As All-Star weekend approaches quickly, the NBA season is in the midst of a great, action-packed 2016-17 campaign.
One of the more notable teams of the year so far, the Boston Celtics, currently sit with a 35-19 record as the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Isaiah Thomas has undoubtedly solidified himself as a legitimate league MVP candidate, and Avery Bradley has significantly improved his scoring totals despite an injury-plagued season.
Find out where each player on the Celtics rank on a letter grade scale thus far in the season in terms of overall production to the team, and a few other statistics taken into consideration to determine a player’s contributions.
Ever since his second season in Phoenix in the 2014-15 season, Green saw his numbers dip across the charts. Since then, Green has seen himself average roughly 8.6 points on an ice-cold 39.2% shooting from the field over his last three seasons.
Green’s minimal production in Boston has resulted in Green posting only four games where he scored in double figures for the Celtics this season. That is somewhat surprising, considering Green averaged double digits in points for several seasons throughout his 11 year career.
But at the same time, this is to be expected considering the 11 minutes Green plays on a nightly basis.
Nov 6, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jordan Mickey (55) battles for a loose ball during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Mickey is barely producing for the 17 time World Champions this season. Mickey barely plays, evident by his eight-minute average of action each night. His minimal amount of playing time, combined with below-average skill set conclude to his final grade of the midyear.
But who knows, maybe we could expect a breakout season from Mickey, who’s just in his second season in the league.
Marcus Smart is Boston’s best perimeter defender not named Bradley.
When both Bradley and Smart are on the court together, Boston clearly has a disadvantage in the scoring department with Thomas out. But the combination of these two pests as a backcourt duo make them one of the best defensive pairs in the entire Association – if not, the best.
Smart is not only playing on the defensive side of the ball at a high level, but offensively, he sees himself posting double digits in the scoring department, where he currently averages roughly 10 points a night.
His playmaking has also improved, to the point where he is nearly dishing out five assists, at 4.7 per game.
Smart has gotten it done ever since his arrival in Boston, and this year has been no different.
Feb 9, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown (7) spins around Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) in the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) reacts after making a basket during the first half against the LA Clippers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Although Horford is somewhat a shell compared to his former self in Atlanta, there is no doubt his contributions to the Celtics are off the charts.
An unselfish passer, Horford dishes out an impressive 5.1 in the first half of the season thus far whilst drawing out opposing big men from the paint. This allows Thomas to penetrate for easy looks, and finish at a great rate.
With Horford, his game has always been about impact as opposed to just statistics.
His greatness should be measured the right way – through the basic, eye-test basketball.
Bradley has been nothing short of spectacular for the Boston Celtics thus far in the season.
Despite an ailing ankle that has kept him out of action since January 18th, Bradley has posted spectacular numbers. He has seen himself with a two point scoring improvement this season, going from roughly 15 points per game in 2015-16 campaign.
Not only does Bradley score, but he also takes on the responsibility of defending some of the league’s elite perimeter players. Whether that is Westbrook or Harden, expect consistent effort out of Bradley on the defensive side.
Bradley’s scoring improvements just give us more reason to be hopeful for the Celtics’ bright future.
Johnson’s bounce and athletic abilities are a refresher for the Celtics every time he is on the floor.
Johnson’s 56.9% accuracy from the field doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story in terms of his pure hustle play around the basket. The 11-year veteran has only missed one game this entire season, and has three games where he didn’t start.
When Johnson’s number is called upon, expect the best version of him.
Thomas is not only the Celtics best player, but strictly speaking in terms of this 2016-17 season, you can make a legitimate argument that he is the premier player in the Eastern Conference.
Per basketballreference.com’s, Thomas is in the top 10 amongst league MVP candidates. He is having an extraordinary season, solidifying himself a spot amongst the league’s elite players. Thomas is averaging nearly 30 points a game, 6.3 assists, and posts a great 27.68 PER which ranks top four in the entire Association.
All of this greatness, and he stands just 5-9.
No one should be surprised if Isaiah Thomas takes home the Maurice Podoloff trophy this upcoming season, or even a deep Playoff run for the Boston Celtics.