Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
But the way the 25-year-old has played in two games thus far for the Celtics — averaging 5.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists in 18.5 minutes — he is making a strong case to stay a Celtic beyond March 1 when his contract is up.
Williams has shown that he’s more than capable playing the point guard position, even though he’s oversized for that spot at 6 feet 6 inches and 220 pounds. When asked where his playmaking skills come from, he said, “You’ve got to ask God. He gave it to me.”
In the Celtics’ 113-88 steamrolling of the Suns on Friday, Williams had four assists and made several uncannily well-placed passes that, for a moment, made it seemed as if Rajon Rondo were still on the court.
With 59 seconds left in the first quarter, Williams snagged a rebound, ran upcourt, drove to the right elbow and looked inside. When he looked there, the Suns defense quickly shrunk toward the middle, and then Williams kicked it to Jeff Green near the left wing.
And Green buried a wide-open 3-pointer.
On the next possession, Williams again grabbed the rebound, raced up the court, and noticed that Chris Wilcox had a few steps on his defender. After passing half court, Williams threaded a pass between defenders to a wide-open Wilcox, hitting him in stride for an easy, one-handed slam dunk.
That Williams could play the point guard position is something the Celtics learned last summer when he spent two weeks working out for them.
Having played just two games with the Celtics, Williams has already done enough to impress Doc Rivers who now envisions using Williams in ways that weren’t under serious consideration until Friday night’s win.
Rivers didn’t think he could use Williams on the floor with Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford at the same time because Williams, who is bigger than Terry and Crawford, could not defend small forwards.
However, Williams’ defense against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Suns showed Rivers enough to where he knows Williams has the tools to be a solid defender against players other than guards.
“I didn’t know you could put Terrence at the 3 (small forward) defensively at times,” Rivers said. “Because he can do that, you can play those three together.”
And that provides yet another matchup problem for opponents which is something the C’s seem to be creating more of with their small-ball lineups.
For a player that has played roughly 38 minutes in just two games, Terrence Williams has already made quite an impression with fans and Celtics staff alike. Doc Rivers is beginning to discover that his new player is like a Swiss Army knife of sorts. While he’s not ecstatic about his defense (Doc rarely is with new players, and veterans at times), that can come. TWill is clearly a multi-skilled player, one of those players that trained basketball eyes can tell right away how skilled he is. But that’s never been his issue.
During his rookie year, he posted a triple-double in a win vs the Chicago Bulls, going for 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. While that’s not the be-all, end-all stat, and several players throughout NBA history have posted random triple-doubles, it does show that he has the skills to effect a game in several ways. Just watching two games thus far has proven that. With Williams, it’s been above the shoulders. When he first arrived here he said that he learned from his China experience just how precious the NBA opportunity is. He learned it so quickly that he wanted to get back here essentially upon setting foot in China.
Every once in a while there are these feel good stories of players maturing and carving a niche with a certain team. Hopefully this one can be his story for his sake on for the C’s. Danny Ainge gets blasted often here, but sometimes he doesn’t get enough credit for plugging holes especially in emergency situations. Last year he quickly replaced Jeff Green with Mikeal Pietrus. He also traded Big Baby for Brandon Bass when everyone was wondering how that issue would be resolved. He found a D-League gem in Greg Stiemsma to plug the big man hole. This season he filled the bench with Leandro Barbosa and when he was lost for the season has now replaced him with guys like TWill and Jordan Crawford. Ainge apparently isn’t the only one within the organization that thinks highly of Williams already. If you watch the video linked below, Greg Dickerson said that some members of the organization think he’s already the team’s best passer. Quite the lofty praise for a 10-day player. Let’s hope he stays longer and becomes another one of Ainge’s gems.
CSNNE VIDEO – Celtics in good position on road trip
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston – Examining C’s big-man options | Globe – In nonprofit game, many athletes post losing records | Ex-Celtic Jermaine O’Neal at a career crossroads (Sunday Notes) | Herald – Turning Green on high C’s | Sizable role opens up for Wilcox | Sully still has bright future (Sunday Notes) |