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New Year’s resolutions: bench second unit edition

Dennis Schroder, Josh Richardson, and Grant Williams round out the Celtics’ rotation, but how could they round out their skill sets in 2022?

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Dennis Schroder: After a well-documented fumble of the bag this summer, Dennis Schroder signed a one year $5.8 deal with Boston in hopes to recover a portion of the $84 million contract he rejected. It’s been a tale of two Schroders. In 18 games as a starter, he’s averaging 19.4 points on 47 percent shooting. In 10 games as a reserve, those numbers drop to 11.3 points and 31 percent shooting. He had a 38-point performance against the Bucks and scored 31 against the Blazers. He probably believes he’s the third best player on this team, and he might be right. In 2022, he needs to take more shots at the rim and fewer from behind the arc. He’s attempting a career-low 18 percent of his shots at the rim – down from a three-year peak of 37 percent in Atlanta – but finishing at an ultra-efficient 63 percent rate. Schroder shouldn’t be taking 4.4 threes per game. He has a slow release and shoots with an open stance that would make Richard Williams proud. Of course, the analytics crowd will say that his 32.8 three-point shooting percentage yields a greater output than any non-layup two, but with this Celtics team, every player must play to their strengths. I also want to see him develop better alley-oop chemistry with Timelord. Although Celtics fans certainly can’t complain about how he’s played, there’s almost no chance the team re-signs him this summer. If Boston goes into a tailspin, he’ll likely be gone by the trade deadline. - Neil Iyer

Josh Richardson: While the 2021 Celtics found creative ways to disappoint, Josh Richardson was a pleasant surprise. The 28-year-old wing is hitting threes at a 38.1 percent clip, and was over 40 percent before his 0/5 performance against the Clippers. He’s a midrange master, shooting 58.3 percent on attempts between 16 and 23 feet and 53 percent on pullups. When driving to the rim, he effectively uses his 6’10” wingspan to shield the ball from his defender. For 2022, Richardson simply needs to keep doing what he’s doing. He must make it a point to inject energy immediately upon entering the game. Too often, this team lethargically runs through the motions and goes on five-minute lulls. When he plays, I want to see him attacking the basket with conviction. I want to see him make more plays on defense with wraparound steals and chasedown blocks. The Celtics are 4-8 when he doesn’t play and 12-11 when he plays, the only rotation player with a winning record. He’s on a great contract, making $11.6 million this year and $12.4 million in 2022-2023. For that reason, if the Celtics keep sliding to sub-mediocrity, Richardson might be an appealing trade target for a contender. - Neil Iyer

Grant Williams: Grant Williams has been one of the few highlights for the Celtics this season. His consistency from behind the arc has been a breath of fresh air. That being said, working on his off-ball movement would make him even more of a threat for the C’s. Right now, he gets most of his look via standing in the corner or on the wing, just waiting for someone to make a play. If he can learn to make plays for himself off the ball, it would create a whole new dynamic for Boston’s offense. They lack a true off-ball threat, and while that archetype of player is normally a wing (Joe Harris, Duncan Robinson, etc.), there’s no reason Williams can’t take on the role. He won’t be anywhere near as effective as Harris or Robinson at the start, but as they say, practice makes perfect. - Jack Simone

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