Since Christmas the Boston Celtics have played like an average NBA team (.65 points better than average). This will not satisfy fans of the sports’ most storied franchise. Is there any hope for the Celtics to recapture their 2007-2008 level of greatness?
The first point to make is that KG in his current level of health is not having a big impact. Since Christmas with Pierce, Rondo, Ray Allen, and KG on the court the Celtics have played 6 points better than average. When Pierce, Rondo and Ray are on court with KG out the Celtics have played around the same: 5 points better than average. I am not a doctor, but KG 2010 is not playing at his past level. His Adjusted +/- this year is -3. During his last 5 seasons his Adjusted +/- averaged out to +11. Unless KG can regain his previous abilities, it will be tough for the Celtics to make the conference finals.
Still, there are ways for the Celtics to improve. Let’s partition all Celtic minutes played since Christmas based on which of Pierce, Rondo, and Ray Allen are on the court and see how things went:
- All 3 in : 5 points better than average.
- Pierce and Rondo in, Ray out- 20 points better than average.
- Pierce and Allen in, Rondo out- 9 points better than average
- Rondo and Allen in Pierce out-2 points worse than average
- At most one of Rondo, Pierce and Allen in-10 points worse than average.
From these numbers it looks like when at least two of Pierce, Rondo, and Ray Allen are in the Celtics are ok. Having all 3 in does not make them that much better. Therefore, it looks like the Celtics would improve if they would rest Pierce, Rondo, and Ray Allen one at a time more often and lessen the time two or more of them are out.
For example, Pierce can be rested with
BOS 10.85 ( 7.74 -0.11 -7.85 3.01 0.62 6.52) 110.14 minutes 50 appearances 3 A 14.38 33 $
T. Allen R. Allen Garnett Perkins Rondo 29.01 years 1299
This lineup plays 11 points better than average and rests Pierce.
To rest Ray Allen I would recommend
BOS 30.36 ( -0.19 -5.02 -4.83 -18.94 -0.47 4.48) 22.60 minutes 15 appearances 6 C 29.73 14 $
T. Allen Garnett Perkins Pierce Rondo 28.56 years 1809_BOS_2010
This lineup has played 30 points better than average.
To rest Rondo it appears that the quartet of Ray Allen, Wallace, House and Davis has played well recently (+58 rating in 15 minutes).
Also, the return of Marquis Daniels should create some lineups that can better rest Rondo or Ray Allen,
In summary, things can go better even if KG’s level of play does not improve. But without a return to KG’s past level of greatness, it looks like no Championship in Boston this season.
By the way, Ray Allen is mentioned in trade talk. His Adjusted +/- is +10 this season (despite a decline in box score stats), so trading Ray Allen would really reduce the Celtics level of performance during the rest of the season.