Why Grant Williams sees 'opportunity' in Hayward's exit

/ by Darren Hartwell
Presented By TD Bank

In case you haven't noticed, Grant Williams is a "glass half full" kind of guy.

The Celtics' ebullient forward overcame early struggles during his rookie campaign to play some key postseason minutes for Boston in the Orlando bubble.

Williams is ready to make more of an impact in Season Two -- and believes the biggest move of the Celtics' offseason could help him accomplish that goal.

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Here's Williams on Saturday describing the silver lining of Gordon Hayward leaving Boston via a sign-and-trade with the Charlotte Hornets:

"I feel confident going into my second year. Losing Gordon is tough, but it gives a lot of us an opportunity to step up."

Even after signing Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague, the Celtics have a roster stocked with young role players like the Williamses (Grant and Robert Williams), Romeo Langford, Carsen Edwards and rookies Aaron Nesmith and Payton Pritchard.

The Green Team

Average years of experience on Celtics' roster (5th-fewest in NBA)

With Hayward gone and Kemba Walker sidelined until at least January, the C's may need minutes from those role players to support their (also young) core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.

Grant Williams, who played the most minutes of any Celtics rookie last season, could lead that charge despite being behind Daniel Theis and Thompson on the big man depth chart.

Forsberg: Which young role player will help C's the most this season?

"I just think that with (head coach) Brad (Stevens) you kind of never know,” Williams said when asked what his role will be this season. "So I might play 5, I might play the 4 ... whatever Brad asks me to do I’m prepared for."

It was only three seasons ago that Tatum, Brown and Terry Rozier rose to the challenge in the 2018 postseason with Hayward and Kyrie Irving lost to injury. Boston's current group of young players has a much lower ceiling -- but it appears Williams is adopting a similar mindset.