Why Kevin Love makes Boston Celtics a contender

My least favorite part of having a job is performance reviews. Not that I mind being evaluated or told what I could be better at, that part I’m fine with, it’s the part about setting goals in regard to subjective matters.

The questions are usually, “How can you be better?” “What are the areas you can improve upon?” And, “what goals do you have to improve your performance?” The problem is, rarely are these questions ever associated with something that can actually be measured. And when it can be, most of the time, those measurements are dependent on other employees and outside forces.

That’s one reason I love statistics when it comes to sports. Everything is measurable. And the reason I love advanced statistics is that they often account for outside forces such as playing time, pace, and teammates. So, when we say the Boston Celtics need to improve their roster, we can take a look at some statistics to see exactly how they need to improve.

For this article, I took a look at the past five NBA champions, along with the player efficiency rating for the starting lineup.

NBA Champions' PER vs '13-'14 Boston Celtics

NBA Champions’ PER vs ’13-’14 Boston Celtics

I found that over the last five years, the average combined PER for the starting lineup was 92.6. This number was produced by being more or less evenly distributed between the starters’ PER, like the ’13-’14 Spurs or the ’10-’11 Mavericks, or concentrated on two or three stars, like the ’12-’13 Heat or the ’09-’10 Lakers. The ’13-’14 Celtics had a combined PER of 72.2. The gap of improvement the Celtics need to bridge is vast.

This is why Kevin Love is so appealing. Love was third in PER last year with a 26.97. Replacing Sullinger with Love is the quickest way to improve the roster. If Rajon Rondo can produce a 19 PER, his highest PER produced, and if Avery Bradley simply manages to get to a 15, which is league average (and with what he’s going to be paid, he better be at least league average), replacing Sullinger with Love would bring the Celtics’ PER to 89. That is based on last year’s number for Green and Bass, which only requires Bass to be average and Green to be below average.

With a combined PER of 89, the Celtics would have a higher PER than both the Lakers and Mavericks when they won the title. Obviously, five years is a small sample size, and reaching that range of PER will not guarantee a title, but at least it gives the organization a measurement upon which to gauge their improvement upon. Love might not be the answer, but at least advanced statistics can help us gauge a team’s past performance and help set meaningful goals on how to improve a team.

  • chris

    i think you are crazy and stupid about getting rid of sully. he is two years into his career and is already getting better every season. he will be like kevin love in three years so why get rid of him. they need to stop making him play center and play his natural spot and he will get the job done. kevin love is really great and would love to see him in boston tho.

  • Cosmo

    maybe if you explained what PER is we would know more

  • CelticJay

    This is one of those threads where if you post something contrary…. it gets deleted. Let’s try again. The game is played on the court not a computer. Unless teams have identical schedules, playing time/rotations never change and injuries don’t happen… PER is a meaningless stat.. almost like trying to compare players across eras. This is especially true in the postseason when you play the same team and make adjustments based on matchups and advantages. PER is individual stat.

  • CelticJay

    Cosmo, PER is Player Efficiency Rating – a measure of an individual’s statistical performance during the minutes he plays. The stat attempts to incorporate not only offense but also defense for comparison purposes. Think of the stat WHIP in Baseball which measures a Pitcher’s effectiveness (Walks+HIts/Innings Pitched) – per nine innings. WHIP is more telling because the Pitcher has the most individual impact on a game of any position. In hoops, it’s a team game where all five players impact the game offensively and defensively.