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HomeFan EngagementTurning one thing into one thing: three expertise three Celtics can get...

Turning one thing into one thing: three expertise three Celtics can get even higher at

A lot is fabricated from gamers including new expertise and turning strengths into weaknesses within the offseason. For good motive, new expertise are the lifeblood of participant growth. They flip G-Leaguers into position gamers, position gamers into starters, and starters into stars. However generally it is simply as essential to hone what you’re already good at, to disregard all conventional conference and switch good into gooder.

Each participant on the roster can get higher at one thing, however I’m going to deal with three essential Celtics: Derrick White, Jayson Tatum, and Robert Williams.

Derrick White’s head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes

Derrick White shot 31.2% from three within the 21-22 season. That feels nearly impossibly low given what he did final 12 months. White rose from the ashes like a chunk of ash blown by the wind (nothing else ever really rises from ashes) and shot a solidly above common 38% on about 5 threes per recreation in 22-23.

That’s profession trajectory altering enchancment. It removes the arduous ceiling {that a} lack of capturing places on any NBA level guard. It’s additionally a bit deceptive as a result of within the 12 months prior he shot 34.6%. Nonetheless a far cry from 38%, however rather more respectable than 21-22. One might chalk it as much as pattern sizes or getting extra open photographs, however because it usually is with White, it’s greater than that. Derrick White put within the work. To place it phrases that my favourite gravel-munching, exhaust pipe-smoking, worm-enjoying English supervisor would perceive, Derrick White “ran the arduous yards.”

I exploit a operating metaphor for a really particular motive: Derrick White fastened his legs. White’s drawback wasn’t his prime half, though he shot the ball a bit of low and has corrected that as effectively (I believe, it’s form of arduous to inform). It was the inconsistency in his takeoff on each soar shot actually holding him again.

Now, he’s sq., he’s balanced, and he has a pleasant repeatable little bunny hop each time he shoots it. To place it in phrases my 2-year-old might recite however not perceive, White’s obtained his head, shoulders, knees, and toes lined up appropriately on each shot irrespective of the spot.

The thrilling half is that this was Yr Considered one of Derrick White’s new soar shot. It’s very seemingly that as he will get extra accustomed to the shape, his accuracy will solely enhance. As his belief within the shot grows, so will his confidence, which solely feeds into better enchancment, a symbiotic relationship like pistol shrimps and gobies or human and sofa. I don’t know the place Derrick White’s capturing is headed, however I can let you know one factor: he would possibly by no means miss once more (or he’ll a minimum of shoot 40%).

Jayson Tatum goes full Giannis (in a great way, not in a “I’ll by no means make a free throw manner”)

After I consider one of the best rim finishers within the NBA, my thoughts nearly by no means heads in direction of Jayson Tatum. This shouldn’t be that stunning as a result of I’m boring of wit, however additionally it is partially on account of Tatum’s regular progress as a finisher, versus some one-year soar that smacks you within the face. Yr over 12 months, he’s gotten to the rim extra usually and completed at a greater charge, with 22-23 being each his most correct season since he grew to become the #1 possibility with the very best quantity.

Solely 13 gamers tried seven or extra discipline objectives per recreation from 4 toes or much less. Tatum can rely himself as one (and Jaylen Brown, too). Whereas his 66.0% is tenth on that checklist in FG%, there may be practically as massive of a niche between him and eleventh (Anthony Edwards 60.9%) as between him and 1st (Joel Embiid 73.0%).

Excessive quantity rim attacking is a invaluable ability even in the event you aren’t notably good at it. Tatum is approaching the high-volume territory at 7.3 FGAs per recreation whereas he’s concurrently approaching excessive effectivity. His rim attacking repertoire continues to develop. Importantly, his left-handed ending is miles higher than his youthful years (even with that medieval gauntlet he calls a wrist brace on).

Even with this enchancment, there’s nonetheless room for Tatum to develop actually and metaphorically. His body will fill out and his wrist will heal, however he additionally will work himself into enhancing on the rim. His contact will get higher with extra reps and extra apply. He’s nonetheless susceptible to getting knocked off steadiness by larger defenders and lacking some unthinkable bunnies, each of which he can principally clear up with age and expertise. Tatum won’t ever be Antetokounmpo on the rim, however he can get fairly shut.

The tragedy and triumph of the Dimelord

In a season lengthy, way back (a bit of over two years to be extra exact), there roamed a person that had unlocked his internal potential. He went from confused spasms of pace and energy to managed bursts. He was unshakeable.

He realized that he might fly.

Maybe most significantly, he realized share.

Throughout that 20-21 post-ASG stretch, Rob averaged 2.7 assists per recreation (4.4 per 36 minutes) with a 17.0% help share. It was a magical time for the Dimelord believers. After which, as is the case usually with Rob, he obtained harm. He needed to rehab within the offseason, unable to hone his skillset, and we’ve but to see that model of Rob once more. He confirmed flashes below Udoka, averaging a really respectable 2.0 assists per recreation (2.4 per 36) with a 9.5% help share.

Flashes in all probability isn’t dramatic sufficient for what Rob’s passing is able to, they’re extra like photo voltaic flares. It’s sudden, extraordinarily vivid, and possesses a surreal high quality that makes you a bit not sure what you simply witnessed.

What even is that final move in opposition to the Suns? He’s a middle! The issue is since that fateful put up All-Star break run, Rob’s passing stats have steadily been declining, with final season being the nadir. His assists per 36 minutes fell to his lowest mark since his rookie season alongside along with his help share.

In contrast to Tatum and White the place you’ll be able to anticipate them persevering with to hone expertise which can be on the upswing, Rob’s passing is on the other trajectory. But it surely’s not like he’s immediately unable to learn the ground or pick a move, Rob’s points are past his expertise. They’re about his position within the offense.

Simply to be clear, I don’t blame Joe Mazzulla for not profiting from Rob’s passing final season. He was thrust into the top coach’s seat proper earlier than the season began and the offense clicked instantly, with out Robert Williams. By the point Rob got here again, he waffled between totally wholesome and banged up, unable to faucet into the full-blown Timelord expertise on both finish. Mazzulla didn’t use Rob any in a different way than Udoka, he simply obtained a extra injured model, therefore the slight dip in numbers.

Rob actually isn’t ever going to be Nikola Jokic, however his passing may be leveraged to make him a extra harmful offensive weapon. It simply must be executed deliberately, and he’s ok at it that it may add one other dimension to the Celtics’ assault. As a substitute of getting Rob chilling within the dunker spot or rolling all the way in which to the rim, hit him on the brief roll the place he can pick guys in numerous spots.

I’d additionally wish to see Rob get some appears within the excessive put up and even above the break with off-ball actions operating round him. Mazzulla ought to let him make choices. It appears lovely when it’s executed accurately, and once more, he’s good at it. There’s no motive to not lean into this sort of stuff extra.

It will get one of the best out of Rob and the group when they’re flying off screens, hitting backdoor cuts, and producing catch and shoot nook threes. The story of Robert Williams is considered one of peaks and valleys, however the ending is a great distance away. Let’s hope the subsequent chapter is the return of the Dimelord.



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