On this episode, Ben and I appreciate the reintroduction of Marcus Smart, talk Mazzulla getting the fulltime gig, and hand out some very important awards. These awards are incredibly prestigious and the First to the Floor team doesn’t hand them out lightly. They are not, I repeat, they are not, completely arbitrary and totally meaningless. Let us know where we went wrong and who you’d select for these extremely prestigious awards.
The Marquis Daniels Award for Most Underrated
Winner: Al Horford
Here’s the number of big men that take as many or more threes than Al Horford and make a higher percentage: 0. The only bigs in the top-30 of 3-point field goals per game that shoot over than 40% from 3 are Lauri Markkanen, Kelly Olynyk, and Al Horford. Al’s 42.2% tops them all, oh, and he’s 6th among centers in attempts per game, more than Olynyk.
Among bigs that have played 20 or more games, opponent field goal percentage drops 5.7% when Horford is defending. That’s 6th among centers, and he contests the highest number of field goals among those 6. On defense, Al Horford is everywhere, and he’s impactful.
Having a big that can shoot, defend all 3 levels, and switch between the 4 and 5 on both ends is absurdly valuable. Yet, Al remains underrated because his counting stats have dipped considerably from his peak. Because of the invisible value of Al, he’s our most underrated player.
Honorable Mention: Luke Kornet
The Marcus Smart Award for Best Defensive Player
Winner: Derrick White
He leads the team in total number of blocks and is second behind Robert Williams in blocks per game. The defense is 2.8 points per 100 possessions worse when Derrick White isn’t out there. He’s regularly asked to chase off-ball shooters, navigate high ball screens, and switch onto bigs. He does all of that somewhere between good enough and elite.
White winning this one is a bit of a function of Rob not playing a ton and not completely being ROB! when he has, and Smart missing a bunch of games recently. I’m a slave to recency bias- I’m sorry.
Honorable Mention: Al Horford
The Ray Allen Award for Third Best Player
Winner: Derrick White
This one is a tossup, more than even Best Defensive Player. The thing with White is that the advanced stats and counting stats meet at a beautiful crossroads where there’s a picture of Derrick White having trouble hearing and repeating “one more game” over and over.
Per PbP Stats, the Celtics are over 8 points per 100 possessions better when Derrick White is on the court. If all in one metrics are your thing, he leads the team in 538’s RAPTOR and he’s second on the team in BBall Index’s LEBRON and ESPN’s Estimated Plus Minus. White is also 5th in PPG and 3rd in APG while only turning the ball over a measly 1.1 times per game despite operating as the nominal point guard often. He also hasn’t missed a game. The Derrick White trade is an absolute home run for Brad Stevens.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Smart
The Evan Turner Award for Best Comedic Performance and Locker Room Presence
Winner: Luke Kornet
The Kornish Game Hen, the Stromile Swift celly, nodding goofily to himself when he finishes a behind the back alley-oop. Kornet is a decent backup center mixed with a comedic genius.
Honorable Mention: Blake Griffin
The First to the Floor Award for Being First to the Floor Presented by First to the Floor
Winner: Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin has nothing left to prove in the NBA. He’s been All-NBA, multi-time All-Star, and lead competitive teams in scoring. He’s a borderline Hall of Famer that went #1 overall in the draft. Yet here he is, in a blowout against the Detroit Pistons, diving all over the floor to a raucous Boston crowd.
Blake has embodied everything we love about Celtics basketball the second he put on the jersey, and hopefully we get the man the one thing he’s waiting for, a ring.
Honorable mention: Marcus Smart
Hope you enjoy this episode, Ben and I really enjoyed giving out the awards and celebrating Joe getting the full-time gig. Please subscribe to the CelticsBlog podcast feed and the First to the Floor YouTube channel. Thanks for listening!