The NBA is gearing up for its restart in Orlando later this month after roughly four months off and because of that, the Celtics could be at a disadvantage.
Appearing on Dale & Keefe Monday, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix predicted there would be some bad shooting and that could hurt a team like the Celtics.
“I think the shooting percentage in these playoffs are going to be awful," he said. "I think they are going to be college basketball level. My opinion of college basketball is it sucks from top-to-bottom. It is going to be bad, bad shooting in these NBA playoffs and I think that is going to play well for teams that are able to score on the inside, that have great defenses, that have interior presences on both ends of the floor, like that is something to watch closely as we move forward — how teams are able to manufacture offense when those three-point shots aren’t falling because shooting is a perishable skill. If you haven’t shot the ball in three or four months, you are not going to get it back in three or four weeks.”
So does it hurt a team like the Celtics, who don't have much on the inside?
“I think it does," Mannix said. "Not only that, but they are a perimeter-oriented team. Their greatest strength comes with (Jayson) Tatum and (Kemba) Walker and (Jaylen) Brown and guys on the outside. They are going to have to be — not to get too deep in the weeds — but far more aggressive in paint scoring, far better at rebounding.
"I have said this before, I think Philadelphia is sitting pretty right now. Philadelphia in mid-March, they were a disaster. They were playing out the strings. Ben Simmons was done. Brett Brown had one foot out the door. Maybe Elton Brand, the GM, was going to get fired. Now, here they are. Ben Simmons is back and the Sixers look like a monster out there.”
Mannix also believes there will be a few surprises with perhaps a surprise team making a deep run.
“Nobody has any idea," he said. "Coaches are just getting, as we speak really, a first, second and third look at what their teams are going to be able to do, or what their players look like after a long layoff. You only get snippets right now from team released videos, but you look at Carmelo Anthony, it looks like he lost 20 pounds during this break. Rajon Rondo looked like the Incredible Hulk before he got injured last night. Guys are looking different, playing different and once you see them start to get into scrimmages, you are going to see what kind of basketball condition they are in.
“… Too much has changed and too much can change over the next month or so that it just makes it impossible not to expect something completely unpredictable. Maybe it is like the ’99 lockout year when you had the Knicks, the No. 8 seed go all the way to the NBA Finals. Maybe you have a team like the Portland Trail Blazers maybe shock somebody in the first round and make a run all the way to the Finals. I just think something loopy is going to happen because this is not what the NBA left off with. This is not where the teams left off in mid-March.”