Tiago Splitter in 2 games against the Celtics this season:
71% FG (15-21)
Tiago Splitter's averages for the season:
9.4 pts, 4.8 reb, .7 blk, .6 stl, .606 fg / .711 ft, 19.3 min
In short, Tiago has OWNED the Celtics in both meetings between the teams this season. Now, Tiago is a nice player. But the Celtics make him look like an All-Star. Other names you could mention are guys like Larry Sanders, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez, Greg Smith, and the list goes on.
I would argue that Tiago is a symbol of the Celtics' mediocrity. Why? He is tall, he is long, he is agile, he is skilled -- he can rebound, he has soft hands, he can finish inside, he's a solid defender, he can block some shots, and he's a solid passer.
He is both precisely the kind of player that the Celtics desperately need to add to play next to KG, and ALSO exactly the kind of player that they, as currently constructed, cannot deal with.
To put it a different way, another symbol of the Celtics' issues might be the following picture:
Soft on the outside, with nothing in the middle.
On offense, they rely disproportionately on long mid-range jumpers, and don't have anybody who can consistently get to the line or score in the post. The long two is the least efficient shot in the game, which is the main reason the Celtics don't have an elite offense despite the fact that they have the most prolific passer in the game running the point.
If you're going to take that many jumpshots, the least you can do is take (and make) a lot of threes. That's what the '08 and '10 teams did, by the way, much more so than this year's squad. It's also how the Knicks keep winning. Though they also have Tyson Chandler to make Ray Felton look like an All-Star and J-Kidd look like he's 35 again.
On defense, KG holds the team defense together, and is still very good at shutting down plays, but he can only do so much. He's also no longer much of a threat as a shot blocker, and struggles mightily to defend the rim against guards once they get past the matador perimeter defenders (Rondo), and slice into the paint.
Are the Celtics doomed? By no means. But it's hard to envision a drastic turnaround until this team finds some kind of answer inside.