BOSTON – When Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked about what he saw in the team’s newest (10-day) addition Jarell Eddie, his response was, “shooting … shooting.”
Indeed, shot-making has been the one area of play that has been problematic for the Celtics most of this season.
Boston comes into today’s game against Orlando (13-32) shooting just 44.8 percent from the field which ranks 25th in the NBA.
In the month of January, Boston has been even worse, connecting on just 41.8 percent of their shots which ranks 29th in the league this month.
While the addition of Eddie had more to do with the recent flu bug that has made the rounds throughout the Celtics lineup and the uncertainty a couple days ago surrounding Kyrie Irving’s sore left shoulder (it has improved and he’s expected to play today), adding Eddie speaks to a greater problem – guys making shots – that has to be addressed in some capacity sooner or later.
Boston always has the option to pursue a trade. They also have an $8.4 million disabled player exception they can use on free agent players, with the most likely pool of talent that they will choose from consisting of players who would have been bought out by their current teams.
Or there’s raiding the G-League for talent, which is what they did in signing Eddie to a 10-day contract.
Regardless, there’s a growing sense that this team has to add more scoring punch to the mix or at a minimum, improve the overall offensive execution of the roster as it stands now.
“We have to do our stuff better,” Stevens said. “The start of the season it was predictable, losing Gordon (Hayward who suffered a dislocated left ankle injury in the season-opener) and having to adjust. The middle portion of games we were pretty darn good. And then I thought we were reasonable in London, reasonable against New Orleans. But the other three of the last five games, we weren’t very good.”
Boston’s offense should get a boost from Irving’s return to the lineup after missing Boston’s 89-80 loss to Philadelphia with a sore left shoulder.
And while it was just one game, Irving understands the challenge that lies ahead in getting Boston’s offense to play better and more consistently.
“We have very unique talents on this team,” Irving said. “When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”
Marcus Morris has been one of the players who has been in and out of the Celtics lineup because of a sore left knee.
However, the schedule has eased up to where he’ll be able to play more games, for longer stretches.
He comes into today’s game having scored in double figures each of the last three games.
“I’m just trying to get healthy. I know what I can do,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “My confidence is always going to stay high, no matter if I miss or make shots.”
In the last three games, he has averaged 15.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.
While Morris’ play of late is promising, it doesn’t diminish the concern Boston should have for an offense that for the most part, has been sputtering this season.