Halfway through the regular season the Celtics find themselves 1st place in the Atlantic and 2nd in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors are 3 games back of the Celtics at the number 3 slot (number 2 spot in the Atlantic). They are currently 35-19 through 54 games, which puts them on pace to finish with an above 50-win record. The past month has proven the Celtics are an elite Eastern Conference team with their 15-5 record in their last 17.
Here’s a look at their midseason report card as they head into the All-Star break:
Demetrius Jackson, PG: 2.5 PPG/0.8 APG/1.0 RPG- With Boston’s strong backcourt, Jackson has seen a lot of time with the Maine Red Claws. The 6’1 point guard from Notre Dame has not played an NBA game since December 2nd, but he will soon transition into a good all-around NBA point guard.
Jordan Mickey, PF: 2.4 PPG/0.3 APG/1.9 RPG- Mickey has not played much since the return of Al Horford from his injury, but he made his first career start on Jan 11 against the Wizards. He usually only plays when there are major injuries to the Celtics’ lineup.
James Young, SG/SF: 1.3 PPG/0.3 APG/1.0 RPG- Young has missed a lot of time with his ankle injury, and hasn’t played very well this season. His poor defense and bad shooting is hurting his cause as even a bench player.
Extra Bench Players:
Tyler Zeller, C: 4.2 PPG/0.9 APG/2.9 RPG- Zeller has been a disappointment this year with his soft play around the basket, and illness. He only benefits the Celtics with his pick and roll game. Also, the Celtics have other solid big men such as, Horford, Olynyk, and Jerebko.
Terry Rozier, PG/SG: 5.6 PPG/1.6 APG/3.1 RPG- At the beginning of the season, Rozier was one of the first players off the bench. But now with the Celtics small ball lineup, Terry has not seen the court much due to Smart taking over the playmaking. Despite his limited minutes, he has shown good defense and athleticism. Look for him later in the season as the lineup shrinks to 9 men. He has a lot of potential, and I like where he’s going.
Gerald Green, SG/SF: 4.9 PPG/ 0.8 APG/ 1.9 RPG- Green has been playing exceptionally better over the last couple weeks, with 8 points in 12 minutes and 3 of 6 from 3-point line on Christmas Day. His shot-making ability is producing instant offense, and is exactly what the Celtics need. Look for him to knock away some of Rozier’s playing time as the season progresses.
Jaylen Brown, SF: 5.6 PPG/0.6 APG/2.5 RPG- The No. 3 overall pick out of California is averaging 13.7 minutes a game, 25th among all rookies. He has shown ups and downs all season, but I really like this guy. He is a strong finisher at the basket, and has a nice jumper. Brown is still developing, but expect to see him earn consistent minutes sooner or later.
Kelly Olynyk, C/PF: 8.7 PPG/1.9 APG/4.6 RPG- Olynyk has been very inconsistent this season, but when he’s on his game he has benefited the Celtics. When he’s on the court he opens it up for players like Thomas to drive. He has also been one of the Celtics best defensive players. At the beginning of the season he was shooting terrible, but now that his shoulder is healed he has been shooting much better.
Jonas Jerebko, PF: 4.4 PPG/0.9 APG/3.4 RPG- Jonas has by far been the Celtics most consistent big man. He is great coming off the bench, and even when he starts. He also, has a great shot, shooting 67% from 3-point land. Expect to see him on the court more as the season goes on.
Marcus Smart, PG/SG: 10 PPG/4.6 APG/3.8 RPG- Smart is the Celtics #1 player off the bench, and has become a dynamic part of their offense. He has replaced Rozier because of his great playmaking and ballhandling. Also, he has improved his shot greatly over the course of this year. And let’s not forget about his ability to guard 3 positions on the court. This has really helped the Celtics struggling defense. I like this guy and I expect him to keep getting good minutes.
Amir Johnson, PF/C: 6.4 PPG/1.7 APG/4.5 RPG- Johnson’s defense and hustle has helped the Celtics throughout the season. But this 10-year vet has had a big decline in minutes this year. This is because he is only “6’9” and has had to play up against much bigger opponents. Also, he has struggled to get rebounds. With all the big men on the Celtics, if Johnson doesn’t begin to get more boards his minutes could decline even more. As long as he keeps up his effort and hustle he’ll be fine.
Jae Crowder, SF: 14 PPG/2.2 APG/5.3 RPG- Crowder’s defense might have taken a big step back due to his ankle injury, but this guy can shoot. He is ninth in 3-point percentage, shooting 42.6% from downtown. This has played a huge role in the Celtics numbers behind the arc. They are 3rd in 3-point field goals taken and made. Not only is he money from 3, but inside the arc he is shooting 56%. Even though his defense has gone downhill, his offense has made up for it.
Al Horford, C/PF: 15 PPG/5.2 APG/6.9 RPG- Even though Horford is shooting well from three and passing well, he needs to rebound more! One of the reasons the Celtics brought him in was for rebounding. But the Celtics are last in the league in this category. He is really good at opening up the floor, and when he has an open 3 he’ll sink it. Also, the Celtics are much better when he is in the lineup. Once everything starts clicking, who knows what he can do.
Avery Bradley, SG: 17.7 PPG/2.4 APG/7.0 RPG- Bradley has been a huge asset to the Celtics this season. He has definitely been the Celtics best two-way player. As I said earlier, the Celtics are last in the league at rebounding, but Bradley has been amazing on the boards. I can’t imagine where the Celtics would be without his rebounding. Not only is he a great defender, he has a nice shot. If this All-Star caliber player can stop getting injured, he will keep playing a huge role on this team.
Isaiah Thomas, PG: 29.8 PPG/6.4 APG/2.7 RPG- Thomas has played amazing, to say the least. He cannot be stopped with the ball in his hands. He leads the East in scoring and has had a 52-point game this season! Thomas is amazing at getting to the rim, and laying it in. He is also a great shooter, shooting 45.9% from the field and 38.9% from 3. He struggles on defense but works hard to improve. This All-Star is also in the MVP race with Russell Westbrook and James Harden. His 4th quarter play is outstanding, and has consistently gotten the Celtics back into the game. He is without a doubt a top 5 PG.