The long awaited return of Boston Celtics basketball gave us an immediate glimpse into what the Celtics are working with offensively.
This is the opening play. This is the first thing the Celtics, in all of their preparation for what many are calling a special season, chose to run offensively. That alone tells a lot.
What tells us more is how many options were immediately available for Boston. Here’s a quick, three minute breakdown of the opening play in which at least two alley oop and three 3-point chances presented themselves in very rapid succession.
Let’s start with the obvious: The timing isn’t great on this play. That’s definitely the kind of timing you’ll see on the opening play in the opening preseason game.
If this was a mid-season, “these guys have been playing together for a while and feel great about it” moment, Hayward would have gotten an alley oop immediately. If that was snuffed out, the Horford oop would have been there. This, by the way, all presupposes the Celtics will eventually be able to figure out an alley oop, which no one outside of Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart seem to be able to throw.
Anyway, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie, and Hayward all could have gotten clean 3-point looks if the pass didn’t go to Horford.
I broke down one “what if” in this video, but you can look at every turn and find other option.
“What if they didn’t switch right away?”… well Kyrie would have probably gone to the hoop.
Defenders being in slightly different positions change the entire dynamic of the play.
Each of these plays is like one of those time lapse videos of a tree growing… as it continues there’s always something new that opens up. There was nothing overwhelmingly special about this play other than its demonstration that Boston’s offense has a lot of options. They ran this play through to see if they could nail the timing of an alley oop to Horford, which is probably why they ignored other opportunities, but in a couple of months this simple set could be something they hammer teams with over and over and over.
When I say “pick your poison” with this team, this is what I mean. Charlotte, which admittedly is not a great team and is working in a lot of new elements, ultimately left Jaylen Brown wide open. In a regular season game, any set that gets that wide open a look is a great set.
This is just a small taste of the type of things I’ll be doing on my Patreon this season. I’m asking for $2 a month for much more in-depth breakdowns similar to this. I’m going to be doing a lot more advance scouting of our opponents, dipping into college to break down potential draft picks, and much more.
That’s a lot for $2 a month. I know a lot of outlets are asking for your money, but I promise to make this worth it for Celtics fans. I’m launching on October 1, so please subscribe now!