Earlier this season, I wondered whether the Celtics could be a championship team while ranking near the bottom of the league in three of the so-called Four Factors of winning on offense—offensive rebounding rate, turnover rate and the number of free throws the team shoots per field goal attempt. Basically, the C’s weren’t grabbing offensive boards or getting to the line, and they were turning the ball over a lot.
At least one of those things has changed: As of now, the C’s rank 14th in the league in free throw attempts per field goal attempt. That ranking was in the high-20s two weeks ago.
The C’s attempted 20 or more free throws in just three of their first 10 games. They didn’t reach 30 FTAs once. Over the following 12 games, the C’s have attempted at least 20 free throws nine times and hit the 30 mark in five of those 12 games.
This has coincided with a re-emphasis on post play, and not just with Rasheed Wallace, whose three-point attempts per 36 minutes figure has fallen from a high of about 10.5 two weeks ago to 8.9 today. The C’s have been adamant about getting the ball into the hands of KG and Perk whenever either guy is guarded by a smaller defender. KG’s free throw attempts are way up, and Perk is playing the best offensive ball of his career.
Since the C’s lead the NBA in field-goal percentage on shots at the rim (about 65 percent), this is a good thing. And it is resulting in more free throw attempts, meaning the C’s offense has a diversity it lacked early on.
I like it. Watch out when Ray Allen starts hitting his threes.