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Celtics get high marks in new Bleacher Report season midpoint assessment

For all intents and purposes, the NBA as a whole has reached — or soon will — the halfway point of the league’s 2023-24 season. With that milestone finally upon us, we can begin to assess how the moves that the Boston Celtics and the other 29 teams in the league made in the 2023 offseason have impacted their play so far this season.

Over the course of the first 41 games that have been played by all 30 teams, trends, tendencies, and above all else, the results give us a baseline to judge how each team’s season is going relative to preseason expectations. To such an end, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey has given the Celtics high marks in a league-wide grading assignment along the lines laid out above.

“It’s hard to imagine things going much better for the Boston Celtics, who are top five in both points per 100 possessions and points allowed per 100 possessions,” writes Bailey.

“In a season packed with absurd individual performances, Jayson Tatum is still playing like a top-10(ish) player, and he’s surrounded by the best (and best fitting) supporting cast of his career,” suggests the B/R analyst.

“If defense were given a little more consideration, Derrick White would have a very real shot to make the All-Star team (and he might still get in with the coaches’ vote). Along with Jrue Holiday, he gives Boston the league’s best defensive backcourt. Kristaps Porzingis isn’t shooting the 3 well, but his defense, post game and the fact that defenses at least have to pay attention to him outside has opened up the floor for Tatum and the guards.”

“Put it this way, when Jaylen Brown, who’s averaging 23.1 points, is your fourth- or fifth-best player, you’re doing pretty well,” adds Bailey. (Though we aren’t inclined to agree with his ranking of the Georgia native, especially lately; we’d have him somewhere closer to second in recent weeks).

“Add Al Horford to the mix, and you get one of this season’s most common refrains among analysts: The Celtics have the NBA’s best top six,” writes Bailey. “But even that may not be doing them justice anymore.”

“Payton Pritchard has been one of the game’s steadier-handed backup 1s, and Sam Hauser’s 3-point shooting is legitimately game-changing. At this moment, it’d be hard to argue any eight-man rotation looks better.”

FINAL GRADE: A

Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3zBKQY6

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3GfUPFi

YouTube: https://bit.ly/3F9DvjQ

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire