By J.D. Anderson
Greg Monroe keeps giving the Celtics everything most observers had hoped for — and more. The tough veteran has acclimated himself quickly and shaken off any rust from his temporary exile to Phoenix.
per 36 mins: 18.3 points, 3.4 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks. .539 TS%, .771 free throws.
Advanced: ORtg 103, DRtg 98, Blk% 3.1, Stl% 2.9, BPM 2.0, VORP 0.4, WS/48 .137.
"Moose" indeed. pic.twitter.com/x6WE8BPAJ1
— Celtics247 (@celts247) April 5, 2018
(Quick fact check reveals that, yes, there is an NBA franchise there.)
In 22 games with the Celtics, Monroe is averaging 18.3 points, 3.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 12.2 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes.
He’s also put up a .539 true shooting percentage and is hitting at a .771 clip from the line.
You prefer advanced stats? ORtg 103, DRtg 98, Blk% 3.1, Stl% 2.9, BPM 2.0, VORP 0.4, WS/48 .137.
The defense is particularly impressive. Those steal and block numbers are close to and above career highs for Greg Monroe.
He’s applying what we like to call the Monroe Doctrine (no opposing-team interference in the Celtic hemisphere) at both ends of the floor.
Jaylen, Jayson rising
Celtics fans were pining for an increased offensive role for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum even before the injury rash turned into a full-scale plague in March. Then came Kyrie Irving‘s surgery, Marcus Smart‘s thumb, Al Horford and Shane Larkin miscellani, and more.
In March and April — mostly without Kryie or Smart, and sometimes, without Shane Larkin or Terry Rozier — Brown’s usage rate jumped to 23.0. But his true-shooting percentage rose with it (.599), as did Brown’s efficiency from 3-point range (.476) and the free throw line (.827).
Over the same span (15 games for Tatum), Jayson Tatum raised his scoring average to 16.4 points per game. His true shooting percentage rose back to .579 after a January-February lull at .495. From 3-point land, .415. His usage rate, like Brown’s, topped 23 percent. With increased playmaking duties, Tatum’s assists (2.4 per game) are also climbing, though so are his turnovers (more than 2 per game).
You need a basket when it really counts? Brown and Tatum are 1-2 on the Celtics at clutch-time shooting. And don’t @ us about limited sample size until you check out the report: it’s bigger than you think.
Rest-of-the-roster player notes
Marcus Morris suffered a one-game shooting slump, hitting 4 of 13 against the Bucks. But he bounced back against Toronto Wednesday, shooting 7 of 14 to lead the team with 21 points. “I’ve gotta play better,” he said, post-game, noting that he also had an uncharacteristic five turnovers.
Aron Baynes continues to lead the NBA in defensive rating (97.1), closely followed by Royce O’Neale and Dejounte Murray (among players with qualifying minutes played). Lately, though, he’s re-found his shooting touch, particularly on those mid-range jumpers that stretch opposing defenses. Baynes is shooting .521 from the floor since the all-star break.
Kadeem Allen scored his first points as a Celtic Tuesday in Milwaukee. He’s struggled from the floor (1 for 8), but to us, his sheer stroke looks pretty good. So does his footwork and sheer athleticism, showcased on a nice strip of Giannis in Milwaukee.
The Celtics signed Xavier Silas after Irving’s nagging knee pain forced him to rest, and then, to a surgeon. Brad Stevens told him, tongue-in-cheek, that given who he was replacing, Boston would expect him to put up 24 points a game. In his second action as a Celtic Wednesday, Silas didn’t quite meet that goal. But in 7 minutes, he made a nice steal, and gathered two rebounds. Silas was also the only player on the team without a negative plus-minus in the Raptors drubbing.