Some terrific research over by Chris Forsberg at ESPNBoston.com as far as it pertains to what could be considered a part of the game that is hard to measure by the numbers. The value of a good pick. We’ll start with a quote from Doc from yesterday’s postgame.
“We’ve got to set better picks. I think our pick-setting is horrendous right now. We have one pick-setter on the team and that’s Kevin [Garnett].”
Allen finished with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting Sunday. After attempting only two first-half shots, he came out cold after intermission and missed all three shots he put up in the third quarter. The Celtics are doing little to get him open and even less to get him going.
Consider this: Allen is averaging a mere 9.1 shots per game over his last 10 contests, never launching more than 11 shots in that span. This from a player who has averaged 15.7 shots per game during his career, including roughly 12.2 shots per game both this season and last.
What’s more, according to Synergy Sports, Allen ranks second in the NBA in field goals attempted off of screens (350 field goal attempts) and on those plays is tops among qualifiers (more than 200 plays) in both field goal percentage (45.4 percent) and points per play (1.04). Allen also ranks among the top four players in the league averaging 4.4 shots off screens per game.
It’s worth noting that Allen is averaging only 2.2 attempts off screens per game over his last five games. And since the Kendrick Perkins trade, he’s down from 4.7 attempts per game to 3.6. Perkins was one of the team’s top pick-setters.
So who are the culprits for this subpar screen setting? Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green, Glen Davis. Jermaine O’Neal. Take a number. Allen is the guy whose struggles are magnified the most by the lack of solid screens, since he relies on them so much for his game, but the lack of strong picks has had a trickle down effect for the rest of the offense, which has dropped to an all-time low in the Big Three era with a 106.4 offensive rating, good for a mere 19th overall in the NBA.
It’s just one thing on a laundry list of problems facing this team right now, but for an offense predicated on precision, it’s a disturbing trend with no easy fix. Green and Krstic lack the strength to set the kind of screens that Perk would. Davis and O’Neal should be able to, but are battling slump and health problems of their own right now that are affecting all facets of their game. In any case, going forward keep an eye on just how well this team is holding their ground on these screens, and how much of an effect it has on the offense.