Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November: Looking Ahead

     November is a tough month for the Celtics. They have already played the Spurs, Pacers and Wizards, winning 1 of 3. However, many would argue they should have beaten the Pacers who were playing in the 2nd of a back to back. However, that is in the past. We're looking ahead right?

    They play the following teams in November:

     11/10 @ Milwaukee
     11/11 vs. Pacers
     11/13 vs. Hawks
     11/15 @ Thunder
     11/16 @ Rockets
     11/18 vs. Mavericks
     11/20 vs. Nets
     11/22 @ Nets
     11/24 @ Hawks
     11/25 vs. 76ers
     11/27 vs. Wizards
     11/29 @ Magic
     11/30 @ Heat

     Ten of 11 teams they face in November were in the playoffs last year. Albeit one of them was the Nets who are off to a horrid start. They play 16 games in 30 Days, three back to backs and 12 of those 16 teams have a better than .500 record.

     I had tweeted last week that I would be happy with going .500 in November. Being objective, I think this is a positive outlook. Five of the remaining 13 games should be wins: Mavs, Nets Home and Home, the 76ers and Magic. I believe they could win the Wizards, Pacers and Milwaukee and Heat games. This would give them 9 wins in November. I would take that. What say you?

     However, I will be watching incredibly close to the Plus/Minus of our starters. In our first five games we were:

     76ers: -28 C's: +8 = Win
     Raptors: +32 C's: -40 = Loss
     Spurs: +1 C's: -11 = Loss
     Pacers: +23 C's 16 = Loss
     Wizards: -1 C's +25 = Win

      Coincidence? I think Not!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Where's the Love?

     Jared Sullinger, 21st overall pick of the 2012 NBA draft to the Celtics. Much hullabaloo was made about this pick, the Celtics included. Doc Rivers was quoted that before flagged medically for a back issue, he would have been in the Top 5. They saw great promise in this PF out of Ohio State. They were willing to take the risk vs. reward.

     In the 2012-2013 season, after appearing in forty-five games in his rookie campaign, was side lined for the year when he underwent back surgery to repair a lumbar disk. This however, was something of a known inevitability. He made a complete recovery.

    In his second season, 2013-2014, he played in 74 of 82 games, starting forty-four, increasing his per game statistics in rebounding, assists, blocks, points, free throw and 3pt field goal percentage.

    Last year, in his third season, he played in 58 of 82 games, starting in forty-nine of them. His statistics either remained consistent or improved across the board until he fell victim to a broken foot in February of 2015. Shortly thereafter, articles surfaced that Jared was facing a heavy burden, notably his weight. Danny Ainge, President of Basketball Operations openly criticized Jared for his lack of conditioning. The status was he would be out for the remainder of the season and they wanted Jared to commit to a conditioning schedule coming into this season.

     However, the Celtics behind a remarkable 24-16 second half run, made the playoffs. And who did they play during these playoffs? He played all 4 games averaging 20 minutes, and a 21.6 PER (Player Efficiency Rating) which rates the players per minute production which was 6 points higher than the league average of 15.

     Fast forward to this preseason where he was the 6th big man on the depth chart, on the outside, looking in, to get playing time. Boston media recently brought up the C's not signing Sully to an extension and he replied that he will just continue to prove the doubters wrong which he said even included family members.
     Five games into the season he is 1st among the Celtics Big man in minutes, rebounds, assists, blocks, Field goal percentage and shots made behind the arc.

     So, I say, "Where is the Love for the Big man?"

     He has incredibly soft hands, unbelievable rebounding instincts, great body control and seems to be a genuinely nice guy. I personally think the Celtics push on the weight issue because they envision him being a cornerstone to their future. And although he is on a torrid pace right now and may level off a bit, he is definitely trending upward and on pace to have his best season as a pro yet. This will bode well for the C's chances making the playoffs.

     Here is to Sully having a career year, staying healthy, going deep into the playoffs and remaining a Celtic for a long time.

     In the meantime, give Sully some Love. He's earned it. And enjoy watching him prove all the doubters wrong.


Saturday, November 7, 2015


      This C's team hasn't gotten much air time anywhere, even locally. Why? No Drama. I mean how do you talk about a team that has no unrealistic expectations set and many National outlets have praised Coach Stevens in their polls. Their top player rated in the NBA is their 6th man, Isaiah Thomas. Most believe they will make a modest improvement from last year. (I have them winning 50 games.)There are no egregious acts by the players, team or owner that media loves to hook their teeth into. There seems to be a bunch of good character guys putting their team first. So, what do we talk about? Isaiah being a starter? No. Danny explained why they feel he works best off the bench on Toucher & Rich radio show and I agree.

       Back in the preseason, someone asked Abby Chin Since there was no Rondo #headbandwatch what the replacement was? She responded the #kohairwatch (Kelly Olynyk Hair Watch.) That resonated with me and I have been fixated ever since, hence this blog post: #KOHairWatch.

       Olynyk has played four of the five games. The only one he missed was serving his one game suspension for apparently (I say apparently because I didn't think it was intentional) injuring Kevin Love last year in the first round of the playoffs. Conveniently, he has alternated each game with one of two hairstyles: The man Bun and The Hair Band. So, now and going forward, I will give you an update on Kelly's play as it pertains to the hair style that he chooses pregame.

       Over four games he has been solid averaging a +8 while on the floor, 10pts. 4.5 boards, 1 Block, 1.5 steals and 1.5 TO over 17 minutes of playing time off the bench. However, while wearing the Hair Band, he has been en fuego. He has shot .500 from the field, .375 from beyond the arc, a ridiculous +35 on the floor, while pulling down 14 boards, and logging 5 steals.

       It will be interesting if he wears his hair in a ponytail as per his alternating theme. However, the Hair Band may be the right play.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Plus-minus (+-)

     Basketball has a curious plus-minus stat which basically states: Plus-minus measures the point differential for the team when the player is on the court, which is the difference in the points scored for and the points scored against.

      In the first game, against the 76ers the Celtics starters were a +8, against the Raptors, they were a -40 and against the Spurs, the starters were a collective -11. The +8 is skewed against the 76ers because Marcus Smart was a +22 by himself, so that means the other 4 starters were a collective -14. The only team we defeated was, you guessed it, the 76ers who had a plus-minus of  -28 among their starters.

     This makes one ponder whether or not Stevens should tinker with the Starting five. Maybe Olynyk or Johnson could start in favor of Zeller at the 5. Maybe Turner or Jonas could start at the 3 for Crowder? I have blogged before how I believe Turner could be more valuable among the starters. I believe him and Thomas in the same back court doesn't do much for the C's. Also, Isaiah Thomas plays some horrendous D. Maybe having another solid defender like Crowder on the floor at the same time could make up for Isaiah's glaring deficiency on D. It puts a lot of responsibility on Amir to play his guy and Isaiah's.

     Last year, Turner played a lot of point forward out of necessity and I think he should do it again. I am not saying to be the defacto point guard. However, he could bring it up, alternating with Smart to give some different looks and allowing him to create shots which he does well.

     Something has to give because as we are right now, our starters living on the wrong side of +- is going to have us end up on the wrong side of the Win-Loss column.