The Boston Celtics believe they can win the championship. They have the best record in the NBA and the top point differential after 41 games. Boston remade their roster in the offseason in hopes of winning it all, and the franchise should be all-in on boosting their title odds at the trade deadline.
The Celtics have the best top six, and their roster is mostly set. They would love to add a bit more depth, but they are not trading Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, or Al Horford. Boston is counting on those six to carry the mail and help them take the next step. Payton Pritchard is most likely to be moved because of his contract, but Boston may have to ride it out with their current group.
The midway point of the regular season is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and evaluate their performance. The Celtics are mostly exceeding expectations, but a few players are underperforming. Here is a look at who stands out.
Exceeding expectations: Sam Hauser
There were questions about Hauser sticking in the rotation in the preseason after Boston added Oshae Brissett, Svi Mykhailiuk, Lamar Stevens, Dalano Banton, and Jordan Walsh in the summer. They were searching for wing depth, but Hauser won the job as their seventh man.
The 6’8 wing is an elite shooter, and the Celtics are fine with teams trying to hunt him on defense. They believe in his defense and his role is not diminishing anytime soon.
Hauser’s stats may not leap off the screen, but he will sink open shots and give them consistent minutes whenever his number is called. The Boston Celtics want to run an eight-man rotation in the playoffs, and the 6’8 wing has secured one of those spots.
He is far from the only Celtic exceeding expectations and not all of them are producing the best counting stats of their career.