Through a ¼ of the season, the Celtics are 10-10 and things haven’t gone exactly according to plan to start the year. They’ve had some good performances, some really bad performances, and a lot of head scratching wondering what is wrong with this team. Here are my grades for every player on the roster and how they’ve contributed so far this season. I’m listing the players back to front, starting from the 14th man on the roster, and going all the way up to #1. Keep in mind, these are grades relative to their expected/actual roles, not a rankings of the best players on the team. Note: This does not include stats from tonight’s game in New Orleans, only the first 20 games.
5 games 6.2 mpg 3.2 ppg 0.6 rpg 0.8 apg 0.2 spg 45.5/33.3/83.3 Shooting
We haven’t seen much of Wanamaker early. There haven’t been many blow outs and Brad doesn’t seem to trust Brad (Bradception) in non-garbage time situations. In very limited minutes, he’s hit a few shots but has done nothing to receive a good or bad rating so I settled on a B-.
Robert Williams: B+
6 games 3.8 mpg 1.5 ppg 1.2 rpg 0.2 apg 0.7 bpg 100(4-4)/0/50
In even more limited minutes than Wanamaker, Bob has actually done some good things out there. He’s shown his ability to rim-run as well as his ability to block shots. His wingspan is ginormous and he can jump out of the gym. The one thing with Williams is that this will take some time. He seems a bit slow picking up new things and the gameplan will take a bit to process fully, but once he really settles in, I think he could log some actual minutes later on in the season.
Guerschon Yabusele: C+
10 games 4.0 mpg 1.8 ppg 0.6 rpg 0.3 apg 31.3/16.7/50
Yabu has been the Yabu we all know and love to start the year. He shows flashes of being able to take his game to the next level but hasn’t put any of it together yet. He’s been abysmal shooting from the floor and has the second worst offensive rating (81.4) on the team. Although he’s been poor on offense, his defensive rating is third on the Celtics (89.4) and he’s looked solid setting screens and rolling hard to the basket.
Semi Ojeleye: B-
13 games 1 start 10.8 mpg 2.5 ppg 1.6 rpg 0.1 apg 40.6/23.5/42.9
While Semi is an absolute liability on offense, his defense is second best in terms of rating (89.3) on the team. That’s always been his calling card and even got him a start in a win against Giannis and the Bucks earlier in the season. His shooting needed to improve from last year and so far it’s even worse (32% to 23.5%). While it’s still early and he could improve, so far, the jumpshot and overall offensive performance of Semi has been a disappointment in year 2.
Daniel Theis: B+
11 games 11.2 mpg 5.1 ppg 2.6 rpg 0.5 apg 0.4 bpg 61/42.9/42.9
After a big performance on 10/27 against Detroit where Theis had 17 points and 8 boards on 7-9 shooting in just 19 minutes, he had to sit out 6 games with plantar fasciitis. Since then, he’s been doing what he did all of last year. Finish at the rim, protect the rim without fouling, and stretch the floor when possible. He is simultaneously the leader on the Green in defensive rating (84) and net rating (14.5) as he has been a menace on the defensive end.
Aron Baynes: A-
17 games 4 starts 14.4 mpg 5.8 ppg 4.4 rpg 1.3 apg 0.6 bpg 40.5/33.3/88.5
Our favorite Aussie has been really solid on both ends for the Celtics. He’s been knocking down his threes and really been spacing the floor nicely. He’s also been setting some great screens as he has 52 screen assists and averages 7.7 screen assists per 36 minutes which ranks third in the entire NBA. He’s one of the best screeners in the game and has played such a big part in getting guys open. On defense, he’s top 5 in defensive rating and has even contributed by taking 6 charges (6th in the NBA). He’s doing all he can on both ends and I’ve loved his effort thus far.
Terry Rozier: C-
20 games 1 start 22.6 mpg 7.9 ppg 4 rpg 2.1 apg 0.7 spg 36/35.2/70.8
For as much as I love Terry, he’s been brutal to start the year. A contract year, sporadic play, and inconsistent minutes have all led to Terry’s detriment. He still looks like he is forcing it and I think he’s trying way too hard at times. He’s been taking difficult shots and they haven’t been falling. He’s shooting poorly from the floor and this shows in his offensive rating of 96.9 which is 4th worst on the team. Combined with his 36% FG percentage (second to last on the team) and you have your reasoning for my grade of a C-.
Marcus Smart: B+
20 games 23.2 mpg 6.4 ppg 2.7 rpg 3.9 apg 1.3 spg 0.5 bpg 37.6/30.6/76.9
While his offense (like it has always been), is frustrating to deal with and makes absolutely no sense at times, Smart’s been solid. Hes doing what he’s good at and it’s been working for the Celts off the bench. He’s wrecking havoc on defense averaging 1.3 steals overall and 2.0 per 36 minutes. His 3-point percentage is actually at the second highest rate it’s been in his career (This is good; I guess? It is still only 30.6% but, maybe?). He’s also been a key facilitator of the offense as he is second on the team in assists (3.9), behind Kyrie. He acts as a secondary floor general and defensive stalwart off of the bench and I think he’s done just that this season.
Marcus Morris: A+
19 games 2 starts 26.2 mpg 13.6 ppg 6.4 rpg 1.3 apg 0.6 spg 48.2/43.2/85
The only person on this team that has wildly outperformed my personal expectations. Marcus Morris has been fantastic all season long. He’s shot the lights out ranking 3rd on the team in FG%, 1st in 3PT%, and 3rd in FT%. He also boasts a 106 offensive rating which ranks second on the team. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Mook, this record the Celtics have right now could be a whole lot worse. Early in the year, he’s hit some big shots (Most notably against the Thunder) and has been one of the only reliable players on the team.
Jaylen Brown: D+
19 games 19 starts 28.1 mpg 11.1 ppg 4.1 rpg 1.3 apg 0.6 spg/bpg 39.8/25.3/62.2
Now we get into the starters and even more disappointment. Jaylen, like a lot of his teammates, has been abysmal shooting the basketball. After improving to 39.5% last year from three he’s taken a huge step back. It isn’t great when your overall shooting percentage (39.8%) is just slightly better than what your 3PT% mark was from a year before. He has the worst net rating on the team (if you don’t count Williams, Wanamaker, and Yabu) at -2.3 and has looked lost at times. For a guy expected to make another leap in his third season, it’s been a rocky road. I always preach that he needs to play aggressively and go to the basket. His shooting splits back this up as it’s clear he should be taking more shots in the paint, and less midrange/three point shots.
Gordon Hayward: D
18 games 15 starts 26.9 mpg 10.3 ppg 5.5 rpg 3.2 apg 1.3 spg 40/28.6/85
This whole season, on top of the Celtics being bad, has been about how Gordon Hayward has looked after his recovery. To be short, it hasn’t been pretty, as it’s evident he isn’t comfortable yet. He constantly looks petrified to go anywhere near the basket and refuses to go all the way to the hoop on fast-breaks. This needs to change and maybe a recent role flip to the bench will help his confidence. His shooting splits speak for themselves. For a career 44.3/36.5/85 shooter the splits are concerning. Everything looks slow in his game and time is ticking in regards to how long he has to regain this speed back.
Jayson Tatum: B-
20 games 20 starts 31.8 mpg 16.2 ppg 6.6 rpg 2.1 apg 1 spg 0.6 bpg 44.3/40.2/82.6
He’s had some hot stretches, and he’s had some bad stretches. All in all, he’s taken responsibility to be the second option for this team scoring wise behind Kyrie. He’s scored over 20 points in 8 games out of 20 and is starting to really put it together offensively. He has the 3rd highest offensive rating (104.4) on the team and is solid on the defensive end. The reasoning for this grade is the fact that his shooting has been poor to start the year. He takes 6.9 of his 13.1 shots per game from 5-24 feet and has went a combined 48-139 (34.5%) on such shots. So basically he’s taking a bunch of midrange jumpers and not making any of them. He’s either hitting threes or making a layup/dunk. He hasn’t been efficient and that needs to improve, which will in turn inflate his numbers even more. Ok, but not perfect for the second year pro to begin his sophomore campaign.
Al Horford: B-
19 games 19 starts 29.9 mpg 11.5 ppg 6.4 rpg 3.5 apg 0.7 spg 1.7 bpg 46.8/32.4/65.4
Al has been his usual self and he’s been doing a little bit of everything for this team. He’s facilitated, rebounded, and has given the Celtics some scoring while playing his usual defense. Looking at where he ranks in regards to the rest of the team in many statistical categories he’s right in the middle for basically everything. He’s been Average Al (I hate that nickname but it’s applicable here) as his defensive rating is down at 103.4 (11th on the roster). His shooting splits are downright awful as he’s been a liability shooting from three. Another thing that’s concerning is the 65.4% from the free throw line. He needs to get his jumper together and give this team more than just average, they need great.
Kyrie Irving: A-
19 games 19 starts 32.3 mpg 21.7 ppg 4.9 rpg 6.2 apg 1.7 spg 0.6 bpg 47.5/36.9/82.1
Last but not least, Mr. Kyrie Irving. He’s been unbelievable thus far and the only reason he doesn’t have an A is due to his slow start for the first 6 games (14 ppg 39.1/24.1/69.2). Other than that he’s been incredible, even better than he was last season. He doesn’t look to have lost a step after his surgery and looks as dominant as ever on the offensive end. Since his slow start (and haircut) he’s been a polar opposite. Averaging 25.3 ppg 4.9 rpg 6.5 apg and 2.2 spg on 50.4/40.9/86 he’s been a man on a mission with some signature performances as well. His 43-point outburst against the Raptors was one of the most electrifying Kyrie games I’ve ever seen. He’s carried this team on his back at times this season. He’s showing his worth after fans wondered if he was expendable since the Celtics made it to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, without him (Yes, people actually thought this, wild, I know). The Celtics wouldn’t be anywhere without him, and he has delivered in a big way thus far in his second season in Celtic green. Get a gist of his great play from one of his better week stretches to start the season.
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