Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
The Celtics’ problems on offense will go away once they stop missing makable threes, right? No need for alarm. But if adjustments need to be made, what should they be? — Peter K.
That’s definitely part of it, but it’s hardly the whole story. The Celtics are shooting 35.1 percent from three-point range, which is 15th in the league, right in the middle of the pack. Last season, they were second in the league (37.7 percent), trailing only the Warriors (39.1 percent). They’ll get better there. And you know they’re going to keep firing them up.
There are other issues, and they’re all pretty obvious. Gordon Hayward hasn’t shot the ball well (40.2 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from 3, compared to career averages of 44.3/36.7). That’s beyond understandable. This is all part of the process of coming back from his brutal ankle injury. I still cringe any time he has to jump in traffic. It must be in the back of his mind, and fighting its way closer to the front every time he makes a basketball move. All things considered, I’m pretty encouraged by where he is. For one thing, he’s playing the most unselfish ball on the team other than maybe Al Horford, and he’s a terrific passer, especially in spotting open teammates on the perimeter. Bringing him off the bench might be a temporary solution, but they’re better off solving how their best five players can function together. He deserves our patience.
So, what’s testing our patience? Jayson Tatum is playing a little too much one-on-one. It’s not bad that he goes one-on-one — he’s exceptional at it — but he needs to be better about picking his spots. He actually looks like he picked up some bad habits from working out with Kobe Bryant this offseason. His passing needs to improve, too. That would go a long way toward making their offense as dynamic as it should be. He’ll get there. This is one of those rare times when we have to remember he’s only 19.
I don’t really want to pin much of this on the bench, but Terry Rozier is playing like free agency is on his mind. He’s trying to score a point a minute. And Marcus Smart is still taking too many shots that are the basketball equivalent of a punt. It’s usually a waste of a possession when he takes a long jumper.
Two months from now, and maybe sooner, all of this is going to be a distant memory. Brad Stevens and the intelligent, generally well-intentioned players on this roster will solve it. It’s frustrating now, but no one is feeling sorry for a team whose fundamental issue is trying to figure out what to do with so many skilled players.
But what do you think? How do the Celtics fix their offensive problems? I’ll hear you in the comments.