Once again, Derrenmatts over on Celtics Green came up with a great post that I wanted to share here. He compiled a list of our stats after 10 games and these are very revealing as to the progress of this team. I am looking forward to his 20 game report as I expect us to continue to improve over the next 10 days. Here is Derren's post:
Celtics fans have a lot to be excited about. Our record is not indicative of how well we've been playing because most of our losses came as a result of 1 bad quarter of mental lapses. Aside from those spurts of lackluster play, our stats indicate how good we have been playing.
A glance at our stats in our 1st 10 games:
PPG: 103.8 (5th)
FG%: 45.7% (12th)
FT%: 74.1% (20th)
FT attempts per game: 32.8 (2nd)
3pt%: 41.5 (1st)
3pt attempts per game: 17.1 (18th)
Rebounds: 43.9 (4th)
Assists: 21.2 (11th)
TO's committed: 16.1 (23rd)
Steals: 6.4 (21st)
Blocks: 5.6 (9th)
Fouls per game: 26.4 (25th)
What do these stats tell us?
These stats tell us a lot about how well we've been playing. What jumps out at me is how much we've improved in the rebounding department, and keep in mind that this is without Ratliff and Jefferson--the latter who had beeen contributing a lot prior to the appendectomy. Perennially, we've been among the dead last in rebounds in the league. But credit Clifford Ray and our players because we've mightily improved all the way to the top 4 spot Its incredible to see us control the boards and not give up so many second chance points as we have becoming used to seeing. Perk and Gomes have done a remarkable job, as well as Pierce and Rajon from the guard spots. As a whole, our team has been aggressively crashing the board (and Scalabrine deserves credit here as well). And while we are talking about our former problem areas, we've also improved markedly in shot blocking. We've gone from mediocre to 9th place and this is primarily due to Kendrick Perkins finally emerging as our enforcing presence (currently averaging 2.1 bpg). And just think what he'll be able to do once he starts averaging 30 mpg. Perkins may never be a smooth offensive player, but that's not his role anyways. Grabbing near double digit rebounds and blocking 2.5 shots per game is what'll keep us from slipping defensively.
We've known that we're a good offensive club already. But we're getting even better. We're still not running as efficiently, or consistently as we need to, and still we are 5th in the league in scoring. And now we are 1st in the league in 3pt shooting. But what I really like is that although we are shooting the three ball really well, we're not over doing it like we did during O'Brien's tenure. We're 18th in the league in 3 pointers attempted per game. I would not want to become reliant on the 3 pointers.
What do we need to work on?
Turnovers, though slightly improved, still remains our weak point. We turn the ball over 16 times per game, good for 23rd worst in the league. Just as discouraging is that we are only forcing 13.3 turnovers per game, and that ranks us at 28th in the league. As quick and athletic as we are, we should be forcing more turnovers and getting our hands on more steals with our pressure defense. The preseason games were encouraging because we were swiping passes left and right. We need to get back to being more aggressive defensively. Getting more steals and turnovers allow more fastbreaking opportunities and that's where we can really blow the game open.
What also hurts us is the amount of fouls we give up, which leads to a high amount of free throw attempts. We are among the highest fouling teams in the league and this is partially why teams are able to stage runs and make comeback attempts off of us, especially late in games.
Free throw shooting has been discouraging. We are a team that gets to the line a lot during games (2nd in the league). But we only convert 74% of these freebees. Again, this hurts us late in games, when making free throws are at a premium.
So all these stats considered, we are actually playing much better than most people think we are by looking at our current record. And to think that we have a lot more room to grow with the chemistry aspect and we really have a lot to look foward to this season.
I'll keep you posted on how we are doing at the 20 game mark.
Then the question was asked about our opponents stats during this 10 game stretch and here is his answer:
Being a team that scores a lot of points, its only natural that we are also going to allow a lot of teams to have scoring opportunities. And because we foul a lot as a team, we are giving our oppoenents free scoring chances. Thus the reason why we are giving up 101.3 ppg.
But more than just looking at this stat, its good to consider our opponents FG%, which is a better indication of how our defense is doing. We are the 7th best team in terms of opponents' FG%, meaning we aren't allowing teams a lot of good looks.