Sam Hauser was one of the early success stories of the Boston Celtics season; however, over the past few months, he’s struggled to maintain his early-season form and is seeing his role slowly diminish as a result.
In his January 15 article, NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg noted that Hauser looks to have lost the trust of the coaching staff and might be running out of time to cement his position within Boston’s rotation – which could cause Brad Stevens to look toward the trade market in search of adding a reliable wing to their depth chart.
“Hauser has been trying to pull himself out of a funk since the start of December. Second on team in plus/minus behind only Jayson Tatum over Boston’s first 21 games, Hauser is a team-worst minus-65 over the Celtics’ last 23 games. And no one else is really close to him…All of which makes you wonder if Stevens will think a little harder about a potential move to add a big wing before February’s trade deadline. Hauser can aid his own case with a January surge but his court time is eroding and it appears he has to re-earn Mazzulla’s trust,” Forsberg wrote.
Hauser has participated in 22 games since the start of December, averaging 3.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.6 assists per game while shooting 35.6% from the field and just 29.2% from the perimeter.
Celtics Warned Of Need For Robert Williams Insurance
According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, Brad Stevens should also be on the lookout for an additional big man that can operate as an insurance policy should Robert Williams suffer another injury.
“The trade deadline is Feb. 9, but depth doesn’t seem to be an issue with Williams back in the fold and playing consistently…Center is a tricky position because Mazzulla has to be cautious with the minutes of Al Horford and Williams, putting the onus on players such as Luke Kornet…Kornet has exceeded all expectations, but Stevens will have to determine whether the Celtics need another big man for support,” Washburn wrote.
Boston currently boasts Al Horford, Robert Williams, Luke Kornet, and Blake Griffin in their big man rotation, and as such, would likely need to move on from one of those bigs before acquiring a new body before the trade deadline.
Marcus Smart Has Strong Message For Payton Pritchard
During a recent interview with Masslive’s Brian Robb, Marcus Smart revealed what he’s been telling Payton Pritchard as the third-year guard has struggled for playing time.
“I’m constantly telling Payton every day, as bad as it may sound, it’s the truth, it’s reality, you have to live in reality,” Smart said via Brian Robb of MassLive. “You’re not playing on this team. You’re not getting the moments that you want, and you think you deserve [them] because we’re so stacked. But there’s 29 other teams watching you, and they understand your situation. They want to see how you handle this. I constantly tell him, ‘when your time is called, you go up there for your opportunity [and] take it because you might not ever get it again.’ That’s all we ask for Payton.”
With Jaylen Brown currently sidelined due to an abductor strain, Pritchard will get some additional opportunity to impress and hopefully earn himself a bigger role in the rotation, although it’s unlikely he will usurp Sam Hauser, as Boston continues to look for shooting with size.