While the NBA preseason allows established starting players to get back in their groove before the games officially count, Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser has utilized such contests to make his run at a role before opening night on Oct. 18.
Hauser, originally acquired through a two-way contract agreement with the Celtics in 2021 after going undrafted, has since studied various players across the league who also center their game around outside shooting, Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets), Max Strus and Duncan (Miami Heat) — a group of well-established long-range shooters.
“Last year, I said it a couple of times, everything, I felt like it was going 1,000 mph,” Hauser said, according to MassLive’s Souichi Terada. “Now, I feel like everything is slowing down a little bit and I’m getting a better understanding of playing with these guys, where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there and things like that.”
The 24-year-old who spent his collegitate days at Marquette and Virgina has currently put forth a convincing run with the Celtics amid preseason action. Through three games played, Hauser has averaged 15 points with 3.6 assists, with one game remaining against the Toronto Raptors on Friday before kicking off the regular season. On 3-point field goal attempts in those contests, Hauser has shot 12-for-20 (60%).
Hauser’s increase in minutes on the floor are a direct result from the torn ACL injury suffered by offseason addiction Danilo Gallinari.
“You kind of have to have the next man up mentality,” Hauser said. “Obviously, you never want to see someone go down like that, but I’ll be ready for whenever my number is called. Whatever opportunities I get, I’m excited for that.”
The second-year Celtic only played 6.1 minutes through 26 regular season appearances and 2.1 minutes in the playoffs with Boston last season. With Gallinari, an expected outside shooting contributor, sidelined while recovering from his Aug. 27 injury, Hauser has certainly showcased himself in an effort to earn minutes on the floor before tipping off against the Philadelphia 76ers to open up a new slate.