On December 8, 2013 we broke some shooting stats for the Boston Celtics after 21 games of their season in an article called Boston Celtics Shooting Very Successfully on Mid-Range Shots, a Lost Art in the NBA.
They were 9-12 and leading the Atlantic Division and playing some decent basketball. They were in the top of the league in a few FG% stats, especially close to the basketball out to the mid-range shots.
Since then, the Celtics have fallen down then ranking. A larger sample size and tougher stretch of games has caused a lot of that. The departure of Jordan Crawford is probably another reason, as he was one of the best mid-range players in those first few months of the season.
After 21 games the Celtics were shooting 42.6% from inside the paint, good for sixth place in the league. Now, after 68 games the Celtics are shooting 35.9% in the paint. Running the numbers from December 9 to March 17 the Celtics have the worst shooting percentage in the NBA inside the paint at 32.2%.
Truthfully, there is not much to say about this. It's a precipitous drop. Is there an explanation for it? Probably. Guys like Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Kris Humphries have moved out of the paint a lot more. Also, a guy like Vitor Faverani who saw a lot of time in those opening weeks of the seson made hay on the inside along with Sullinger.
Now, teams are able to pack the paint more with Rajon Rondo on the floor because of his poor shooting. While Jordan Crawford would chuck up shots frequently, it kept the defense honest and pulled them away from the hoop a bit more.
The Celtics mid-range game has stayed pretty much the same between the first 21 games and the last 47 games. Just a few percentage point difference. Another big drop, however, comes in the corner threes that the team is making. They have shot 33% from the left corner in the last 47 games, but they shot 40% in the first 21 games. Avery Bradley's injury could be a reason for this. He was a pretty comfortable shooter from both corners at the start of the year.
While the left corner has gone down drastically, the right corner is a little more steady. They were the third best team from the right corner through the first six weeks of the season, shooting 48%. Now they are shooting 42% Good enough for 10th in the league. The above the break (Three pointers that are not in the corner) 3FG% has been poor all season. They have been in the bottom of the league and are currently shooting below 30% on those shots. It might be the most difficult shot in the NBA, but the Celtics do not do it very well at all. Rondo, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Jerryd Bayless would be the main shooters from those spots on the floor.
While the shooting from outside the paint has been pretty consistent over the course of the season, the shooting from inside the paint has really hurt this team badly. To only make 35% of shots from that close is going to make it awfully hard to win games. It might be worth watching the NCAA tournament for a few big guys that can score in the post and in the lane.
Tags: Atlantic Division, Avery Bradley, Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Jared Sullinger, Jerryd Bayless, Jordan Crawford, NBA, Rajon Rondo