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Robert Williams Looks Great And His Return Is The Ultimate Wild Card

Like you, I cannot wait until Robert Williams is back on the floor. Our latest update was nothing but good news so I would imagine that 3/1 date is still in play for Timelord to make his return, if not sooner. He's out for the road trip which means he'll miss MIN/LAL/POR/UTA which stinks because they could definitely use him, but the 2/29 game in HOU might be possible and from the sounds of it the 3/3 game against BKN is the most likely. That'll give Williams like a month and a half to get into shape for the playoffs which given the role he plays should be plenty of time. 

As Celtics fans, we have to be careful here though. Let me be loud and clear when I say this. Robert Williams is not the savior that this team will add that suddenly makes them title favorites or any of that shit. Don't get carried away. He's still a GIGANTIC unknown, especially in a playoff series. But there is no denying his skillset is going to help. It's been forever since we've seen Timelord do his usual awesome shit on the court, so before we dive into how he can help let's all have a quick refresher on what he can bring

the man is an athletic freak, no two ways about it. He gives the Celtics a completely different look as a rim running center, something neither Kanter or Theis is all that good at, his rim protection is elite but he can also defend the perimeter way better than Kanter, his passing ability is real and has a touch of Al Horford in it, and when you look at how the Celts have done in his limited minutes, the numbers are encouraging. He brings a level of athleticism and quickness from the center position that gives this team a different look, something I feel like is pretty important.

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For starters, his 58.3% BLK% is a big time jump from both Kanter (48.6%) and Theis (45.5%). For everyone who says this team needs additional rim protection in the playoffs, that's what Williams has given in his 19 games. He's also 2nd on the team in DREB% at 35.8%, trailing only Kanter (38.1%). So there are two pretty big areas right off the bat that Williams has shown to be a factor. When you think of how he fits with certain lineups, it's a mixed bag. For example, here is how things look in a few different 5 man combinations that if healthy I would imagine Brad uses. Obviously the sample sizes are tiny because he's been out, but it's the best we have to work with

Kemba/Smart/Jaylen/Tatum/Timelord: 23 minutes / 127.5 Ortg / 134 Drtg

So this combination has played in 7 games together, and on one end of the floor they've been incredible, on the other end, a complete disaster. Something tells me the truth of how they look is probably somewhere in the middle. Doesn't totally blow your socks off though, but just wait.

Kemba/Hayward/Jaylen/Tatum/Timelord: 19 minutes / 107 Ortg / 107 Drtg

This is the second most used combination including Williams this season. Basically the starting 4 with Timelord in for Theis. Based on matchup, this is a lineup we could absolutely see start a playoff game. The Ortg is a little low, but I'll take that Drtg. It also has one of the highest REB% of any combination at 51.3% and one of the highest TS% at 56.5%. I want to see what this looks like over the last 20+ games because I think it could end up being their best starting unit.

Kemba/Smart/Hayward/Tatum/Timelord: 10 minutes / 100 Ortg / 69.6 Drtg 

Another intriguing pairing that has only played 4 games together, but look at that Drtg. Basically the first group only swapping Hayward for Jaylen and I'm pretty sure this looks so good because of what Hayward looked like early. Well now he looks like that same player again and this lineup gives you pretty much everything. Elite go to scoring in Kemba/Tatum, playmaking in Hayward/Smart, good defense, I can't lie, my interest is officially perked. 

Now, when it comes to Timelord's minutes, everything revolves around how he is able to defend. If he can't play consistent defense then none of this matters. He's still learning, he's going to make mistakes, but the potential is there to really make an impact. I think we just have to set our expectations accordingly. He's not going to step in and be a All NBA Defender. He's going to fuck up rotations, fall asleep at times, and make bone headed plays. But there is no denying the signs are encouraging with what he's displayed this season, and it feels like he's been out for forever so in my opinion his return only helps. 

I just want to see Timelord active and doing cool shit again. We're almost there.