The Boston Celtics made a couple of head-turning moves in the 2023 offseason, as they traded away forward Grant Williams and guard Marcus Smart to the Dallas Mavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies, respectively. Williams and, most especially, Smart were cogs in the defense of Boston, so it's fair for many to wonder whether the Celtics will continue to be effective on that end of the floor going forward without those two.

For Grant Williams, there's nothing for the Celtics to worry about, at least in terms of defense.

“I think they’ll have success. Me and Marcus brought the energy and grit, but at the same time I trust and believe that their entire team has the ability to defend,” Williams said (h/t Steve Bulpett of Heavy). “They still have Al (Horford). They still have guys like Kristaps who can move his feet and block shots. Rob (Williams) is one of the best defenders, if not THE best shot-blocking big in the league. Then JT and JB (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown), they’re going to lead the charge. You know, it’s important for them to step up show that dog that they’ve always had. So even without us, I think they’ll be fine.”

Grant's toughness and rebounding will still be missed by the Celtics, while Smart's absence will be the one Boston will feel more. After all, Smart, who was traded by Boston to the Grizzlies, is a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year and one many considered to be the heart and soul of the Celtics' D.

Nonetheless, as Williams mentioned, the Celtics still have enough tools to continue being a force on defense, with the team adding a rim protector in Kristaps Porzingis.