Joe Mazzulla Explains Grant Williams’ Absence From Celtics Rotation

'I think it's more that we have a deep team'


Apr 18, 2023

There aren’t a ton of people who actually believe the Atlanta Hawks can pull off an upset over the Boston Celtics in their first-round series.

Thus, there has been a heavy focus on the Celtics’ infrequent usage of Grant Williams between games.

Boston’s blowout victory over Atlanta in Game 1 was highlighted by a small rotation who built the lead, but soon watched it dwindle away bit by bit before the final buzzer sounded. The Celtics’ starters and first three men off the bench were the only ones to see game action in the series opener. Williams, who played anywhere from five to 29 minutes over the final 10 games of the regular season, was not in the rotation.

The 24-year-old has never fully found himself out of the Celtics’ lineup, but a pair of DNP’s mixed among games where he had inconsistent minutes highlighted a clearly diminished role.

Asked once again why Williams wasn’t in the rotation, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla had an explanation.

“I think it’s more that we have a deep team. We have the ability to play a lot of different ways,” Mazzulla told reporters prior to Game 2 on Tuesday. “We’re going to need everybody if we want to win. Right now, versus Atlanta, the rotation that we have now gives us the best chance to win. We’ll continue to do that throughout the playoffs.”

Sam Hauser was the eighth man in the rotation, seemingly being used over Williams for his consistent shooting ability and the Celtics’ lack of need for bigs against the Hawks. In a series against the Philadelphia 76ers, who are the favorites to move on to face Boston should it advance to the second round, it could be argued Williams would be a vital member of the rotation in the effort to defend MVP-favorite Joel Embiid.

That’s not to say the Celtics’ rotation can’t be altered against the Hawks. Mazzulla is keeping his options open.

“I think it depends on how the game is going,” Mazzulla said. “It depends on if we’re executing the game plan, if our energy is there, if our attention to detail is there. You have a plan and you also have what you can go to if (things don’t) go according to plan.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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