Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla didn’t trust in his end-of-the-bench contributors in the backcourt, frontcourt, or on the wing during the 2023 postseason, and CelticsBlog’s Robbie Hodin believes it cost the team big when it mattered most — potentially costing the team a deeper run in the playoffs.
“Even though players on these second and third units had significant regular season roles, they basically all got buried on the bench during playoff time,” Hodin prefaced before saying, “And honestly, I think that was a mistake by Mazzulla. There’s this assumption that Hauser, Pritchard, and Kornet can’t play during the playoffs, but I simply don’t buy it. Each of them brings valuable, translatable skills that I think could have been quite useful for the Celtics last season, even if only to give the stars a quick breather. And this season, some of these guys will presumably get a chance to play bigger, more meaningful minutes.”
With the Celtics sacrificing depth for the sake of higher top-end talent this offseason — with the trade of Marcus Smart and Kristaps Porzingis, the sign-and-trade of Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks, and the late-offseason swap of Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams III to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jrue Holiday — there will seemingly be more of an emphasis on Payton Pritchard at the 1 and Luke Kornet at the 5 during the regular season. Sam Hauser, though, may not be so lucky…
Boston Celtics added competition on the wing behind Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum
Several wings were brought in to compete with Hauser this offseason, including Oshae Brissett, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, and Lamar Stevens; the latter two of whom could make Hauser tradeable for teams looking for shooting ahead of the regular season or after an injury during it.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have one less forward behind them in the rotation with the versatility loss of the former No. 12 Williams, but that’s assuming the minimum signings won’t have a similar impact. That certainly cannot be assumed.
Mazzulla has the chance to right a lot of wrongs from his accidental first season in charge, one caused by an unthinkable scandal involving Ime Udoka, by figuring out what depth will be the most complementary to the C’s star-studded starting lineup.