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Stats and eye-test both show Rob Williams needs more minutes


Celtics backup center, Rob Williams III, is out of action right now due to COVID-19 protocol, but upon his return he needs more time on the floor. We see glimpses of stardom in him, but even with what he has shown in limited minutes, he may end up as Boston's best choice at the center slot. His field goal percentage ranks second in the NBA (8 games or more, 16 MPG or more) at 77.4%, just behind DeAndre Jordan at 78.4%. His per-36-minutes stats show:

14.8 PPG, 14.3 RPG, 2.5 SPG, 3.3 BPG, 3.0 turnovers/game, 2.7 fouls/game

A quick look at the NBA Defensive Dashboard numbers shows that he holds the top diff% (percentage points difference) of the Celtics' three major weapons at the 5-spot, Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis and Williams III. Thompson has the worst diff% of the three with a differential of 10.2. Meaning in effect, Thompson allows opponents to shoot with much more accuracy than he does.

Theis has a diff% of 2.9%, meaning he still allows opponents to shoot a higher percentage than he does, but the difference is less than with Tristan. Rob's differential is Minus 4.1, the best of all three centers. 

It is probable that Thompson simply needs more time with his new team to acclimate and improve his production and effectiveness. If not, then it appears that Boston truly needs to get Rob more seasoning during the regular season in preparation for the playoffs.

His free throw percentage has risen to 86% this season and he has learned to avoid fouls and turn the ball over with less frequency. He is a legitimate rim protector with quick reactions to whatever is going on around him. It appears he simply needs more seasoning. He could be a long-term solution for the Boston Celtics in the middle.

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