Defensive improvement for Boston Celtics No. 2) Go small
With Daniel Theis starting at center, the Boston Celtics had an abnormal amount of defensive success despite the german standing no taller than Jayson Tatum.
Their success stemmed from their speed, as they were one of the most active defensive groups in the league and hounded opposing offenses on every possession.
After trading Theis at the deadline, Boston forfeited its flexibility to play small ball.
It’s time Brad Stevens and Ime Udoka bring the small ball back.
It has its place, and it can prove to be a crucial asset for the Celtics, especially come playoff time. It’s easier to switch and counter lineups that have five shooters on the court. Boston can be more active and aggressive, knowing their five is faster and more agile.
The Boston Celtics don’t have to go out and acquire a small-ball five, necessarily.
Sure, Larry Nance Jr or Maxey Kleber would be amazing, but the likelihood of Boston netting either is slim.
Instead, the franchise can go back to what they were doing in 2019-20 and play Grant Williams at the five.
Williams would make an even more proficient five with his shooting improvement than he was his rookie season. He’s not good enough to play the four, and he doesn’t need to play a heavy amount of minutes to make an impact.
From a management perspective, Grant Williams is a cheap and proven option as a small-ball five.
He’s still on his rookie-scale contract and is looking for redemption after having a terrible sophomore season.
If Williams works out, the Celtics can either deal him when his value is highest or keep him to support the team next season when they have to be aware of how much they spend on their role players.
If he doesn’t work out, he can easily be traded, and Boston can bring in another small ball five with more experience.