The first game of the season for the Boston Celtics was mind boggling. A team that no one thought could shoot from an empty gym seemed to quiet all those offseason critics. Game two was a completely different story. The Celtics scored 90 points, many of them in garbage time. But the bigger story was that they shot 4 percent from three. 1-of-25 for four percent. That’s not good.
While the Celtics will not shoot worse than four percent from three all season, the Celtics will continue to have shooting woes. Avery Bradley shot a mere 39 percent from three last season which to be fair was up from 32 percent in 2012-13 season. Bradley shot 74 more three’s last season than the year before as well, which is a testament to his improved confidence in his three point shot.
Look at Bradley’s shot chart compared to some other point guards in the NBA. The blue and purple means you struggled from that area, the red means you were dominant from that area. Look at all the blue and purple on Bradley’s shot chart. He was not exactly a sharp shooter from behind the arc, and the lone red spots are long two’s which are the lowest percentage shots in the NBA.
Now look at George Hill’s chart. Even an average guard like Hill still is a legitimate three point shooter. He struggles from within the arc, but because of his three point ability he is at least an offensive threat.
Just for reference look at Stephen Curry’s chart. A lot of red from behind the arc, and not a lot of blue. Keep in mind that the spots where the are blue are closer to the rim and its not surpsing that a guard scores more of his points from the perimeter than from near the rim.
But the Celtics problem is bigger than just Bradley.
Rookie guard Marcus Smart is going to play a huge role for the C’s this season. But Smart couldn’t shoot in college and likely will not be much better in the pros. He shot only 29 percent from three in his two seasons at Oklahoma State. He averaged only four assists per game as well meaning he is not a true facilitator either.
Rajon Rondo is not a good three point shooter either. Neither is Jeff Green who was only a 34.1 percent three point shooter last season.
The Celtics are allowing Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger to shoot three’s as well, but neither will be able to shoot three’s consistently. Neither Sullinger nor Olynyk were even big contributors on the offensive ends last season.
Olynyk took only 7.2 shots per game last season and average only about 9 ppg in his 20 minutes of action. Sullinger battled through multiple injuries which derailed his season.
One guy who could help the Celtics is rookie shooting guard James Young. Young was drafted 17th. Young was supposed to be a sharpshooter at KU, but struggled shooting only 35 percent from three. He did average 14 points in 32 minutes of play, but didn’t shoot the ball as well as many had hoped. But Young has already picked up a DNP and played only 6 minutes of garbage time against the Nets.
Look for the Celtics offense to struggle all season long. It won’t be four percent bad, but it won’t be much better.