Boston Celtics: Bracing for the return of Robert Williams and Ben Simmons

Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III (44) Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 3
Boston Celtics
Robert Williams III #44 of the Boston Celtics (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Boston Celtics will benefit greatly from the return of Robert Williams

When Robert Williams went down with a meniscus injury against the Minnesota Timberwolves towards the end of March, I initially wrote about how this may end up crushing Boston’s title hopes. Yet in Williams’ absence, the team has done a remarkable job of keeping things in tact. Daniel Theis and Grant Williams have done a good job of holding the big man rotation together behind Al Horford.

But it’s clear neither Theis nor Grant Williams are the “Time Lord”. Williams vertical presence on both ends of the court is unmatched by any other player on the Celtics roster, and getting him back into the fold, even in a limited capacity to start, is a hugely encouraging sign for the Boston Celtics’ playoff prospects.

In Game 1, both Theis and Grant Williams struggled mightily to step up behind Horford. In Game 2, Grant didn’t miss a shot, and played some solid defense while Horford and Theis dealt with foul trouble. Getting Rob Williams back will be huge because it will allow Ime Udoka to reduce Theis’ minutes, which is crucial considering he’s been picked on pretty frequently throughout the series.

Related Story. 3 bold predictions for the Celtics vs. Nets series. light

Theis loves to switch on screens or sink into the paint on them, which hasn’t been very helpful against Brooklyn. Irving and Durant were walking into open midrange shots in Game 1, and while the overall defense was a bit tighter in Game 2, those shots were still there. Rob will probably slide back into his role as a lurker in the corner, but his paint protection will allow Boston to press the Nets at the perimeter more, making an already difficult job for Durant and Irving even tougher.

Offensively, the Celtics struggled to create seperation at times against Brooklyn, particularly in the first half of Game 2. Having Rob back for his screens and cuts to the rim should help out a lot, especially considering the Nets don’t really have much interior defense to speak of. But the return of Robert Williams could end up having the biggest impact on the player set to return for the Nets…