The Celtics revamped a large portion of their roster this offseason with the acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. Bringing in two All-Star caliber players cost Boston four rotation players including starters Robert Williams and Marcus Smart along with some draft capital and that decision will put the remainder of the team’s bench into the spotlight.
Sam Hauser is one Celtic who got regular minutes last year as part of that second unit. However, as he enters year three in a Celtics uniform, he brought attention to the fact that a good chunk of that benchunit has been together for a while.
“There’s some new faces in the second unit as well, but you’ve got Payton, Luke and I, we’ve been playing together for the last couple of years and we have great chemistry,” Hauser said at practice Saturday.
While there has been plenty of hoopla around Boston’s big acquisitions, Hauser made a point of singling out one of his bench mates for their play during training camp thus far.
“I think Payton’s had a great camp,” Hauser said. “He’s really, really been aggressive. He worked really hard this summer and I think he’s out for blood this year so I’m really excited to see what he has to bring to the table.”
Payton Pritchard may be the one Celtic that benefits the most from Boston’s offseason dealing as two high-minute guards (Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon) were sent out the door. That leaves a key opening for him off the bench as a reserve after playing of uneven playing time last season. Entering a contract year, Pritchard looks poised to try to make himself a permanent fixture in the team’s rotation during what has been a competitive camp.
“It’s going really good,” Hauser said of the Celtic practices. “I think a lot of guys have spoken to it: The energy level, the competitiveness level, the intensity is all higher than it was last year. So I think everybody’s bringing the best out of each other and that’s what you want out of camp.”
Boston plays their first preseason matchup against the 76ers at TD Garden on Sunday night where we’ll get our first glimpse of the team’s new additions along with Pritchard’s new role.