During the recent win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Grant Williams received a DNP, a surprising move for a player who had been contributing to the team from the bench for the past two years.
This demotion has raised concerns about Williams’ role in the team, especially since he’s in his contract year. Head coach Joe Mazzulla provided a one-word response “Matchups” when asked about the reason behind Williams’ DNP. With the playoffs approaching, it’s unclear if Williams will have a chance to redeem himself and regain his position in the team.
When facing Cleveland’s intimidating front line, it might seem logical to avoid playing an undersized big. However, the tracking data from the last game reveals that Robert Williams III did a remarkable job defending against them.
Cleveland only shot 4-of-12 against him and their star players, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, were only able to score four points. In addition to this, Williams also played a pivotal role in restraining Donovan Mitchell. The Celtics were able to maintain a plus-4 scoreline in Williams’ 31 minutes and 37 seconds of play. Although coach Mazzulla wanted more rim protection, the matchups with Sam Hauser and Mike Muscala didn’t produce the desired results.
The Boston Celtics’ decision to keep Robert Williams III on the bench for the entire game against the Milwaukee Bucks has raised questions among fans and analysts alike. One possible explanation is that Williams’ offensive spacing didn’t fit the team’s game plan, despite his impressive 3-point shooting this season. This was evident in a lineup featuring Muscala and Hauser alongside Tatum, Brogdon, and White, which struggled to score and defend during a brief stint.
However, a modified version of that lineup with Williams replacing White proved to be more effective later in the game, suggesting that Williams’ value as a versatile big man shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Boston Celtics have been making some strategic moves ahead of the postseason, including the addition of Muscala at the trade deadline and the re-emergence of Hauser. However, these changes have also created a crowded frontcourt, prompting coach Mazzulla to experiment with different lineup combinations. To see if Muscala can handle playoff-caliber opponents, the team tested him during Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers. With the playoffs looming, it’s important for the Celtics to find the best possible lineup that can lead them to success.
Boston Celtics’ Robert Williams had a rough February. The team had a net rating of plus-15.2 in the 261 minutes he was off the court, but this dropped drastically to a meager plus-0.5 in the 277 minutes he played. Williams only averaged 6.1 points, with a low 33.3 percent shooting accuracy from the floor and 32.5 percent beyond the 3-point arc in his 11 appearances in February. His playing time was also limited to just 6:11 in Boston’s first game after the break against the Pacers, who have frontcourt size. Despite his role being reduced, Williams remained a supportive teammate, regularly cheering on his teammates.
Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics has been struggling to increase his value due to his underwhelming performance lately. He had a chance to renew his contract with the team before the season began, but he opted to go for a bigger payday. Unfortunately, the situation is tricky because even before his recent struggles, it was already difficult to identify which teams would be willing to spend $15 million or more on a bench big who is undersized.
The good news for Williams is that he still has plenty of opportunities ahead to prove his worth. He performed admirably during Boston’s playoff run last year, demonstrating his defensive prowess against the likes of Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the early rounds. He also had an impressive shooting performance in Game 7 against the Bucks. If he can replicate that level of performance consistently, he can re-establish his value and secure a more lucrative contract in the future.
As a player with undeniable talent, Williams has the potential to earn a higher salary than the midlevel money he currently receives. However, if he fails to perform at his best, he risks being stuck playing on a $4.3 million qualifying offer next year, leaving him with the pressure to prove himself yet again in a more significant contract year.
Instead of worrying about his future earnings, Williams must concentrate on getting back to dominating from his corner position and being a standout defender. If he does this, the playing time and compensation will come naturally.
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