Three concerning Celtics stats halfway through the season

When you’re an NBA-best 31-12 and rank in the top five in both offense and defense, there isn’t much to be concerned about. Such is the case for the Boston Celtics.

The green jerseys are gliding through the regular season, responding to offseason controversy and turmoil with such strong cohesion on both sides of the ball that you have to ponder how much coaching really matters in the NBA.

But, all teams have so many points. As good as the Celtics are, they are not immune to weaknesses.

Having said that, here are three concerning statistics for the Boston Celtics halfway through the 2022-23 season.

Jaylen Brown: high usage, high turnover rate

Brown’s ball-handling has improved since the Finals, when he was a live-ball turnover waiting to happen every time he dribbled. Still, his turnover rate of 12.5% ​​ranks worse than that of 62% of the NBA’s wings, according to Cleaning The Glass. That turnover rate is not necessarily a huge concern if you’re an average-to-low-usage role player, and it’s something of an inevitable expectation for the unqualified star in a heliocentric offense.

But, it’s a touch concerning for a second star and secondary ball-handler. Brown will never be a high-level point guard for others. He might have some room left to go as a ball-handler. But, it is fair to wonder how Brown’s improvement of him as a dribbler will translate to a best-of-seven playoff series.

Additionally, there will be times, particularly in the playoffs, when Jayson Tatum dominates for three quarters and runs out of gas down the stretch, unable to crack the inside or leaving his jumpers short. When that happens, the ball will be in Brown’s hands, and you have to wonder how those possessions end.

Brown is a super athlete capable of attacking the rim on a straight line and spiking the rock through the hoop with authority. He’s more than capable of pulling up into 17-footers over multiple possessions in a sequence. The star wing can knock down threes. But, when Brown is tasked with putting the ball on the floor and getting creative with his own shot against a playoff defense, it’s fair to have questions. Such is especially fair game when considering that playoff defenses are going to be studying his tendencies for days on end throughout a series.

It may only be a problem a handful of times per game. But, it takes less than a handful of mistakes to lose a game.

Both Tatum and Brown are below average from beyond the arc

It’s not a huge concern considering how good they’ve both been on long twos. It’s also fair to wonder how locked in either star is on a night-to-night basis as their team looks down at the other 29 teams in the standings in the middle of January.

But, postseason defenses will game plan to try to take their sweet spots away as series go on. And as the playoffs continue and fatigue sets in, wing players will inevitably start to tire of wrestling for position at their sweet spots and start to space out to the perimeter if they’re comfortable three-point shooters.

If the Celtics find their two highest-usage players doing that and the threes aren’t falling, you wonder where the offense comes from. Does Malcolm Brogdon become a true facilitator, trying to bend the defense to create open looks for the two stars? What does the ball movement look like?

It may not matter, Boston’s duo could light the world on fire from as deep as April, May, and June. But, it’s fair to question how Boston’s two best players being wings who are behind the pace in three-point shooting this season translates the Celtic offense to the playoffs.

Boston rebounds just 23.5% of its own missed shots

When you have the second best offense in the NBA by more than one point per 100 possessions over the third best offense, poor offensive rebounding intuitively isn’t that big of a concern.

But, the Celtics are 26th in the league in offensive rebounding percentage, according to Cleaning The Glass. Fortunately, the Celtics take very good care of the basketball. But, on nights when shots aren’t falling, there will be a lot of one-and-done possessions.

When you’re as good on offense as the Celtics are, that might only lose you a game every once in a while. But, all it takes is that one loss in the playoffs to fail a whole season.

Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire

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