BOSTON – For years, Boston Celtics fans have been wanting to trust the process when it comes to the 3-point shot.
Ever since Brad Stevens arrived as Boston’s head coach in 2013, it has been clear that he wants the 3-point shot to be woven into the fabric of this franchise under his watch. And as fans for years cringed as one 3-point brick after another was launched, having that 3-point mindset has laid the foundation for what looks to be one of the better 3-point shooting teams this season. Because unlike past seasons when they fielded a roster full of guys willing to take them, this season’s squad has more players who can actually make them at a fairly high clip.
Boston’s ability to make 3’s is among the many takeaways for a Celtics team that won all four of their preseason games.
In Boston’s four preseason games – all wins – they took 30.5 attempts from 3-point range per game which ranked 12th in the NBA. More telling is that they made 40.2 percent of those 3’s which ranked fourth in the league. Under Stevens, the Celtics finished 14th (35.9 percent) in the league in three-point percentage. In the three seasons prior to that, Boston finished no better than 27th in the league in three-point percentage (.327, 2015).
Now you don’t want to put too much stock into how a team or player fares from 3-point line in the preseason, obviously. And the percentages that team’s shoot in the preseason are not necessarily a precursor to how teams will fare in the regular season.
Last season, the only NBA team ranked among the top 10 in both 3-pointers taken and 3-point percentage, was defending NBA champion Golden State.
But it wasn’t the numbers that really stood out for the Celtics from 3-point range.
More impressive was the amount of space that they seemed to have most of the night on those shots, the kind of spacing that’s likely to stick around for most of this upcoming season.
“We really do have a team where it’s like pick-your-poison on offense,” Celtics guard Terry Rozier told NBC Sports Boston recently. “We have some really good shooters who can make it hard, really hard on teams defensively.”