The Celtics look, quite literally, unstoppable.
After falling short in the NBA Finals a year ago, Boston has returned with an angry, relentless energy. All that production on the hardcourt has them grasping at the coattails of NBA scoring history. The C’s are dominating unsuspecting opponents with a historic offensive pace that has shot them right to chalk status in the 2022-23 NBA championship odds.
If the season ended today, you could crown the Celtics as champions. You could also consider them one of the greatest offenses in NBA history. Luckily for the 29 other teams, there’s plenty of basketball left. That said, let’s hit the pause button for just a second and take a deep dive into why – and how – the Boston offense has been so fantastic this year.
Celtics’ Coaching Change
Before we touch the numbers, we must address how well interim head coach Joe Mazzulla has done in his first year on the job. The 34-year-old is the NBA’s youngest active bench boss and has led the Celtics to a league-best 22-7 start. His performance only becomes more outstanding if you consider the circumstances of his appointment as head coach.
Ime Udoka, the coach who led the Celtics to the Finals a year ago, was suspended by the club in September after an investigation into an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member. With Udoka away from the organization, Mazzulla was promoted from assistant coach and hasn’t looked back. He’s now a legit contender in the NBA Coach of the Year race.
The Celtics’ Historic Offense
Let’s see how the 2022-23 Celtics offense ranks among the best teams in NBA history.
|Statistic||Previous All-Time Single-Season Record||2022-23 Boston Celtics (All-Time Rank)|
|Points Per Game||126.5 (’81-82 Nuggets)||119.4 (27th)|
|Three-Pointers Made Per Game||16.7 (’20-21 Jazz)||16.3 (3rd)|
|Free-Throw Percentage||83.9% (’20-21 Clippers)||82.9% (T-6th)|
|True Shooting Percentage||61% (’20-21 Nets)||61.7% (1st)|
|Offensive Rating||118.3 (’20-21 Nets)||119.0 (1st)|
The chart tells us shooting has been Boston’s greatest strength this year. Finesse shots, such as three-pointers and free throws, have come quite easily, which has helped the Celtics produce a 61.7 percent true shooting rate, the best mark in NBA history.
As a whole, their offense has performed flawlessly, hence the all-time best 119 offensive rating. And in terms of points per game, the Celtics rank 27th all-time, though they’re just the second team from the 21st century in the top 30. The 2020-21 Milwaukee Bucks finished 22nd all-time with 120.1 PPG.
This Celtics offense is very, very special.
Celtics’ Three-Point Shooting
The Celtics’ aptitude from beyond the arc this year is nearly unmatched. Boston is averaging 16.3 made threes per game, which ranks third all-time. The 2020-21 Utah Jazz hold the single-season record (16.7 3PM), but second place is currently held by the 2022-23 Golden State Warriors, with whom the Celtics have jockeyed back and forth. Boston still has a chance of overtaking the Warriors in that category.
Boston’s 39.1 shooting percentage from deep ranks second in the NBA behind only the Denver Nuggets. But what’s interesting is how frequently the C’s are pulling up from three-point land. The Celtics average 87.2 field-goal attempts per game, with 41.6 of those attempts coming from deep. That works out to 47.7 percent of the team’s shots on a given night coming from beyond the arc, making Boston an absolute menace to defend against.
Celtics’ Best Three-Point Shooters
|Malcolm Brogdon (BOS)||48.4%|
|Damion Lee (PHX)||47.3%|
|Isaiah Joe (OKC)||47.1%|
|Brandon Ingram (NOP)||46.7%|
|Al Horford (BOS)||46.6%|
|Grant Williams (BOS)||46.5%|
|Luke Kennard (LAC)||46.3%|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (DEN)||46.1%|
|Jerami Grant (POR)||45.3%|
|Desmond Bane (MEM)||45.1%|
Three of the NBA’s top-10 most efficient three-point shooters play for the Celtics. This team is stacked.
Malcolm Brogdon has been a huge addition to this club, and his 3.9 three-pointers made per game are massive for this club’s offensive efficiency. We can also see how much the two big men, Al Horford (46.6 percent) and Grant Williams (46.5 percent), contribute.
In terms of betting, keep the Celtics in mind for three-point props. The OVER/UNDER lines might be inflated, but given the way this offense keeps raising the bar, you can probably still find value in hammering the OVERs.
Jayson Tatum’s Rise To MVP Status
It’s amazing we’ve gotten this far without mentioning the rise of superstar Jayson Tatum. The 24-year-old is the heartbeat of this team, and he looks better than ever in 2022-23 for a variety of reasons.
Tatum is averaging a career-high 30.2 PPG but has also improved in other areas, especially on defense. The Duke product is averaging one block per game (up from 0.6 BPG last year) and snagging 8.3 rebounds per game (up from 8.0 last year). Those might seem like marginal improvements, but when you combine his all-around improvements with a career-high shooting clip (.470) and an NBA-high 37.0 minutes per game, we’re talking about a basketball demi-god in the making.
All of Tatum’s success has rocketed him to chalk status in the NBA MVP odds at +250, making him the favorite over the likes of Luke Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Jayson Tatum MVP Odds Tracker
Just for some laughs, let’s peek at Tatum’s value before the season began. Here are the odds as of October 18. Keep in mind, he’s now the +250 favorite, per Sportsbook.
|Player||Odds To Win NBA MVP|
|Luka Doncic (DAL)||+400|
|Joel Embiid (PHI)||+600|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)||+650|
|Kevin Durant (BRK)||+850|
|Nikola Jokic (DEN)||+900|
|Jayson Tatum (BOS)||+1200|
|Ja Morant (MEM)||+1400|
|Steph Curry (GSW)||+1400|
Look at all that juicy value on Tatum at +1200. If you were smart enough to lay a wager before the season, congrats, you may get a hefty payout by season’s end.