Rise of Celtics’ Skywalker Could Mean Trade Doom For Others

Robert Williams dunks

Getty Robert Williams drops the hammer

Robert Williams III, the 6-foot-8 human pogo stick drafted 27th overall by the Boston Celtics in 2018 and whose short NBA career has been heretofore marred by injuries and inexperience, is finally healthy and making a legitimate push for more minutes. So legitimate, in fact, that he may well be a factor in Boston’s plans leading up the March 25 trade deadline.

Coming off the bench in the Celtics’ 134-107 throttling of a broken Houston Rockets team Sunday, Williams scored 16 points on 7-for-7 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds and sent back three shots — all in just 19 minutes of floor time.


Robert Williams III Highlights vs Houston Rockets (16 pts, 13 reb, 3 blk)Robert Williams III Highlights vs Houston Rockets (16 pts, 13 reb, 3 blk) Statline: 16 pts (7/7 FG, 2/3 FT), 13 reb, 3 blk in 19 minutes patreon.com/Timi093 ► if you want to become my Patron paypal.me/Timi093 ► if you want to support me the other way ► SUBSCRIBE: youtube.com/c/TomaszKordylewskiTimi/?sub_confirmation=1 ► JOIN: youtube.com/channel/UCsvPqANw09HyK7jsXUC3kuA/join I am…2021-03-15T10:19:25Z

And that kind of production is no anomaly for Williams, at least not lately.

Over Boston’s last six games, the man dubbed Time Lord (due to punctuality issues his rookie season) has averaged 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 10.2 points on 73.5% shooting in just 20.0 minutes. The Celts went 5-1 over that span and finally look to be gaining steam following a disastrous few weeks in January and February that saw them go 7-14 and dip below .500 for the first time since 2015.


‘Two Big’ Goes to One

A troublesome hip has made head coach Brad Stevens weary about over-playing Williams up to now. But Stevens told reporters after Sunday’s game that he’s ready to give Williams more time.

“Rob obviously had a double-double,” said Stevens. “But I just think we can make it so that he can play more and more and more as the season goes on.”

Williams’s development has not only prompted calls for him to get more minutes — if not immediately enter the starting lineup — it has also provided the Celtics with what could be a valuable chip in advance of the trade deadline: An expendable big.

With Williams potentially crystalizing as a consistent option at center — maybe even a full-blown gamechanger — and the Celtics looking to play more small ball with the return of Marcus Smart from injury, the Celtics could be compelled to part with one of their two other bigs, Tristan Thompson or Daniel Theis. Both are currently starting as part of Stevens’ so-called “two-big” lineup, but that will go down by one after Smart resumes starting and Tatum takes over the power forward designation.

Either Thompson or Theis would be a well-regarded asset if (big IF) general manager Danny Ainge decides to make a move before the deadline.


Three’s Company

The 6-foot-8 Theis has good range on offense, shooting 36.8% from three, and his quickness and length are effective in guarding other stretch perimeter bigs. He’s someone the Celtics would probably like to keep. But his contract is up after this season, and free agency will undoubtedly make him a richer man and perhaps too expensive for the Celts. Dealing Theis now, before he goes away for free, could be a wise move.


Best Highlights of 2020-21 (so far): Daniel TheisBest Highlights of 2020-21 (so far): Daniel Theis patreon.com/Timi093 ► if you want to become my Patron paypal.me/Timi093 ► if you want to support me the other way ► SUBSCRIBE: youtube.com/c/TomaszKordylewskiTimi/?sub_confirmation=1 ► JOIN: youtube.com/channel/UCsvPqANw09HyK7jsXUC3kuA/join I am Timi and this is channel about the Boston Celtics. You can find here highlights, analysis, news and more. Subscribe…2021-03-09T14:10:40Z

Thompson, a 10-year veteran with a ring from the 2016 Cavaliers championship, hasn’t played as well as expected this season, but his experience and leadership (and rebounding) could be seen as a plus in a deal that puts him on a team in search of inside muscle.

Thompson will make $9.2 million next season, which is not incredibly high, but probably too high if the Celts want to resign Theis. On Monday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Toronto could be a possible destination for Thompson before the deadline.

And of course Williams could be shopped himself. His stock has never been higher and the Celtics could probably make a go at a big fish like Jerami Grant or Larry Nance, Jr. with Time Lord in the deal. But most experts think that’s highly unlikely given Williams’s extraordinary talent and reasonable salary. (Williams is owed $2.02 million this year and $3.66 million next, according to Spotrac.)

READ NEXT: Marcus Smart Shines in Return, but This Reality ‘Sucks’


Comment Here
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x