Brad Stevens says his ‘eyes’ tell him Celtics’ defense is doing worse than the numbers say
Brad Stevens, though a champion of analytics since he was hired as head coach of the Boston Celtics, apparently still hedges toward eyes test rather than advanced statistics when it comes to his team’s defense.
Based on analytics, the Celtics are considered a top-five team on the defensive end. However, Stevens swears that his team doesn’t look like a top-five outfit in the NBA despite what the points allowed per 100 possessions indicate.
The Celtics are tied for fifth in defensive rating, but Brad Stevens isn’t buying it. “That isn’t what my eyes tell me.”
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) March 20, 2019
Boston currently ranks fifth with a 106.4 defensive rating. To Stevens’ point, though, the Celtics are just 17th in defensive efficiency since the All-Star break, allowing 109.5 points per 100 possessions.
Even more problematic in conjunction with those struggles is an offense that’s ranked no better over the same time frame. Boston’s post All-Star offensive rating is 108.7, which ranks a measly 19th in the NBA.
Clearly, things aren’t quite right for the Celtics. Nonetheless, it might be too early to give up on Boston just yet.
With a dedicated tactician like Brad Stevens leading the way and one of the most talented rosters in all of basketball, no one would be surprised if Boston — through the eye test or analytics — makes the changes necessary to emerge as one of the league’s hottest teams leading up to the playoffs.