The calendars may have changed, but much of what haunted the Boston Celtics in 2021 continues to plague the Cs in the New Year — namely shooting. While Boston has shown a bit more consistency from beyond the arc during their back-to-back victories over Phoenix and Orlando, the Celtics still rank just 24th overall in three-point percentage (33.3). Not ideal for a team who is among one of the NBA’s more trigger-happy teams from deep, attempting 36.5 3-point attempts per game (11th-overall).
As for how the Celtics may be able to boost their efficiency, many have proposed Brad Stevens dangle guard Dennis Schroder on the trade market as a way to yield a sharpshooter in return. On an expiring deal and no Bird rights, Schroder is viewed in many circles as the most likely trade casualty on the Celtics’ roster ahead of the February 10 deadline. However, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz isn’t ready to halt Schroder’s tenure in Beantown just yet.
Eric Gordon Headlines Shooters Celtics ‘Should’ Target
Instead, of dealing away their prized free-agent steal, Swartz believes the Celtics’ New Years’ resolution in 2022 should be to beef up the roster around the likes of Schroder, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum:
Two seasons ago, the Celtics were in the Eastern Conference Finals. Today, they sit at 16-19 and in 10th place in the East. Splitting up the star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should remain on the back burner, even if it wouldn’t hurt to listen to phone calls. Instead, Brad Stevens’ resolution should be to add some shooters to this roster — There’s too much talent on Boston’s roster for the team to be this bad. Adding a shooter or two would make a big difference.
As for who those shooters might be, Swartz urges the Celtics to target four specific trendy names on the trade market, including former NBA Sixth-Man of the Year, Eric Gordon:
Targets should include players like Eric Gordon (45.1 percent from three), Luke Kennard (44.2 percent), Bryn Forbes (40.8 percent) and Mike Muscala (44.3 percent). All would bring some much-needed floor spacing and give Tatum, Brown and Dennis Schroder options to kick the ball out to when driving…
Grant Williams is the only rotation player shooting above 38.1 percent from three, with two starters (Al Horford and Marcus Smart) connecting on 29.2 percent or worse of their attempts. A third starter, Robert Williams III, hasn’t made a three-pointer (albeit on just two tries) in his four-year career… The Celtics have young talent, draft picks and a trio of notable trade exceptions ($17.1 million, $9.7 million and $5 million) to go shopping with, however.
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Rockets Being ‘Patient’ With Potential Trade of Gordon
Gordon, who turned 33 years old on Christmas day, doesn’t exactly appear to fit into the youth movement currently underway in Houston. The Rockets are 10-28 on the season and building around the likes of youngsters Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.
Shooting a career-best 45.2% from 3-point range this season and one of the league’s better defensive wings, one would think that playoff contenders would be drooling at the prospect of adding such a veteran presence to their lineup. However, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explained back on December 14, Gordon’s value to the Rockets may be worth more than anything they could get in return for the Indiana native on the trade market:
There has not seemed a pressing inclination to move the next-highest-paid veterans on the roster, Eric Gordon and Christian Wood.
As was the case last summer, Gordon’s value seems greater to the Rockets on the floor than in whatever return he would draw in a trade. In December, teams tend to look for bargains. The Rockets, happy not just with Gordon’s play but the influence of his professionalism and work ethic on his young teammates, appear willing to be patient.