Celtics Stars Urged Rotation Change During the Playoffs: Report

Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

Getty Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

According to a June 1 report, both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were catalysts in Grant Williams returning to the Boston Celtics rotation during the postseason.

As reported by The Athletic’s Jared Weiss and Jay King, both Tatum and Brown believed that Williams’ defensive versatility and perimeter scoring were key to the Celtics’ chances of success in the playoffs.

“Williams’ playing time was sporadic from that point forward and he again fell out of the rotation when the playoffs began,” Weiss & King reported. “But the team’s veterans believed Williams would be crucial in the playoffs, so Tatum and Brown met with Mazzulla in early March to implore him to put Williams back into the rotation, team sources told The Athletic.”

Williams, 24, had been struggling for a consistent role within the Celtics rotation since the All-Star break, as Sam Hauser appeared to have ousted him in the rotation due to his ability to score on the move and suck team’s into isolation offense as they looked to target him via mismatches.

“The coaching staff believed in Hauser’s offensive production and felt that because opponents were going out of their way to target him and abandon their own offense, his ability to hold up decently in isolation made him impactful,” the article continued.

However, once Williams was injected back into Boston’s postseason plans, he instantly began to prove his worth, playing admirable defense on 2023 MVP Joel Embiid while also providing a reliable outlet in the corners. Unfortunately, as the playoffs progressed, and the Celtics were faced with clawing their way back from a 3-0 deficit to the Miami Heat, Williams’ impact on games began to wane.

Ultimately, the Celtics failed to overcome such a slow start to their Eastern Conference Finals series, losing to Miami in seven games.

Grant Williams’ Future Remains a Mystery

Before the postseason began, Grant Williams sat down for an interview with HoopsHype’s Sam Yip, where the topic of his impending restricted free agency was discussed.

“Nah, you got to focus on today, brother,” Williams said. “You can’t focus on tomorrow, can only focus on what’s in front of you. For me, it’s always been about playing to the best ability that I can and winning as many titles as I can while I’m here. So after that, whatever happens, this free agency cycle, that’ll be determined this summer after, hopefully, we got the ring in my hand. So that’s the main priority. No. 1 is focused on getting this ring first.”

During Boston’s run to the 2020 NBA Finals, Williams was a core contributor, but as Joe Mazzulla began to prioritize offense, the versatile ‘tweener’ slipped through the cracks due to his budding reputation as a defensive wing-stopper.

Multiple Teams Could Hold Interest in Williams

According to an Eastern Conference GM who spoke with Heavy on Sports’ Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, there will be multiple teams who attempt to pry Grant Williams away from the Celtics this summer.

“Orlando is the one that keeps coming up because that team is trying to turn a corner,” The GM said. “Utah could make things difficult, too, because he has a relationship with Danny Ainge. There is not a lot of cap space out there, though, and that is going to be the tricky thing for Grant—how can he push the Celtics to give him a big offer if there is no one out there to give the Celtics something to match.”

Fortunately for Boston, Williams is a restricted free agent, giving them the ability to match any offer sheet their former 22nd-pick signs, although there will clearly be a limit as to what the front office is willing to pay him in terms of average annual value.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments