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Kevin Garnett is just as important near the basket on offense as he is on defense.Kevin Garnett got credited with a season-high six "plays" (possessions ending in either a turnover, field goal attempt, or generated free throws) in post-up situations in Sunday's win over the Washington Wizards, according to Synergy Sports data.
That doesn't sound like much, but consider this: Those six posts accounted for 11.5 percent of Boston's total post plays (52) this season through five games. Overall, Garnett has accounted for 34.6 percent of the team's total post plays, averaging 0.827 points per play (which ranks him in the top third in the league in such situations).
The Celtics as a team are gravitating further and further away from the basket, relying on more perimeter jumpers in recent seasons, which to most teams would be lower percentage shots. Alas, Boston simply happens to be one of the better jump shooting teams (including this season -- through five games, the Celtics rank third in the league, having turned 193 jump shot plays into 199 points, or a solid 1.03 points per play).
But coach Doc Rivers was incredulous after his team scored 104 points on Christmas Day despite not engaging in a what he deemed was a single post-up play (Synergy data suggests Boston actually posted four times, still an alarmingly low number). Rivers wanted to see his team post more after that game, but it hasn't exactly been a race to the blocks.
Beyond Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal (10 plays), Brandon Bass (9), and Paul Pierce (4) are the only Celtics averaging more than a post per game. The Celtics want to see Marquis Daniels (5) do it more often, especially given his size advantage on most defenders, and even Rajon Rondo (2) as well.
But it's pretty obvious that if Garnett isn't going to go to the post consistently, no one on the team will. As well as the Celtics have shot the ball in recent seasons, they simply can't rely on jump shots to consistently win games, especially in the playoffs. There needs to be more post offense.
And it's no surprise that Garnett had his best game of the season on the heels of those six post plays Sunday night. Heck, he missed three of his six attempts there (hitting two jumpers and getting fouled on another), but good things simply happen when he's around the basket.
It needs to happen more often moving forward, and maybe it'll inspire his teammates to post more as well.