Sam Hauser is for real: Time for the Boston Celtics to give him a bigger role

Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /

Due to Danilo Gallinari’s potentially season-ending ACL tear in early September, former undrafted free agent from the University of Virginia, Sam Hauser, has the opportunity to demonstrate why he deserves a role in an NBA rotation. While the Boston Celtics collapsed in the fourth quarter at home in the second preseason contest against the Raptors, Hauser was undoubtedly one of the many positives that came out of the game where Boston had won the portion that mattered.

Hauser played the most minutes of any player coming off the bench, shooting an astounding 8-12 from the field, and 5-8 from beyond the arc including a buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter.

33 points, 9/13 from downtown, while only giving away the ball on time through 45 minutes over two games on the garden floor. After seeing Matt Ryan find his way out of favor with Boston following a quality Summer League cameo, it was clear that Hauser is someone that the Celtics believe has the chance to be a quality rotational figure in their fight for that coveted 18th title.

Ryan was more of a creator, and someone that is more than just a standstill shooter, but due to the belief in Hauser long-term, Ryan is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. On top of Grant Williams’ addition of a three-point shot, Hauser adds another level to Boston’s perimeter attack: stretching the defense even more to give Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown space to get to the basket or pull up in front of the defense.

With Robert Williams III out for an extended period of time, Hauser is possibly the ninth or 10th player in Boston’s rotation for this upcoming season. He has the ability to be in the right place at the right time, and punish the opposition for giving him that much space when the Boston Celtics’ star duo forces the defense to collapse into the paint. Despite the past two games being meaningless, Hauser has proved that he can knock down shots against NBA-level closeouts, and equip some value to a team that had been looking for a game-changing shooter for many years.

Following the first preseason game against Charlotte, Luke Kornet spoke on Hauser’s growth, stating:

"“I’m really excited for Samuel David Hauser. And hopefully just to see him continue growing as a player. Coming from last year, I think he just got better, every step along the way, and I’m hoping that more opportunity kind of opens it up so that he can continue to do that.”"

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With the way that Malcolm Brogdon is finding his teammates in the early beginnings of the preseason, Sam Hauser is the perfect fit to be on the receiving end of Brodgon’s prolific vision between the lines. Brogdon has collected 18 assists through two games, and seven of them have found the hands of Hauser.

Some may say the Bucks should be the favorites in the Eastern Conference next season, but with the way Boston is passing the ball early on, and the way the former Buck fits into the system, the Celtics and new boss Joe Mazzulla are on track to put some of the strangest news in franchise history in the rearview mirror.

Hauser may not contribute more than 15 minutes in each game this season, but he has proved that he deserves a more consistent look in the regular season. In just five minutes on the floor, Hauser has the potential to turn the game on its head, and that is something that could be extremely valuable for Boston when it needs to begin to cut down an opponent’s lead.

The players around him will be tasked to create something on the offensive end, Hauser’s job is simply to find the holes around the perimeter to give the Boston Celtics an outlet when the opposing team pays far too much attention to Boston’s core pieces.

The former Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year signed a three-year, $6 million deal during the offseason. Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens may have realized that Hauser is everything he thought former lottery selection Aaron Nesmith was supposed to be before he was shipped off to the Pacers in the deal for Brogdon. Hauser participated in just 26 games in the previous season, but with his performances in practice and ability to knock down threes at an absurd rate, the organization is now forced to give even more attention to a player that was added following an uneventful night for the Celtics in the 2021 NBA Draft.

There are going to be plenty of questions if Hauser will be able to continue this kind of production, especially when the contest gets more serious in just a few weeks. Hauser’s story so far in the NBA has been the fact that he has been continuously doubted for the things that he can’t do. It is time for the Boston Celtics to realize that his value is far too high to not give him a more legitimate chance, especially with one of their off-season additions out for the entirety of the season. The first-team All-ACC selection in 2021 looks to have finally found his place in the NBA, and while it may not be a substantial amount of time, Hauser has given Mazzulla even more confidence in his talents after the front office backed the 24-year-old with a guaranteed contract over the summer.