With the Celtics putting together their best start to a season since the 2007-08 championship season (over the first 10 games), I dove into the numbers to find what's real, areas of improvement and what to expect as the C's embark on their west coast swing.
1. Kemba Walker may have been better than we all thought: The numbers are staggering in the early going. He’s posting career-highs in 3-point percentage (44.4 percent), free throw attempts (5.9 per game) and rebounds (5.1 per game). His turnovers are down, his defense has been impressive and he’s on pace to have the best 3-point shooting season in Celtics history through ten games, after averaging an absurd 4.4 makes per game. His defense has fit in very well as someone who is a regular contributor to Boston’s consistent play on that end despite his size.
It’s easy to forget how much was put on him in Charlotte over the past eight years and the fact that he may have the three best teammates of his career playing next to him right now in Boston with Hayward, Tatum and Brown. It’s hard to measure those variables properly when you compare him to a guy like Kyrie Irving, who has played with top tier talent for the majority of his career. Ten games are too small of a sample size to make any grand proclamations, but it’s fair to say that the integration of Walker has come quicker than anyone could have hoped. Short of opening night, he’s risen to the occasion in every situation that this team has needed him and that’s been paramount to the team’s nine-game winning streak.
2. Jayson Tatum is shooting better from 3-point range than 2-point range: Amid a strong offensive start, Tatum is taking and making more 3s (6.2 per game) than ever while knocking down a superb 40.3 percent on that high volume. The encouraging news? His 2-point game has a lot of room for improvement. He’s shooting just 39.3 percent from the field overall, a number that has undoubtedly been pulled down by his 1-of-18 dud on Monday night. The early woes for Tatum have come predominantly at the rim (46.3 percent inside three feet), a number that is nearly 20 percent below his career average. Once those numbers return to the mean, Tatum’s will have the numbers of an All-Star when it comes to his offense.
3. Tatum remains a plus/minus monster: One thing that has been consistent about Tatum during his