The Celtics Strong Start Isn’t Surprising, But It Is Confusing

Through eleven games of the 2022-23 season, the Boston Celtics are 8-3 and third in the Eastern Conference. 

The Celtics having a strong start to the season isn’t surprising after the NBA Finals trip last season, but it is confusing. Here’s why.

Last Year

Last year the Celtics were 12th in points per game with 111.8 and FIRST in points allowed with 104.5 per game. 

Starting the season 23-24 and then going on a 23-4 run over their next 27 games to finish the season with a 51-31 record, It was all about their defense. They struggled offensively in half court settings and with turnovers, averaging 13.6 per game.

Entering This Season

Entering this season you would have expected more of the same, with slight improvements to the offense due to the addition of Malcolm Brogdon and internal improvements, as well as a slight dip in defense due to the Rob Williams injury. 

But, the Celtics, while still winning, are statistically a completely different team than the Finals team last season, or at least what most would have expected them to be at this point.

Historically Good Offensive Start

To start the season this year, the Celtics are not just exceeding expectations on offense, they are historically good through 11 games. 

They are second in points per game and field goal percentage with 118.7 and 48.3% respectively, while leading the league with an offensive rating of 118.5 which is the best since the merger.

They are also scoring 1.34 points per possession, which is the best in NBA history. 

Defensive Struggles

Defensively the Celtics are 17th in points allowed with 114.2. 

The Celtics are also last in steals, and are 14th in opponents 2nd chance points, allowing 13.9 points per game.

Moving Forward

The effectiveness of this offense comes from the player and ball movement, allowing the Celtics to come away with the best shot most trips down. 

The scheme and ideology of the offense are not much different than last year, but the addition of Malcolm Brogdon, uptick in minutes to Sam Hauser and improvements of the rest of the roster has exceeded any and all expectations on the offensive side.

The drive and kick offense and off ball action has to lead to open threes which the Celtics are shooting at 38.8% which is third best in the league.

On the brightside, The Celtics early season struggles, rebounding and defense are easily fixable when you roster a man named Robert Williams, who was second in blocks and 15th in rebounding last year.

For now the Celtics are still without their defensive weapon until sometime in December.

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