Media members didn’t shy away from giving credit where credit is due for the Boston Celtics.
On the floor, the Celtics have done their part. Boston has assembled an early, league-best 29-12 record through it’s first 41 contests. This prompted the panelists to rightfully credit the Celtics in a series of categories during the latest NBA midseason survey.
Prior to Wednesday’s matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Celtics lead the league in several areas — offensive rating (117.1), net rating (6.2), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.97) and free-throw percentage (82.6%). And much of that success is primarily due to the MVP-caliber campaign from Jayson Tatum, who received his flowers individually in a few areas.
With that being said, here are the most noteworthy Celtics-related results, courtesy of NBA.com:
Q: Who will win the 2023 NBA Finals?
This is the most important question after all, right?
With Boston following up on it’s dissapointing finish against the Golden State Warriors, the Celtics have bounced back in strong fashion. They certainly had plenty of reasons to struggle heavily out the gate but didn’t. Whether it’d be the Ime Udoka fiasco or the Robert Williams and Danilo Gallinari injuries, the Celtics were never fazed. Even during the season, with front-court struggles and cold streaks, Boston has continued to respond to times of adversity.
During their latest win, against the San Antonio Spurs, the Celtics overcame a back-and-forth battle to come out in the win column. And interim head coach Joe Mazzulla was appreciative of the situation Boston found itself in, afterward.
“We needed a game like that to where it’s back-and-forth, things aren’t going our way, they are going our way,” Mazzulla said, per NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “You don’t get a lot of those.”
As a result, the Celtics finished with the most votes (57%).
Q: Who is on track to win the KIA MVP award this season?
As previously mentioned, the Celtics owe a lot of their success to the emergence of Tatum.
The 24-year-old has certainly done his part and has made the necessary adjustments to serve in a leadership role for the Celtics. Tatum has averaged a career-high 30.9 points with 8.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists through 39 games played. He’s also shot 47.2% from the field and has knocked down a career-best 10.1 field goal attempts per contest.
He’s also managed to climb up the all-time Celtics ladder in the process.
After the Celtics ended 2022 with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Tatum surpassed ex-Celtic Antoine Walker in 3-pointers made. At the time, Tatum marked 940 which placed him in the second-place spot in Celtics history.
Tatum (7%) finished tied for third with Giannis Antetokounmpo, behind Nikola Jokic (40%) and Luka Doncic (43%).
Q: Who is on track to win the KIA Sixth Man of the Year award?
Before the season even started, Malcolm Brogdon was recognized as a prime candidate for this award, according to the oddsmakers.
Now with half of the season in the books, Brogdon has lived up to the expectation. The veteran guard has debuted with Boston and done so with a team-first mindset. Brogdon has served as the reserve unit go-to man which has allowed Marcus Smart to maintain duties as the starting point guard. And while taking a backseat as someone who can start elsewhere isn’t easy, Brogdon has flourished.
The 30-year-old has averaged 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 47% from the field — Brogdon’s highest in four seasons. He’s also knocked down a career-high 44% of shots from beyond the arc on four attempts through 35 games.
Brogdon (23%) finished second behind Jordan Poole (33%).
Q: Who is on track to win Coach of the Year?
Again, with Udoka in hot water before the year, the Celtics were cornered and pulled the trigger via a season-long suspension.
The front office had to weigh the options of filling the role through an outsider and going with an in-house route. This put Boston in a tough spot which positioned former assistant Mazzulla for an out-of-the-blue promotion for the year. And overall, the move has paid dividends for the Celtics.
After the first month on the job, Mazzulla earned league-wide recognition. The 34-year-old was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November. Mazzulla was 22 games deep into his debut stint in the head-coaching role with Boston posting an 18-4 record to lead the NBA.
“I don’t think the staff gets enough credit for, you know since all this started, their ability to just buy in and push forward,” Mazzulla said after earning the award. “And so the guys we have are great as far as their work ethic. I think they build great relationships with the players.”
Mazzulla (23%) finished tied for second with Willie Green, behind Jacque Vaughn (43%).
Boston will host the Pelicans (25-16) to kick off the second half of the season. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.