Boston Celtics: Individual Areas of Improvement for Each Player
One Area Where Each Celtic Must Improve
Nobody is perfect. Not NBA players, or even NBA superstars.
Despite their record, the Boston Celtics really do have a glut of intriguing talent. Each player on their roster brings valuable and unique abilities to the team. The C's are a young club, and thus, barring any trades, the players have the opportunity to grow with each other. If that is the case, the players' styles will naturally mold to fit together.
But, with unique talent comes unique flaws. Every player on Boston's roster has at least one area they can improve in. The ultimate goal of the Celtics coaching staff should be to make sure every man on the roster can -- at the very least -- hold their own in all facets of the game. Luckily, the team is filled with guys willing to work hard in order to improve.
Nothing is going to come easy, though. The changes aren’t going going to come overnight; the aforementioned developments are going to be prolonged over multiple seasons.
Luckily, Boston's younger talent -- guys like Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger -- have ample time to ameliorate their respective skill sets in order to become the most complete NBA players they can be.
Its up to the coaches to put the youngsters in positions to succeed during the games. Fortunately, if there is a year for experimentation, it's this one. So, let's take a look at which areas the Celtics' coaching staff should be focusing on improving with each one of their personnel.
Joel Anthony: Offensive Skills
Joel Anthony has reached his NBA ceiling... no surprises there. But, for the purposes of the article, the obvious flaw in "The Warden's" game is the complete and utter lack of an offensive skill set. From a scoring standpoint, he maxed out in his rookie season at 3.5 per game. Defensively, Anthony is a very good player, but his instincts don't translate to the offensive end of the court.
Phil Pressey: Jump Shot Consistency
Based on his passing abilities and court vision alone, Phil Pressey has the potential to be a very solid backup behind Rajon Rondo. However, no matter how well he can dish out the rock, he needs to develop a jump shot that will fall with some regularity to keep opposing defenses on their heels. There are other guards that are as small as Pressey -- Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson and JJ Barea all come to mind. But, would you really want to leave any of those guys open from behind the arc?
Chris Johnson: Right-Handed Finishing
Chris Johnson has proved a solid pickup for the Celtics. He is lethal from the corner, and has a relentless motor. He has demonstrated a fantastic offensive rebounding ability, and is a decent cutter as well. Johnson has been a strong finisher at the rim shooting lefty, but rarely attempts to use his off hand, even on the right side. If he wants to be a threat from all areas of the floor, he can't be afraid to attempt to finish with the right hand.
Vitor Faverani: Intensity/Decision Making
After showing a heap of promise in the first few games of the season, Vitor Faverani has completely fallen out of the Celtics' rotation, and has spent some significant time in the D-League over the past couple of weeks. The Brazilian center appeared to have a good feel for the game, especially defensively, but often seemed lethargic on the court. He made lackadaisical passes, and settled for three-pointers much to the discontent of myself, and apparently Brad Stevens as well.
Gerald Wallace: Free Throw Shooting
Once and All-Star, Gerald Wallace has turned into a do-it-all "glue guy" for Boston. Behind Rajon Rondo, he is the biggest threat for a triple double on any given night. With that being said, he needs to improve his shooting from the charity stripe. His jump shot was never great, but he is a 71.1 percent career free throw shooter who is knocking down just 42.9 percent from the line this season. It's probably all mental at this point, but nevertheless the issue needs to be corrected.
Jerryd Bayless: Finishing Ability
Jerryd Bayless has brought to Boston exactly what was expected of him: he has been the spark off the bench with the ability to create for both himself and others. He is most effective off the dribble, and gets enough lift on his jumper to get it off over his defenders. He needs to be able to finish in the paint, though, as he is shooting just 48.9 percent at the rim. Bayless is already a good scorer, and an improved finishing ability would make him even better.
Kris Humphries: Offensive Creativity
This season, Kris Humphries is more valuable to Boston as an expiring deal than anything else. But, they may choose to try to re-ink him for a cheaper price this offseason, as he has been valuable off the bench thus far. Hump has a reliable midrange jumper, and is a decent finisher with surprising athleticism. He won’t ever be a go-to option, but since he is playing for a new contract, he should look to add some creativity to his offensive repertoire, much like Brandon Bass has done by adding a solid face-up game.
Kelly Olynyk: Defensive Footwork
Kelly Olynyk is still adjusting to NBA-style basketball, but his defense has been inexcusable. His deficiencies on that end of the floor were known on draft night, but he hasn't shown any improvement and has been fouling excessively due to poor footwork. He is unable to recover after biting for ball fakes, and is left in the dust whenever his man gets the first step on him. It won't be a quick process, but with enough work Olynyk could eventually improve to the point where he is no longer a defensive liability.
Brandon Bass: Decision Making
Brandon Bass is having a heck of a season, even if it has gone widely unnoticed. The forward has been as deadly as ever from midrange, and has upped his finishing ability by using his 250 lb. frame to shield his shots from getting swatted. Sometimes, though, he just doesn't look involved. He seems entirely unaware of the shot clock at some points, and other times makes erratic passes that end up no where near their intended target. He is reportedly gaining interest from all around the league, and soon his strange zone-out moments will likely become another team's problem.
Avery Bradley: Jump Shot Consistency
Right now, Avery Bradley's NBA ceiling is not established. He has shown significant progress with his shooting this season, but still hasn't shown any semblance of distributing or slashing abilities. Much of that can be attributed to his size; Bradley is listed at 6-foot-2, which is considered small for the point guard position, never mind the two-guard spot, where he spends most of his time. Much like fellow undersized-guard Phil Pressey, Bradley will have to demonstrate a jump shot that is both lethal and consistent to be considered an offensive threat.
Jeff Green: Shot Selection
Jeff Green has seen his field goal percentage plummet this season, especially over the last month and a half. In January, Green shot just 38.6 percent from the field and he is converting just under 41 percent of his looks through four February games. The dip in percentage can be credited to his shot selection, which has primarily become spot-up three point attempts and contested fade-away jumpers from the baseline. Green was uber-efficient last season when he took the ball to the hoop, and he needs to once-again realize that is his most effective way to score. If not, he very well may be playing his last few games in a green and white jersey.
Jared Sullinger: Streakiness
The NBA's next "20 & 10" player could be one of Boston's frontcourt prospects. Jared Sullinger has had an up-and-down sophomore season through 51 games, but has looked nothing short of dominant over the past two weeks. He was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 20.3 points and 12.7 rebounds. He has had a handful of fantastic games this season, including a 25-point, 20-rebound effort in a win over the Toronto Raptors. The problem is, for every good stretch he has had this season, he has looked very underwhelming in another. Sullinger has a bright future, but he needs to develop some game-to-game regularity.
Rajon Rondo: Shooting With Range
This has been the knock on Rajon Rondo his whole career: his jump shot. Now, with a team that doesn't feature any player averaging more than 16.6 points per game, Rondo is going to need to pick up some of the slack. A year away from the court gave the point guard plenty of time to work on his shooting mechanics, and he has come back this season looking considerably more confident in his jumper from the elbow area, where he is currently shooting 41.5 percent. Through his last three games, he is shooting 61.5 percent from the field. If he can keep the midrange game going, it would just add another threat to his already-dangerous offensive arsenal.