Avery Bradley usually isn’t compared to Larry Bird. During one shot tonight, that changed. The fourth-year guard was in the right spot in the first quarter on Tuesday night, rebounding a Jared Sullinger airball under the basket. Knowing he needed to get off a shot before the shot clock expired, Bradley hoisted up a prayer [...]
We’ve talked about Jared Sullinger quite a bit this week, but he has been playing intriguingly well, so forgive us for continuing the trend. The “Should Sullinger be taking 3-pointers?” argument continues to rage, but last night presented compelling arguments for proponents of the strategy. I wrote about these shots specifically during the preseason, and [...]
Only five NBA teams are humiliated by a less effective offense than the one currently deployed by the Boston Celtics. But being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, here are a couple parts of that offense we should all be grateful for. (Most notably the fact that it’s run by Brad Stevens, a mastermind [...]
Last season, Jared Sullinger was whistled for 6.2 fouls per 36 minutes. In other words, statistically, even if the Celtics wanted to give him a starter’s minutes, he would foul out before the 36 minute mark. Some of that was on Sullinger â€” it takes a certain amount of time to adjust to the way [...]
In a playoff-less season, the Celtics really have only one thing to look forward to before lottery night: The return of Rajon Rondo. There are always a few indicators that a player is nearing his return, and one of the first ones is that he is returning to drills during practice. From Gary Washburn’s Twitter [...]
Trade talk hasn’t died down just yet in Boston. Days after Danny Ainge confirmed to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald that the team was engaged in discussions with other teams pertaining to their veteran pieces of the roster, we have another report surfacing today fromÂ Jared Zwerling of Bleacher ReportÂ on potential talks between the Celtics [...]
The ongoing quest to adequately fill out the Celticsâ€™ roster still has another week or two to go, but is taking a step in the right direction today in the form of D.J. White. The 6-9 power forward will be signing a 10-day contract with the Celtics once he receives his clearance paperwork from the CBA. That could happen soon or take a little longer, like it did with Terrence Williams.
The former Bobcat has been out of the NBA this year, posting 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Shanghai Sharks in the CBA. Those kind of numbers look imposing, but as we all know, the NBA and Chinese Basketball Association are two very different animals. So what exactly can we expect from White back in the states? And will he be able to contribute to the Câ€™s in the rotation right away? Letâ€™s investigate what White brings to the table.
THE GOOD D.J.
Finishing at the rim
This has not been a strength for the majority of the Celtics team this season, thanks to a vast collection of undersized bigs (and Jason Collins). White will be a breath of fresh air in this area.
Heâ€™s an above-average finisher at the basket, hitting 74 percent of his attempts around the rim during his career. Unfortunately, he doesnâ€™t get there too much on his own, averaging just a couple attempts per game. However, if the Câ€™s can get him the ball down there with good ball movement and cuts from White, thereâ€™s a good chance heâ€™ll finish the job.
Reliable mid-range shooter
This is the bread and butter of Whiteâ€™s game, as heâ€™s a steady midrange shooter from anywhere outside 10 feet to the 3-point arc. The 26-year-old hit about 43% of his jumpers from this range last season for Charlotte, taking roughly four attempts per game.
Those percentages make him as reliable as Brandon Bass from the midrange and thatâ€™s a useful skill for a guy like White who thrives in the pick and pop. Unlike Chris Wilcox, he will help Boston keep the floor spread offensively with the second unit. White also postups well from the mid-range and will take the option of pulling up for jumpers if his defender gives him room or driving to the hoop if a player crowds him too much in guarding against his jumper. Leading to plays like this
Low turnover rate
Although most people donâ€™t write about it, the ability to not turn the ball over is a skill in the NBA, especially for big men. In trading away Jason Collins last week, the most turnover prone big man in the NBA (30% turnover rate!), the Câ€™s will be bringing in the exact opposite with White.
White has a career turnover rate of just 8 percent on his possessions, which is a fantastic mark for anyone in the NBA and would give him the second lowest rate on the Câ€™s this year. Fewer turnovers mean more shot attempts for Bostonâ€™s offense and thatâ€™s a good thing for a team that struggles with offensive rebounds and getting to the line.
Average defensive rebounder for his size
Itâ€™s sad that I have to put this in the â€śgoodâ€ť category, but given the state of rebounding amongst Bostonâ€™s bigs, itâ€™s necessary. White has an 18.2% defensive rebounding rate in his career, which pegs him as an average rebounder in the NBA as a power forward. Given that those numbers are better than anyone on the Câ€™s besides KG or Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers will gladly take it.
THE BAD D.J.
Most of his defense?
I could narrow this down to a few different things but feel like itâ€™s better to take a bigger picture view of White in this respect.
First things first: his synergy numbers were awful on the defensive end with the Bobcats. He allowed 0.91 points per possession, ranking him an ugly 342nd in the NBA. Thatâ€™s not a way to get into Doc Riversâ€™ rotation right away. However, a closer investigation shows he may not be as inept as he looks.
White was adequate at defending in isolation and postups, putting up an overall ranking in the hundreds out of all NBA players, and surprisingly, he actually had strong numbers in pick-and-roll defense, allowing only 0.75 points per possession in that department.
The area in which he struggled the most was defending spot-ups, especially from beyond the arc, as White does not have good close out speed, especially against stretch fourâ€™s. He gets sucked into the play a lot and lacks the speed/awareness to make up for it and close out.
With all of this noted, letâ€™s take a less harsh view of Whiteâ€™s defense last year, considering he played for one of the worst teams in NBA history. D.J.â€™s defense wasnâ€™t great but his teammates put him in a lot of bad spots in those situations. If you go back a year or two to his time with the Thunder, his defensive numbers are a bit better. Not great by any means, but more run of the mill for power forward. Danny Ainge is hoping he grades out the same way here with a team that plays sound defense.
Below average offensive rebounder
Looking for someone to give Boston a Jared Sullinger-like spark on the offensive glass? Donâ€™t look to White. Heâ€™ll finish baskets when he grabs offensive rebounds, but he only does so on 6.5 percent of his opportunities, which puts him below guys like Bass and Wilcox. Look at the bright side though…he’ll fit right in! He did show some flashes in limited playing time early in his career with the Thunder in hitting the glass well though, so keep an eye on this.
Not a shot blocker/interior presence
The Celtics didnâ€™t have a shot blocker before they signed him and that remains the case now. He swats them away as much as Bass does, which isnâ€™t that much at all. See here.
Too jumper happy?
You are going to see a lot of mid-range jumpers from this signing, which is also known as the most inefficient shot in basketball. The Câ€™s take too many as a team already and White will just add to that problem if he canâ€™t make them at a solid clip.
Assuming White can find a way to hold his own on the defensive end, the Câ€™s may have found a little steal here. Best case scenario for him is he becomes a better version of Brandon Bass the rest of the way. Worst case scenario? He bricks a lot of jumpers and looks more lost on defense than Wilcox and Bass, leading to Doc sending him packing after ten days.
The important thing is that there is offensive upside here and the Câ€™s still need that in a major way. With improved teammates in a spread offense, White should get a lot of open looks on the perimeter. If he can finish them in accordance with his career averages, heâ€™ll make Ainge look good with another signing.
Statistical support provided by NBA.com/stats, Hoopdata.com, and Basketball-Reference.com