clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Parquet plays: the developing chemistry of the Celtics second unit

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Through the first week of training camp, the buzz around the second unit — primarily Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Oshae Brissett, and Luke Kornet — has been their developing chemistry with each other. Not that they’ve been able to seamlessly mix in with the starters; they’re a unit.

With the Celtics’ top-6 sitting out against the Knicks on the second night of a back-to-back, head coach Joe Mazzulla started that foursome plus Dalano Banton at Madison Square Garden.

On paper, they’re a collection of complementing players: Pritchard as a savvy pick-and-roll point guard with range, Hauser as the floor spacing wing, Kornet as the rim-running big, and Brissett and Banton as athletic slashers and drivers. You can see the fit on the floor already.

Sometimes, the game is this easy. It’s a double pick with Pritchard as the ball handler and Brissett and Kornet screening. Brissett pops and Kornet rolls and it’s up to Pritchard to find the crack in the Knicks’ defense. He creates space with a little shoulder shove into Jalen Brunson and finds Luke up top (with Hauser sucking in the helper with his shooting gravity).

Pritchard elects to reject the Kornet screen and dribble into the empty side here. Again, with Hauser spacing to the corner, there’s a lane for Brissett to slash and attack for an and-1.

To be a special player in the NBA, you have to be able to do a little bit of everything at a good-to-great level. Sure, Boston’s role players have their shortcomings, but together, they’ve greater than the sum of their parts. On both highlights, we’re seeing everybody’s strength at play: shooters spacing the floor, ball handlers getting into that space and making quick decisions, and wings and bigs attacking defensive rotations.

It would obviously be hyperbole to suggest that the starters are going to have to find ways to play with the Bus One Boys. However, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Celtics second unit has assuaged some concerns about Boston’s bench. In large part, that’s due to Pritchard’s electric preseason so far, but give credit to those performing around him, too.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog