Boston Celtics: 3 thoughts on the start of the 2022-23 season

Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Celtics thought No. 1: Robert Williams III needs to return as soon as possible

The Celtics managed to make their run to the NBA Finals last season with Robert Williams III at less than 100 percent health. But he was still on the court making an impact, and early on this season, we are seeing how bad things would have gone had Williams not been able to return last year in the playoffs.

Heading into the season, the Celtics biggest area of weakness was their big man rotation, and that was before Williams was ruled out for the first 8-to-12 weeks of the season. Now, the C’s are trying to piece things together without Williams, and it hasn’t exactly worked out as they would have hoped it would.

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Al Horford and Grant Williams are leading the way, but after them there aren’t many answers. Noah Vonleh and Luke Kornet have gotten minutes, but both have their deficiencies on each side of the court. Blake Griffin looms as an option, and while he has offensive upside, he’s a defensive liability at this point, especially if he’s played as a center.

Having Williams as a two-way interior threat opens things up in a big way for Boston, and they made a mistake not addressing this need while they could in the offseason. We just saw them get bullied by Cleveland’s double-big lineup featuring Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley twice in a span of three games; it’s safe to say that wouldn’t have happened had Williams been on the court.

Next. The Celtics have a Payton Pritchard problem. dark

Boston needs to get Williams back as soon as possible, as he controls how far this team will go. The Celtics should be able to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference standings while he is on the sideline, but they will need Williams for a deep playoff run this season.

We have already seen them struggle in this department to start the season, and while the C’s have a lot of room to grow, they won’t be able to reach their full potential without a healthy Williams on the floor.