Timelord’s Improvement a Welcome Sign for Boston’s Playoff Push


Coming into the restart, Robert Williams was viewed as Boston’s third big man on the depth chart. He has been limited to just 28 games on the season due to a hip injury. After an impressive stretch, however, he may have pushed himself further up in the rotation. In the five games he has played in the bubble, he is averaging 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, while averaging just 13 minutes per game.

Chemistry In The Pick-And-Roll

One thing that Williams has always been effective at is running to the rim. With his elite jumping ability, he is an easy target for lobs and uncontested baskets around the rim. However, the Celtics have had great success so far in the bubble running a play involving the trio of Williams, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum.

The play has Smart as the ball handler and he will come off a double screen involving Tatum and Williams. Tatum will flare out to the wing, drawing the attention of the defenders while Williams slips to the rim for an easy bucket. His athleticism will be needed if the Celtics play a team like the Milwaukee Bucks as their big tends to camp under the rim to protect the basket. One way to beat that defense is to attack them vertically, which is Williams’ specialty.


Rim Protection

The Celtics’ lack of rim protection has been overblown this season, as they rank fifth in the NBA in blocks per game at 5.6. Williams, however, has length and athleticism that no other Celtics big can match. He can be a weapon protecting the basket when the Celtics will most likely have to go through the likes of Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam and Giannis Antetokounmpo.


Watching Williams play in the bubble games, you can tell that the game has slowed down for him. He has stopped jumping out of control on pump fakes, and has also stopped going for bad block attempts by the rim. Timelord has learned that using his length is enough to bother shooters without having to flail around in the air.

Offensively, he has added a mid-range jumper if the defense sags off of him. He’s also become more patient when the ball is in his hands, taking his time to read the floor, as opposed to playing hot potato as soon as he touches it.

The Celtics begin their 2020 playoff journey against the Sixers on Monday.

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About Mason Urban

Sports writer for The Spectrum newspaper and contributor for The Lead Sports Media

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