Boston Celtics: Why Mickael Pietrus Needs to Step Up for the Celtics to Contend

Patrick BusconeSenior Analyst IMay 13, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MAY 04:  Mickael Pietrus #28 of the Boston Celtics reacts during action against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half of Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Throughout the playoffs, the Celtics have played well as a team. However, they have done so with virtually no help from swing-man Mickael Pietrus off the bench. Aside from some effective defense, Pietrus has brought little to this Celtics team. 

So far in the playoffs, Pietrus has shot just 4-15 from the floor including 2-13 from three. Those shooting numbers are abysmal, especially for someone who prides them-self on being a three-point specialist. In a way though, Pietrus' infatuation with the three-point shot has been a cause of some of his troubles. 

He has played most of his career from behind the arc, but it seems that in these playoffs, he is spending an inordinate amount of time drifting behind the three point line. Nearly all of his shots have come from three and all of his misses have come from deep. 

In the playoffs, he has attempted just two two-point field goals, a reverse layup to end a quarter, and a put-back dunk. He is 2-2 from two. Still though, it is as if he refuses to shoot two point shots unless he absolutely has to. 

A perfect example was in Game 1. He got the ball behind the arc, let a defender go by with an up fake, then instead of driving the wide open lane, and I mean wide open, he stepped back for a three. Sure, if that shot goes in, he's a hero, but at some point, Pietrus needs to start making the simple play.

His three-point shot hasn't been falling and if you talk to any great shooter, they will tell you that the only cure for poor shooting is getting easy shots and seeing the ball go in the hoop. Continuing to jack up threes while he is struggling will not help Pietrus. 

I honestly don't think he has even attempted to drive to the hoop at all in the past seven games. In the postseason, Pietrus is the only player to have not attempted a single free throw with over a hundred minutes of play. It's not like he is incapable of driving to the hoop or drawing fouls either. 

Pietrus is certainly capable of being a complete game-changer with his three point shot, defense, rebounding and occasional good takes to the hoop. In order for the Celtics to seriously contend for Banner 18, they will need Pietrus to be that game-changer. 

In 2008, James Posey was in the same position as Pietrus and he was one of the most important players on that championship team. Posey became a force in the postseason by doing exactly what Pietrus was built to do: play tough defense and hit big shots (mostly threes) on the other end. 

We know Mickael can do it too.

In 2009, he was one of the main reasons the Orlando Magic made it to The Finals.

In 2012, he could again be one of the main reasons why his team makes it to The Finals. All he needs to do is get his offense going through easier shots, then hit back-breaking threes while still playing stingy defense on the defensive end.

I am confident he is the man for the job and that he will pull it together. Now it is just a question of when he will start swaying games in the C's favor, rather than if.