Sports

The Celtics May Still Need More Depth To Win A Title

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens looks on prior to Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on May 19, 2022 in Miami, Florida.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

 

During the second half of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Boston Celtics were the hottest team in the league.

They held a 25-25 record in late January, but they caught fire from there, going 26-6 the rest of the way to finish 51-31 on the season.

Boston defeated the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs, then overcame the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in a dozen years.

It did all that despite key contributors such as Robert Williams III and Marcus Smart being banged up.

The Celtics lost the world championship to the Golden State Warriors, but they have upgraded this offseason by adding guard Malcolm Brogdon and sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari.

Many are now picking them to return to the Finals, if not win it all, next summer.

But if the Celtics truly want to solidify their chances of winning their 18th title, they will need to add some more functional depth.

 

Depth Was A Big Negative For Boston In The Finals

Last season, Boston was, for the most part, a two-horse gang offensively, and it got even worse in June.

During the championship series, Jaylen Brown played well much of the time, while Jayson Tatum, its best player, shot poorly in all but one of the six contests played.

But beyond that, save for a sensational Game 1 from Al Horford and a few good games from Smart, the Celtics lacked balance offensively.

It got even worse when one looks at what their bench gave them.

During the Finals, only one of their reserves (Derrick White) averaged at least five points per game or shot over 30.0 percent from 3-point land on a minimum of five 3-point attempts.

Gallinari is certainly going to help, as he boasts lifetime averages of 15.6 points in 29.9 minutes per game while shooting 38.2 percent from 3-point range.

He can come off the bench and give them some instant offense while making teams pay for keying on Tatum and Brown.

But he may not be enough.

White is a solid, young player, but during the regular season, his 3-point shooting percentage has been subpar and has varied from season to season.

Overall, Boston doesn’t have enough good 3-point shooting, as they ranked 14th in 3-point accuracy during the regular season.

 

One Existing Player Could Help

Grant Williams, a 6-foot-6, 236-pound forward, upped his game last season, shooting a career-high 41.1 percent from downtown and averaging 7.8 points in 24.4 minutes per game.

He has played mostly power forward, but if he can make the move to playing a lot more small forward while continuing to develop and expand his game, it would greatly help.

Small forward seems to be the spot in which the Celtics need more functional depth, as Gallinari plays mostly the 4 and Horford, their starting 4, slides over to the 5 when Robert Williams III is resting.

Plugging that hole at the backup 3 spot could be the difference between banner No. 18 and another Finals loss.




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