Was Acquiring Kristaps Porzingis The Right Move For The Celtics?

Was Acquiring Kristaps Porzingis The Right Move For The Celtics?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

As we arrive at the NBA’s annual Draft Day, many around the league and at Massachusetts sportsbooks are still discussing the late-night deal that involved the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies.  

The deal saw those three NBA teams agree to a trade that sends center Kristaps Porzingis to the Celtics, guard  Marcus Smart to the Grizzlies and guard Tyus Jones to the Wizards, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

After the trade, BetMassachusetts.com decided to look at the teams who have acquired Porzingis and how they performed that following year to see how it impacted the team. Can we gather anything about how the Celtics will play across Massachusetts sports betting apps in 2023-24?  

Teams’ Performance Prior To & After Acquiring Porzingis

Year Team Record Offensive Rating Defensive Rating
2014-2015 New York Knicks 17-65 (15th in East)99.9 (29th of 30)110.0 (28th of 30)
2015-2016 New York Knicks 32-50 (13th in East)104.6 (24th of 30)107.6 (18th of 30)
2018-2019 Dallas Mavericks 33-49 (14th in West)109.4 (20th of 30) 110.7 (18th of 30)
2019-2020 Dallas Mavericks 43-32 (7th in West)116.7 (1st of 30) 111.7 (18th of 30)
2021-2022 Washington Wizards 35-47 (12th in East)111.1 (21st of 30)114.5 (25th of 30)
2022-2023 Washington Wizards 35-47 (12th in East)114.4 (22nd of 30)115.6 (21st of 30)


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How Much of a Difference-Maker Has Porzingis Been To Past Clubs?

During his 402-game NBA career with the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards, Porzingis has seen his career arc run the gamut — from can’t-miss NBA star to an overlooked member of an Eastern Conference afterthought that failed to make noise at sportsbooks like BetMGM Massachusetts.  

To his credit, Porzingis has reemerged as a dynamic scoring threat during his two-year run with the Wizards — averaging 22.1 and 23.2 points per game in the Nation’s Capital, while averaging 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game with the franchise.  

The issue is that the 7-foot-3 forward has done little to improve his previous teams’ offensive and defensive rankings during his tenures with those clubs — with the Knicks stalling out in both categories (going from 29th to 24th in offensive rating and 28th to 18th in defensive rating), while the Mavericks vastly improved offensively (from 20th to 1st in offensive rating) but remained stagnant defensively (starting and ending 18th in the NBA in defensive rating).  

The Wizards saw a similar evolution with Porzingis in the lineup, as the team’s offensive rating actually dropped (from 21st in 2021-22 to 22nd in 2022-23), while the team’s defensive rating slightly improved, from 25th to 21st in the league.  

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How Will Celtics Fare?

It’ll be interesting to see where the Celtics — who finished last season ranked atop the NBA in offensive rating (118.98) and third in defensive rating (112.28) finish in both camps after Year One of the Porzingis era. Soon after the trade, the Celtics odds to win the NBA Championship improved. 

Losing Smart, who finished 48th in the NBA in defensive win shares in 2022-23 (at 0.106), for Porzingis (who finished 149th leaguewide, at 0.078) will likely result in a drop for Boston on the defensive end of the floor. Whether the 27-year-old Latvian forward can energize Boston’s offense enough to overcome that defensive drop remains to be seen.  

For now, Smart’s nine-year, 581-game run with the Celtics has come and gone, with the Celtics’ front office making a move that could either propel the franchise to their first title in 15 years ... or push them further towards the middle of the pack in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.  

How do our friends at Caesars Sportsbook Massachusetts feel? The Celtics are currently +500 to win the 2024 NBA Finals, behind only the defending champion Nuggets (+450).

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Author

Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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