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CelticsBlog roundtable: how will Grant Williams’ absence impact Boston’s depth?

Sam Hauser, Svi Mykhailiuk, Oshae Brissett, Jordan Walsh, and Lamar Stevens will try and replicate the versatile big man.

Milwaukee Bucks (118) Vs. Boston Celtics (139) At TD Garden Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Jack Simone: By the end of his tenure with the Celtics, it felt as though an overwhelming number of fans were against Grant Williams. And since he left, the mindset has been that it’s for the better and Boston’s free agency additions can easily replace him. That’s not the case. There is no replacing a 40% three-point shooter who can defend wings and bigs. The Celtics didn’t sign that type of player and there simply aren’t many players like that in the NBA. Instead, Boston will have to deploy wings based on what they need. Hauser or Mykhailiuk for shooting. Brissett or Walsh for defense. Williams was both in one, and the Celtics don’t have that anymore.

Benjamin Torbert: Historically, Tatum has performed well as a focal point with all-bench units. I expect to see even more of that this year with the makeup of our likely top bench players. Tatum can sub early in the 1st and 3rd quarter and allow Brown and Porzingis to handle the heavy scoring load for a few minutes. Then, if Rob starts, Mazzulla can turn to a bench lineup with Brogdon, Pritchard, Hauser, Tatum, and Horford. That lineup provides a stupid amount of shooting around Tatum as a focal point playmaker and could give opposing teams a major challenge defensively.

Mark Aboyoun: I echo Jack’s point. No one that we signed can replicate what Grant did, hence why he got paid the money he did. I think Mazzulla will have situational lineups that he’ll call upon when specific scenarios arise. Whether he needs shooting or defense. Having more options gives Mazzulla more to work with and can potentially be a headache to defend against. Whether we go for a lineup filled with shooting or need to close a game out with 6’7 defenders to switch everything. The new additions will need to accept their role even if there are games they barely get on the floor.

Sam LaFrance: There’s going to be a lot more room for opportunity amongst the backup wings. They’ve got six guys who can do a ton of different things and none of them particularly jump off of the page as the clear-cut favorite to fill a large bulk of minutes. As for Grant’s departure, it’s not going to hurt — at least not yet. Boston’s addition of Porzingis will mask the void of Williams’ exit. However, there’s going to be more of a need for his size, defense, and consistency in a year or two when Al Horford can’t give them as much. Grant would’ve been able to step back into the role he had filled in his four seasons with the Celtics once Horford aged out of the rotation. Also — personally don’t think it was the smartest move to just relinquish the cap slot they could’ve kept by paying Grant. But, the new CBA may have a thing or two to say about that.

Ben Dupont: Grant Williams gave the team shooting and defensive versatility that will be unmatched by any backup wings on the roster right now. With that said, the Celtics have so many options at the forward spot now that one or two of them are going to be valuable rotation pieces. If they want some extra shooting on the floor, they can go to Sam Hauser or Svi Mykhailiuk and hope they hold their own defensively. If they need a defensive stopper, they can go to Oshae Brissett or Lamar Stevens and pray that they can hit their 3s. Joe Mazzulla has options, he just might need to be more creative in who he puts on the floor each day. I’m also hoping we will see real Jordan Walsh minutes this season, but that may be farfetched.

Mike Dynon: Since losing Grant, the Celtics have signed so many young veteran wings that they may have the deepest bench in the league. So, the real question is: Which individual or combination of bench players will replace Grant’s solid individual defense and .395 three-point field goal accuracy of last season? There must be someone, and possibly the candidates will change from night to night until one emerges from the pack.

The most intriguing possibility is Jordan Walsh. He supposedly lacked a reliable three-point shot, but his Summer League performance said otherwise. At 6-foot-7, Walsh is a bit taller than Williams, and he’s certainly more athletic. Was his Vegas production a sign of things to come or just a mirage in the desert? If Walsh turns out to be a rotation player, that will reflect a truly deep roster.

Daniel Poarch: Grant Williams became a bit of a punching bag for Celtics fans last season, and that may not have been entirely justified. He’s a unique and malleable player that fits pretty easily into the rotation for a contending team. That said, he was in and out of Joe Mazzulla’s rotation last season, and that was before Kristaps Porzingis entered the mix in the frontcourt. Depth could become a challenge if none of the team’s new wings pan out, but I think they’ve accepted that risk for the chance to raise their ceiling. I think his departure works out to be something of a net neutral for this team.

Bobby Manning: It’s a major reason the Brogdon situation carries so much importance. Boston will need to play double-big for nearly the entirety of games unless Brogdon or one of the depth wings can reliably allow the Celtics to play with only one big on the floor. I’ve maintained hope Oshae Brissett can replicate the role Grant Williams played last year. It’s more likely a committee will provide the bench scoring, but when it matters, similar Brogdon production to last year, steps from Pritchard and staggered lineups with Brown and Porzingis as scorers should suffice without overloading Tatum’s responsibility.

Trevor Hass: I think the Celtics will miss Grant Williams, but I don’t think his absence will dramatically affect the course of the season. There were stretches last year where he barely played, and the Celtics did just fine without him. Put Oshae Brissett, Jordan Walsh and Sam Hauser together and you get Grant Williams. Joe Mazzulla will turn to each guy to help fill that void. It’s likely that one of the three will emerge as a consistent option and earn rotational minutes in the playoffs.

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