Celtics’ Christmas wish list: Jayson Tatum’s shooting stroke and some good health

Truth be advised, the Celtics don’t want a lot for Christmas this yr. But that doesn’t imply the wealthy can’t get a little bit richer.

The Celtics have probably the greatest data within the NBA. They have, statistically, the very best beginning 5 within the league, and a second unit that has turn into deep and dependable. They’re nicely on their method to a high seed within the playoffs and their greatest likelihood at a championship since 2008.

So what might presumably be on the Celtics’ Christmas want listing this yr?

1. Good well being for Porzingis, Horford

This is paramount for the Celtics’ championship hopes, and was below a microscope on this week main as much as Christmas because the crew staggered relaxation for Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford in an effort to make sure their long-term well being.

There’s no query that the Celtics are a greater crew with Porzingis on the ground. Their beginning 5 with him had a plus/minus of plus-102 via 15 video games – second-best within the NBA – with a 14-1 file. He has match completely in Boston’s system. But the largest query mark with Porzingis has at all times been well being, which has proven up with the foot damage he suffered final summer time and now the calf pressure that has bothered him over the past month. The C’s should defend him in any respect prices all through the common season.

The 37-year-old Horford, too, have to be preserved. As good as he was final season, he wore down on the finish of the playoffs. He’s averaging 26.7 minutes per sport this season – about 4 minutes fewer than final yr – in a brand new sixth man function and the Celtics have continued to relaxation him on back-to-backs.

2. Rediscovering Tatum’s shot

The Celtics will get up on Christmas morning hoping they’ll unwrap Jayson Tatum’s capturing stroke, which has been unusually off the mark to begin the season.

Through 26 video games, Tatum is capturing a career-low 34.5 p.c from 3-point vary, persevering with a downward pattern over the past 4 seasons. Perhaps his shot choice can enhance. It appears that he’s settling for too many pull-up 3-pointers. Even extra perplexing? Tatum’s free throw share was at 79.5 p.c via 26 video games, considerably down from the 85.7 p.c mark he shot over the earlier three seasons.

3. An further huge man

The Celtics don’t actually have a important want as February’s commerce deadline approaches, but when Porzingis and/or Horford go down, they’re clearly in a troublesome spot. Could the Celtics profit from including yet one more huge man for insurance coverage’s sake?

Luke Kornet has been serviceable as a backup, however has limitations. Same with Neemias Queta, who has performed admirably in spot minutes on a two-way contract, and will actually find yourself getting that transformed to a typical contract sooner or later this season. But the C’s might need the means for an improve with the 6.2 million traded participant exception they generated via the Grant Williams commerce. It won’t be ready for them below the Christmas tree on Monday, however it might finally function a belated vacation present.

4. Home courtroom benefit

The Celtics are nonetheless the one remaining undefeated crew at house with a 14-0 mark. The key, after all, is sustaining that dominance at TD Garden into the spring, the place they’re 7-9 of their final 16 postseason video games. While Joe Mazzulla has not made an emphasis on successful at house, his gamers are taking pleasure in creating a house courtroom benefit. Perhaps they will obtain a present card that may get them the No. 1 seed within the Eastern Conference.

5. Some further All-Star tickets

Don’t blame the Celtics in the event that they need to get a little bit grasping this vacation season. As All-Star voting will get underway, they’ve 4 gamers – Tatum, Porzingis, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White – who needs to be worthy of a nod to the All-Star Game in Indianapolis. Tatum and Brown are apparent decisions to make their fifth and third appearances, respectively.

Porzingis and White every face challenges in being chosen as All-Stars in an Eastern Conference loaded with expertise, particularly White. His counting numbers don’t leap off the web page, however his play actually warrants consideration. They’ll hope Santa is feeling a little bit extra beneficiant and leaves just a few further tickets for Indy within the Celtics’ stockings.