One Team, One Stat: A Boost from Isaiah

VIDEO: Schuhmann’s Advanced Stats: Boston Celtics’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2015-16 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Boston Celtics, who got an offensive boost with a deadline trade.

The stat


The context

20151021_bos_basicsAfter the Celtics acquired him in a deadline trade, the difference between their offense with and without Isaiah Thomas on the floor was like the difference between having a top-3 offense or a bottom-10 offense.

A bottom-10 offense is what the Celtics had before the All-Star break. Brad Stevens is a good coach who did his best to create pace and space within the Celtics’ offense. But the team lacked any kind of go-to guy to create things on his own.

Thomas became that guy when he arrived. He played just 26 minutes per night off the bench, but he gave the offense a big lift when he entered the game. The Celtics didn’t shoot that much better when he was on the floor, but he helped them cut down on turnovers and get to the line much more frequently.


Thomas was almost solely responsible for the free-throw-rate increase. Among players who logged at least 1,000 minutes last season, he ranked fourth in made free throws per 36 minutes. And his FTM/36 was much higher with the Celtics (7.8) than it was in Phoenix (5.6).


The Celtics haven’t had a league average offense since the 2009-10 season. They still lack perimeter shooting, but David Lee‘s playmaking at power forward should give them a lift on that end of the floor.

A full season (and a few more minutes per game) from Thomas would help even more.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

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