The Celtics looked poised to be an offensive powerhouse entering the 2018-19 season, with a collection of former All-Stars and highly-capable shooters to flank around them. Austin Ainge called them the deepest team in the league. Yet, for the first few weeks of the regular season, scoring was the team’s biggest problem amid a 10-10 start. The Celtics ranked among the bottom five offenses in the NBA through mid-November, scoring at a pace that put them below last year’s offense that was missing key contributors like Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving for a huge chunk of the season.
While progress has not been apparent in the win-loss column until this past week, the Celtics’ offense has been slowly but surely making gains over the past 10 contests following a putrid start. They played their best three offensive games of the year in the past week (in part due to a starting lineup shift), pushing them to the 20th overall in the NBA in points per possession, digging themselves out of the NBA basement. However, a closer look over the last 10 games shows that the team’s offensive progress goes back even further. They rank 9th in the NBA over that stretch, scoring 110 points per 100 possessions, a mark that would have been a top-6 offense over the course of 82 games last year.
So what team is the real deal? The offense we saw over the first ten games that flirted with last year’s subpar production? Or the efficient group that we’ve seen over the past 10 games that is scoring like the Warriors? A closer look at the five numbers over that stretch indicates the latter is what we are in store for over the next 59 games.