The Boston Celtics in 2005-06

Posted on August 24, 2006 by


Paul Pierce is a good player.  Okay, he is a great player.  In 2005-06 he produced 17.3 wins, which ranked 12th in the NBA.  And last year was not a fluke.  Pierce has already produced more than 100 wins in his career and has never posted a level of productivity that was below average. 

When you look at Pierce, the first thing you might notice is his scoring.  Last season he averaged more than 26 points per game, a mark good for sixth in the league.  But scoring totals are not the whole story.  Pierce also scores efficiently.  Furthermore, Pierce rebounds well for his position.  In essence, he is one of those multi-dimensional players that one can see is good with or without the benefit of advanced statistical analysis.

Unfortunately, the rest of the Celtics in 2005-06 were not quite Paul Pierce.  As one can see HERE, all the Celtics not named Paul Pierce produced only 19.7 wins last season. So like Kevin Garnett, Pierce may not always be considered one of the best players in the game because his teammates are not very productive.

(For those who do not want to use the link, here is a table that Craig Fratrik put together for me that has the same information.)


Wins Produced per 48 Minutes

Wins Produced

Paul Pierce



Delonte West



Kendrick Perkins



Ryan Gomes



Wally Szczerbiak



Ricky Davis



Al Jefferson



Raef LaFrentz



Tony Allen



Dwayne Jones



Dan Dickau



Gerald Green



Michael Olowokandi



Marcus Banks



Orien Greene



Justin Reed



Mark Blount



Brian Scalabrine





Of course, not all of Pierce’s teammates are below average. Point guard Delonte West was a very productive player last season, producing 8.9 wins.  He was also very good on a per-minute basis.  An average player has a Wins Produced per 48 minutes (WP48) of 0.100.  West posted a WP48 of 0.178, primarily behind very strong shooting.  Other above average players included Kendrick Perkins, Wally Szczerbiak, Ryan Gomes, and Al Jefferson – although Szczerbiak, Gomes, and Jefferson were barely above the 0.100 mark. 

So the Celtics had a few good players last season.  What have they done this summer to improve?

The big move in the off-season was adding Sebastian Telfair.  Telfair is a point guard and former lottery pick.  Unfortunately he has not yet been a productive NBA player, primarily because his shooting efficiency is very low.  In Portland last year his Wins Production was actually below zero.  If Telfair simply replaces the departed Orien Greene, then the Celtics are not much worse off.  But if Telfair continues to produce at this level, and takes minutes from West, then the addition of Telfair hurts the Celtics prospects next season.

Beyond Telfair, the Celtics added aging big man Theo Ratliff. Ratliff has been a productive player in the past, but since missing much of 2001-02 in Atlanta, Ratliff has generally been a below average performer.  Again, if he takes minutes from Kendrick Perkins, and Ratliff maintains his lower levels of productivity, then this is not a move that helps.   

In sum, the Celtics had some very good players last year, but not enough to put a good team on the floor.  It is possible for the Celtics to field a starting line-up of above average performers this next season. Unfortunately the team has added two players from the Portland Trail Blazers, which you might remember was the worst team in the NBA in 2005-06.  If both Telfair and Ratliff play major minutes in 2006-07 – and these players do not play better — then the Celtics will probably not make significant progress in the standings in 2006-07.

— DJ