Boston Celtics: 2 players who should be Defensive Player of the Year candidates

Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Celtics DPOY candidate No. 2: Robert Williams

Robert Williams development in his first full season as a starter has been a joy to watch. Williams went from being an injury-prone player who was a sparkplug off the bench when used, but was too eager to always make a big play. Opponents would take advantage of that from time to time, seemingly limiting Williams’ potential.

Williams has done a complete 180 this season, and has thrived as the anchor of Boston’s renowned defense. Williams is tied for second in the league with perenial DPOY candidate Rudy Gobert for 2.2 blocks per game. It’s pretty much a guarantee that if the Celtics are playing, you are going to see a highlight block from the “Time Lord” pop up on your TV or phone screen at some point in the near future.

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In more advanced metrics, Williams is third in the league in with 3.8 defensive win shares (an estimate of how many wins a player’s defense has contributed to their team). Williams is also fifth in the league with a 103.2 defensive rating (which basically measures a players’ effectivenes in preventing an opponent from scoring). Whichever way you look at it, Williams has been a monster defensively this season.

Williams defensive capabilities have allowed coach Ime Udoka to get creative with how he uses him on defense. Recently, he has been leaving Williams in the corner on their opponent’s worst shooter, allowing him the ability to roll into the paint should the ball make it there. This can only be done because even if they want to challenge Williams at the perimeter, his quick feet and massive wingspan make it very tough to get any sort of seperation from him.

In terms of advanced metrics, Williams is right up there with the best of the best. His ability to control the paint, while also being able to guard the perimeter when called upon, makes him one of the most versatile defenders in the game. However, it’s going to be tough for him to overtake Gobert as the top big man defender, which is why it’s more likely the real DPOY candidate is…