The Needed Swede: The Rise of Jonas Jerebko


The modern NBA offense is built on floor spacing. Just ask the NBA’s two best teams: the Golden State Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks. Both teams employ big men (Draymond Green for the Warriors, Paul Millsap and Mike Scott for the Hawks) who can shoot threes. This spacing allows low post players more space to work, spreads the defense out more, and opens up more area for dribble penetration. Every team needs to be able to make threes because a three point shot will always be worth more than a two point shot. The Celtics have  a big man who is shooting 55% from three and his name is Jonas Jerebko.

Jerebko (along with Luigi Datome) was acquired in a trade with Detroit for Tayshaun Prince. He’s quickly proving himself as a valuable rotation player to Brad Stevens and this rest of this Celtics team. The 28 year old Swede is averaging 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Celtics in 16.8 minutes. He’s excelling in Brad Steven’s fast-paced, reactionary offense.

The Celtics have jumped from 96.2 points per game in the 2013-2014 season to 100.9 in 204-2015. They’re also attempting almost three more three pointers a game than they did last year. As this offense improves Jerebko will become more and more valuable. If he can continue to hit threes at around 40% then he’s incredibly useful on offense.

According to Basketball Reference, Jerebko’s offensive rating/100 possessions is an astronomical 138. This is obviously based on a small sample size, but it shows Jerebko has really lit it up as a Celtic. His shooting will force defenders to focus on him and allow Zeller, Olynyk, and Sullinger higher percentage shots at the basket. Jerebko also can slide to the small forward position; allowing the Celtics to play Jerebko and two bigs at one time while also keeping three point shooting on the floor.

Finding a big man who can shoot threes in the NBA is rare. Jerebko is one of those players. Brad Stevens and Celtics have seen his worth as a player. He is finally starting to shine after inconsistent minutes playing for Detroit. Now that the team sees Jerebko’s value they must decide if they want keep him after this season. If he keeps this good play up throughout the rest of the season expect to see Jerebko as a valuable role player this season and beyond.

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Corey McPherron
Corey is a sophomore at Appalachian State University studying Political Science. An avid NBA fan, Corey has grand aspirations of becoming the Celtics GM when Danny Ainge retires.
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