Through the first two games of preseason, Sam Hauser was abysmal. The 6-foot-8 three-point specialist failed to live up to his job description, as he shot 2-for-15 from beyond the arc, including 0-for-6 in the Boston Celtics’ preseason opener.
But just like all elite marksmen, Hauser bounced back.
“Just seeing one go through the hole,” Hauser told Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston when asked what helped him break his slump. “You see one go down, your confidence goes up. And shooters keep shooting. Eventually, they’re going to start falling.”
On Wednesday night, Hauser got the start alongside Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Kristaps Porzingis, and Al Horford, and he snapped out of his funk in a major way.
He finished the game with 15 points, four rebounds, and three assists while shooting 4-for-9 from behind the arc and helping the Celtics to their second win over the Philadelphia 76ers this preseason.
“We had good ball movement the whole night,” said Hauser. “Good player movement off-ball as well. And really just playing hard, playing with a purpose, and playing together. I think all of that combined kind of showed tonight on the scoreboard.”
Hauser’s three-point revival was matched by an impressive playmaking display. He leveraged his three-point skills into drive-and-kick opportunities, setting his team up for easy buckets.
Last season, Hauser was limited to a catch-and-shoot role, but based on Wednesday’s performance, he spent the summer expanding his game. He was a legitimate offensive connector for the Celtics in the win.
As the season gets underway, Hauser is slated to get the nod as Boston’s first forward off the bench, but his spot in the rotation won’t be safe.
The Celtics brought in a plethora of wings and forwards this summer, all of whom could be deployed based on matchup. Oshae Brissett is an athletic freak, Lamar Stevens is a defensive pest, and Dalano Banton’s ball-handling could be useful in a pinch.
And perhaps most notably, Svi Mykhailiuk’s diverse offensive game, paired with his elite shooting, has stood out more than anything.
Hauser’s resurgence from behind the arc should be a good sign of things to come, but with the rest of the bench breathing down his neck, he’ll have to maintain the trust of Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics by doing more than just shooting. And that’s what he did on Wednesday.