Celtics Prediction Pinpoints Key to Earning Top Seed in Eastern Conference

Robert Williams, Boston Celtics

Getty Robert Williams III of the Boston Celtics looks on during the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns.

Throughout the vast majority of the 2022-23 campaign, the Boston Celtics have held tight to the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

Due to a recent slump, however, the club has been leapfrogged by the subsequently surging Milwaukee Bucks in the standings, and, in turn, is now 1.5 games behind in the 82-game race.

With 14 games remaining on the docket, there’s still a very real possibility that the C’s can take back the top spot and head into the postseason with full home-court advantage, and, in a recent playoff predictions piece, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz pinpointed arguably the main factor in helping them achieve this goal.

Said factor: a healthy Robert Williams.

“A strained hamstring has caused starting center Robert Williams III to miss four games and counting, and the defensive anchor has suited up just 28 times all season while missing the first few months because of knee surgery. His (hopefully) imminent return will be needed to help give Boston a chance at reclaiming the No. 1 seed,” Swartz wrote.

After having missed the first 29 games of the season whilst recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee, as noted by Swartz, the big man suited up in just 28 games before once again requiring another long-term leave from the rotation due to a strained hamstring sustained on March 3 against the Brooklyn Nets.

With Williams in the lineup, the Celtics have gone 18-10 and have a net rating of +9.9 when he’s been on the floor in 2022-23, tying him for the highest mark on the team.

Individually, of those who have logged 600 or more minutes on the year for Boston, the 25-year-old ranks first in offensive rating (147) and defensive rating (109) and is boasting averages of 8.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game on 75.0% shooting from the floor.

Robert Williams’ impact on the Celtics is evident and, for the team to reach its full potential, Swartz believes they’ll need a healthy Time Lord in tow.

Williams Inching Closer to Celtics Return

Though there are no definitive reports of a presumed return date for Robert Williams, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe recently noted that the big man has made advancements in his recovery of late, and shared an update on his hamstring.

“I’m feeling good. I’m starting to pick up stuff on the court as far as running and moving. I’m moving a lot more. Just trying to be cautious. A hamstring is a sensitive thing. I’m just taking the time, not rushing stuff, respecting how the body responds, and also being able to push the body a little bit to get to that level.”

Williams would emphasize that considering how “tricky” a hamstring injury can be, he’s “just trying to check these boxes and make sure it’s straight” before making his way back to the rotation.

Celtics Lose Assistant to Georgia Tech

On March 13, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Boston Celtics lead assistant coach, Damon Stoudamire, will be parting ways with the organization as he’s agreed to serve as the next head coach for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Stoudamire’s departure marks as yet another instance over the past year that the Celtics have lost a key member of their coaching staff, with the other obvious exit being former head coach Ime Udoka.

Stoudamire initially joined the Celtics to serve under Udoka but opted to remain aboard following his suspension and ultimate removal.

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