at a lowly 48.3. This is mainly because he doesn't generate 3-pointers or free throws: Rondo's 59.7 percent mark from the line was the worst of any point guard, and he made only 10 3-pointers the entire season. As a result, his secondary percentage was 68th out of 70 point guards.

Even his 2-point percentage (46.4) was nothing to write home about; Rondo made only 58.9 percent in the basket area and has done much better in other seasons. He hit 37.2 percent of his long 2s, so he's becoming almost respectable from that distance, but defenses still would much rather concede this shot than let Rondo penetrate.

Of course, his passing is what does most of the damage. Rondo finished second in the NBA in pure point rating; while his turnover ratio is higher than you'd prefer, it's tough to quibble with an assist every three minutes. As an added plus, he also ranked fourth among point guards in rebound rate.

The general consensus was that Rondo's defense slipped a bit last season, that he gambled too much and his effort wavered. While opposing point guards mustered just a 10.9 PER against him, Boston gave up more points with him on the court, and his foul rate was so low (barely one every 20 minutes) that it supported the idea that he was saving himself for the offensive end. His steals rate was also a career low, although still well above par for his position.

AVERY BRADLEY, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

13.6
3.4
2.7
10.6

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Elite perimeter defender. Excels at pressuring the ball and forcing turnovers.
+ Undersized for a 2 but not a point guard. Solid midrange shooter but lacks range.
+ Must improve left hand and cut turnovers. Good finisher. Poor rebounder.

Analysis
An already good Boston defense reached another level when Bradley took over as the starting shooting guard, and he looks to be a fixture for several seasons based on his suffocating ball pressure.

Bradley actually didn't have an unusually high steal rate, as he didn't take gambles off the ball, but on it he routinely devoured dribblers with his outstanding lateral quickness. Bradley had some of the best Synergy scores at his position and held opposing guards to barely double digit PERs; the Celtics also gave up 4.4 points per 100 possessions less with him on the court. Opposing 2s occasionally found success attacking him in the post, but even there he did a fairly solid job.

Of equal importance was Bradley's offensive development -- not great but good enough to play. Bradley made 41.3 percent of his long 2s and converted a very strong 65.3 percent at the basket; overall, his 2-point shooting percentage was eighth among shooting guards.

While he attempted only 54 3-pointers on the season, he made a respectable 22 of them. Bradley will need to refine his long-range shot and rely on it instead of all the 15-footers, as he ranked just 53rd out of 61 shooting guards in secondary percentage by taking mostly 2s and rarely drawing fouls.

Additionally, his ball skills need a lot of work. Boston didn't ask a ton of him offensively, but his turnover ratio still ranked 56th among shooting guards. That's not acceptable for a bit player, and if he's a subpar ball handler for a 2 (just 50th in pure point rating), it seems a long shot that he can become a functional point guard. On a positive note, he turns 22 in November and has a chance to improve substantially because he's already getting consistent minutes.

PAUL PIERCE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

20.3
6.2
4.9
17.8

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Multifaceted scoring threat who can pull up or drive to the basket. Draws fouls.
+ Excellent midrange shooter off the dribble. Can make spot-up 3s. Good handle.
+ Vastly underrated defender. Strong, tough and moves his feet.

Analysis
Pierce turns 35 in October and will likely begin showing signs of age at some point. We just don't know when that will be. Last season, he actually took on a much greater offensive load given the struggles of Boston's secondary players, ranking fourth among small forwards in usage rate, and it didn't seem to hurt him. Pierce's TS% dropped, understandably, but he still finished a solid eighth among small forwards in this category and belied his age by converting 64.8 percent at the rim. He also still draws fouls like nobody's business, ranking fourth in free throw rate at his position despite shooting mostly jumpers.

The biggest drawback was that he took a lot more long 2s under duress, making only 35.9 percent while shooting more than five a game. Pierce's 3-point game also slipped a bit (36.6 percent), again because he was hoisting more hot potatoes at the end of the shot clock. However, he wasn't just blind gunning -- he also finished in the top third of small forwards in assist ratio and pure point rating.

Defensively, Pierce remains one of the league's more underrated players, but his data wasn't quite as strong last season. Opposing small forwards had a 13.3 PER against him, but Boston gave up more points with him on the court and his Synergy rating, while strong, wasn't up to his usual standard. The addition of Avery Bradley should save him some wear at the defensive end, and he'll need it if he's going to take on such a large offensive role again. But against the bigger wings -- like that guy on Miami, for instance -- it's still Pierce getting the assignment.

BRANDON BASS, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.7
7.8
1.2
14.0

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Tough, strong but undersized big man with an accurate midrange jump shot.
+ Can be effective driving right and finishing. Rarely looks to pass.
+ Average at best defensively. Lacks length and has limited help awareness.

Analysis
Bass actually had a bad offensive season by his standards, but in one particular area he was stellar -- the guy is money on pick-and-pop jumpers. Bass made 48.1 percent of his shots from 10 to 23 feet and was one of just 20 players to take more than 400 shots from this range. Unfortunately, he shot better on jumpers than closer to the hoop, converting only 47.6 percent from inside 10 feet. He drew a decent number of fouls for a jump shooter and provided solid, reasonably efficient scoring, but he's done better in previous seasons.

Bass still rarely passes once he catches it, ranking 59th out of 70 power forwards in assist ratio, but last season he significantly cut down on his turnovers. That's the one benefit of shooting so many long 2s off the catch -- it's tough to lose the ball when it's in your possession for only half a second.

Defensively, Bass had some of the highest Synergy ratings in the NBA last season, but subjective observation and other metrics fail to back that up. The Celtics gave up more points with him on the court than off of it, and opposing power forwards had a 13.7 PER against him -- solid but hardly exceptional given the elite defensive team surrounding him. He's tough and he's become much sharper situationally than when he first got to Orlando, but it's hard to rate him as more than a midtier defender at this spot.

KEVIN GARNETT, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

17.3
9.9
3.3
17.0

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Intense, long, slender big man who excels in help defense. Strong leader.
+ Mostly shoots midrange jumps. Rarely posts up. Excellent passer.
+ Good handle for his size. Has struggled with knee problems. Plays very hard.

Analysis
When Garnett finished the first month of the season, he couldn't jump and was noticeably dragging his leg. But as the year went on, he turned into the KG of old, abetted by a midseason shift to center. His season-ending stats were nearly the same as the year before, although he continued his drift to the perimeter. Nearly two-thirds of his shots were beyond 10 feet, and he converted an excellent 45.9 percent of them. However, Garnett took advantage of his length, especially in the playoffs -- he went to the post much more often for short-range turnarounds and showed he can still be extremely effective from that spot.

Garnett also remains an exquisite passer from the high post, ranking sixth among power forwards in pure point rating. All told, he has the stats of a much shorter player, but that's partially due to dragging opposing bigs out to the perimeter.

Meanwhile, his defense is elite -- nobody defends the pick-and-roll better. Only four players had a better Synergy rating, and his regularized adjusted plus-minus was better than all but five players. He was 12th in the league in defensive rebound rate, although he rarely contests the offensive boards anymore, and in the playoffs his presence was especially palpable. Boston gave up a 25.1 points per 100 possessions more when he was off the court, according to basketballvalue.com.

Garnett is re-signed for three more seasons, and while his minutes are likely to be restricted to the high 20s to keep him fresh for the postseason, he remains a hugely impactful player at both ends. Given his length, intensity and skill for his size, that should remain the case for as long as his knees can hold up.

RESERVES

JASON TERRY, G

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

16.7
2.8
4.3
13.8

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Fast combo guard with deadly midrange jump shot, especially going right.
+ Not a true point guard but capable of creating off the dribble. Abysmal rebounder.
+ Lacks size and strength on defense but has fast hands. Better in cross-matches.

Analysis
Terry has become an ageless wonder, still putting up numbers as an undersized 2-guard thanks to his devastating accuracy with the jump shot. Terry shot 42.1 percent on 2s beyond 10 feet and 37.8 percent on 3s, with the latter accounting for nearly half of his shots. As a result, he averaged nearly a point every two minutes with a solid TS% even though he virtually never gets to the rim.

The biggest negative, offensively, is that Terry's turnover ratio keeps climbing. A jump shooter shouldn't be in the bottom half of shooting guards in turnover ratio, but Terry was last season.
Fewest Fouls Per 40 minutes, 2011-12

Player
Team
Fouls/40 min.

Steve Nash
Phx
1.08

Jason Terry
Dal
1.38

Joe Johnson
Atl
1.41

Tayshaun Prince
Det
1.48

Brandon Rush
GS
1.49

Min. 500 minutes

Nonetheless, his primary shortcoming is at the defensive end. Terry has to cross-match defensively and check the opposing point guard, but quicker players can get by him and bigger ones play right over the top. His rebound rates are among the worst in basketball, although he doesn't foul -- only Steve Nash was whistled less often last season (see chart). Boston's personnel should allow Terry to keep cross-matching, and if so he'll continue to be very effective in his sixth man role.

COURTNEY LEE, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.5
3.8
2.1
12.1

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Athletic wing who plays solid defense. Deadly corner 3-point shooter.
+ Limited ball skills but a good leaper and finisher. Mediocre shooter off the bounce.
+ Shies away from contact on drives and rarely draws fouls. Rarely goes left.

Analysis
A classic role-playing wing on paper, Lee has had trouble making good on the theory. Lee has shot better than 40 percent on 3s in consecutive seasons, and the only question is why he doesn't do it more. Over the past two seasons, barely a third of his shots have been 3-point attempts -- a poor rate for such an effective sniper. Lee likes to take a bounce inside the line for 2s but isn't nearly as effective from that range, making only 36.5 percent of his long 2s last season and 36.7 percent the year before.

As a result, even though he makes 3s and shoots well at the rim for a player of this ilk (62.6 percent, mostly on fast-break finishes), his TS% of 53.4 was exactly at the league average for shooting guards, and his PER was firmly in Backupville. He has the talent to do more if he focuses on his best skills.

Defensively, it's a similar story -- Lee has an excellent reputation but only middling results. Last season, the Rockets didn't fare any better with him on the court, even though he was usually replacing Kevin Martin. Synergy actually rated him below the league average at his position, and the numbers weren't any better the year before.

So we're left with a conundrum. On past performance, Boston overpaid. But given his skill set, he offers the promise of a high-50s TS% and above-average defense -- a player like that would be hugely valuable.

JEFF GREEN, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ Combo forward who can handle the ball and post up against smaller players.
+ Subpar outside shooter. Good finisher in transition. Not an elite athlete.
+ Was destroyed by post-up 4s. Solid wing defender against 3s.

Analysis
Green didn't play at all last season after having heart surgery. In the four seasons prior, he had done nothing to prove he was more than a passable combo forward off the bench. As a result, the Celtics gave him more money than Kevin Garnett.

While the four-year, $36 million contract he signed this offseason boggles the mind, Green does have some uses. Just not the ways Oklahoma City used him. Green was a train wreck as a face-up 4, shooting under 30 percent on 3s in consecutive seasons, getting torn apart by post players and rebounding like a wing.

As a wing, however, there's the hope that his size will become an advantage, and that he can take some smaller 3s on the block with his jump hook. Meanwhile, his defensive stats as a 3 in his few games as a Celtic in 2010-11 were vastly superior to his results as a 4 in Oklahoma City. The hope is he can provide another big wing to guard the likes of LeBron James in the playoffs, but it's not clear whom the Celtics thought they were bidding against with this deal.

JARED SULLINGER, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ Powerful 4 with a wide base. Low-post scorer with good midrange touch.
+ Physical rebounder. Plays below rim. Not a great athlete. Back injury a concern.

Analysis
Just on basketball, Sullinger should have been a higher pick. He's not going to be a great defensive player, but offensively he's a bull who may average a double-double at some point. He dominated the paint in his two years at Ohio State, and while he'll have to prove he can get baskets against size, he'll also have a lot more pick-and-pop chances than he did in college. Basically, he projects as a better version of Brandon Bass.

Alas, his back freaked out teams enough that he fell to No. 21. Sullinger may need surgery at some point, and his conditioning and athleticism were already worrisome at the next level.

FAB MELO, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ Outstanding shot-blocker with ideal size and length for a center.
+ Poor rebounder for his size. Lacks offensive feel. Iffy hands and limited range.

Analysis
A Brazilian import, Melo had the best shot-blocking rate of any draftee with two eyebrows, and that's the primary reason Boston invested a first-round pick. He's fairly old for a first-rounder at 22, but given his delayed development, there's hope he can add a few more offensive elements to his repertoire. He's not a terrible foul shooter and his assist/turnover rates at Syracuse were a lot better than that of many other centers, so he's not irredeemable at that end.

More worrisome were his pedestrian board numbers, especially defensively, where his 14.3 schedule-adjusted rebound rate was embarrassing for a 7-footer. (Comparison: He had the same mark as Missouri's 6-foot-3 shooting guard Marcus Denmon.) Melo will need to grab a few more boards to help what is already among the league's most rebound-challenged teams.

KEYON DOOLING, G

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

10.1
2.3
3.7
7.2

(Stats are per 40 minutes)

Scouting report
+ Quick combo guard who is a strong defender at both guard spots.
+ Decent spot-up shooter but struggles off the dribble. Lacks handle to create shots.
+ Weak finisher at the rim. Not a point guard. Terrible rebounder.

Analysis
Dooling had his moments, especially in Boston's playoff run. But all told it was tough to justify keeping him on the court with such anemic production -- he finished last among point guards in PER. Half his shots were 3s, but he only made 33.3 percent, and his production was otherwise miniscule. He averaged only 11 points and three assists per 40 minutes, and among point guards, he had the eighth-worst assist ratio and seventh-worst pure point rating.

Dooling also had the single worst rebound rate in basketball, retrieving only 3.5 percent of missed shots -- his third straight season in that range -- to narrowly outpace Jimmer Fredette and Raja Bell (see chart). He also had the third-lowest rate of steals at his position.
Worst Rebound Rate, 2011-12

Player
Team
Rebound Rate

Keyon Dooling
Bos
3.47

Jimmer Fredette
Sac
3.53

Raja Bell
Uta
3.53

Devin Harris
Uta
3.69

Steve Blake
LAL
3.84

Min. 500 minutes

Defensively, Dooling has issues and wasn't particularly good at this end last season. The Celtics gave up 8.5 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court, and Synergy rated him as Boston's worst defender. I'd describe him more as average than bad -- he's lost athleticism, but he competes and matches up fairly well against the shorter scoring guards. Still, it was a bit of a surprise to see Boston bring him back.

JASON COLLINS, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ Elite low-post defender who stymies big centers with size and smarts.
+ Physical. Great at drawing offensive fouls. Awful rebounder. Ponderously slow.
+ Horrid finisher. No handle or post game. Will occasionally make a 12-footer.

Analysis
Collins hardly played until the Hawks dusted him off for the playoffs, where he played impressive defense and did shockingly little else. Collins averaged just 5.1 points per 40 minutes, shot 40 percent, rebounded like a guard and had nearly as many fouls as points.

That's a D-League résumé, and not a particularly good one. But one skill offset all those negatives: Synergy rated Collins as the best defender on the Hawks and one of the best in the league. He doesn't look like he's doing much, but he's big, knows exactly where to be and excels at taking charges. He also fouls with abandon and can't stay on the court long, but he can still be helpful in the right matchup.

CHRIS WILCOX, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ High-leaping finisher who excels as a pick-and-roll dive man. Poor shooter.
+ Subpar defensive player who lacks intensity and strength. Fouls often.
+ No post game. Weak ball handler. Solid rebounder at both ends.

Analysis
Wilcox played 28 games before a heart problem unexpectedly ended his season, and while he predictably declined from his Fluke Rule campaign of a year earlier, he still showed he can be a high-percentage finisher by converting 59.8 percent from the floor. Wilcox's rebound rate dipped, however, and his turnover ratio nearly doubled.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign was that he showed more defensive resistance than in previous stops. While the Celtics played better with him off the court and opposing bigs had a 17.2 PER against him, his attention and physicality went up a notch from what we'd seen in previous years. Wilcox is only 29, so he should be able to come back and contribute as a decent rotation player, especially at his more natural 4 spot. However, his inability to space the floor is always going to limit his court time.

KRIS JOSEPH, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season

Scouting report
+ Athletic, hustling 3 with limited offensive skills. Midrange shooter.
+ Decent handle for his size. Average rebounder. Needs to add strength.

Analysis
A late second-round pick, Joseph's best shot at sticking is to play the energizer role with his defense and leaping ability. Short of that, it's not obvious what he brings to the table. Despite his reputation as a leaper, his block and rebound rates were ordinary. He's nothing special as a shooter or scorer, either, and at 23 he's quite old for a rookie. Boston has had a love affair with the "athletic hustling wing that can't play offense" archetype dating back to Orien Greene and has made it work on occasion (most recently with Avery Bradley). But I'd be surprised if Joseph sticks.


Bostonkings
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Joined: 06/28/2012
Posts: 163
Points: 291
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Very good read! Makes alot of

Very good read! Makes alot of sense! This sums up the Celtics quite well. Can't wait to see more of these posts and can't wait till the damn season starts!!!

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