Analyst Says Emerging Center Could Turn Celtics Into Contenders

Getty Images Robert Williams III of the Celtics could be seeing his role with the team change soon

After witnessing one of Boston Celtics center Robert Williams’ best career performances — a perfect 16-point, 13-rebound gem — Sunday night against the Houston Rockets, one Celtics analyst is calling out head coach Brad Stevens.

In light of Williams’ night in Houston, on Sunday, The Athletic’s Jared Weiss says it’s time for a promotion. Robert’s stunning performance against the lowly, shorthanded Rockets was convincing enough as Robert connected on perfect 7-of-7 attempts from the floor to go with his three blocks and one steal in only 19 minutes.

This could be just the right time for the Celtics — winners of five of their last six outings — to strengthen their starting core, Timelord’s earned it.

Weiss: ‘Brad Stevens Is Finally Ready To Move Away From The Double-Big Lineups’

“Now that the starting lineup is back with Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker sharing the floor for the first time all season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens is finally ready to move away from the double-big lineups that have been the ball and chain holding back the Celtics’ offense,” Weiss wrote via The Athletic. “That’s perfect timing for Williams, who is emerging as the most impactful center on the roster now that more reps have cut down on his on his mistakes and turnovers while catalyzing his rate of impact plays.”

The limited playing time affords opportunity and Williams’ seized it in a big way. In his previous four outings, we’ve seen an uptick in his allotted 16.3 minutes per game, this season and it’s paid in dividends.

Rob’s averaging 10.3 points while scoring at a 76.2% clip to go with his 8 boards, an absurd 3.8 blocks, and 2.5 assists in only 20.3 minutes per game, this month.

Could Celtics’ Daniel Theis Thrive Off The Bench?

For the dubious Celtics fans that are skeptical of the thought of a starting lineup flourishing with Williams in the middle, and not Daniel Theis — one of Stevens’ most efficient shooting big men — Weiss explains why Theis will still be an integral piece to the offense, while also highlighting why he’s still heavily in favor of the proposed move.

“There is one glaring weakness, of course — his (Williams’) shooting, and that is why Theis will continue to have a prominent role in the rotation even if Stevens is ready to move Williams up the depth chart,” Weiss wrote. “This is especially going to be the case in the playoffs, where better quality athletes and coaching on a nightly basis makes it easier to take away vertical spacing in the lane than latitudinal spacing out to the 3-point line.”

Weiss To Celtics’ Brad Stevens: ‘Williams Is The Guy And It’s Just So Abundantly Clear’

According to Weiss, this is a move that has to be done immediately. If it isn’t made soon, it could cost the Celtics not reaching their true potential, this year.

“Williams is the guy, and it’s just so abundantly clear,” Weiss wrote. “He needs to be prioritized now. Theis and Thompson are vets and can find their game quickly and more easily when called upon in the midst of erratic minutes. Williams needs reps, the consistency, the challenge of stepping up every day. He’s improved more over the past 30 games than he has over his entire career up to that point.”

Weiss On Williams’ Overall Impact: ‘His Best Can Give The Celtics Enough Of An Edge’

The Celtics still have time to blossom into a championship contender. Having a constant threat like Robert to anchor the middle is significant, especially in the postseason against superstar talent, as Weiss points out, is probably the biggest reason starting Williams now makes the most sense.

“Williams at his best can give the Celtics enough of an edge to overcome their superior top-end firepower,” Weiss wrote. “He might be the wild card they need to salvage what has been a disastrous season for the most part that will only come with limited reinforcements at the trade deadline if the Celtics can’t bring in another great starter.

“It sure helps to have one emerge from the back of the rotation, and Williams is on his way, whether he gets there or not before his contract expires after next season.”

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