Jayson Tatum on Robert Williams: ‘I’m gonna begin, so I would love Rob to start out’


Robert Williams loved a breakout season final yr, anchoring the Boston Celtics protection – a unit that was the perfect within the NBA. One torn meniscus, two surgical procedures, and some missed months later, he’s again to dominating on that facet of the basketball.

Boston took down the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night time 121-116, however it wasn’t easy crusing for the C’s. They stumbled late within the fourth quarter, permitting former Celtic Josh Richardson to warmth up and assist the Spurs again into the sport. And when issues have been crumbling, Jayson Tatum regarded to Williams.

“It was humorous as a result of he received subbed out, I feel it was like within the fourth, eight-minute mark, possibly seven. And I requested him, I’m like, ‘Yo, you continue to on a minute restriction?’ And he was like, ‘Nah.’ And I used to be like, ‘Properly alright, get your a** again within the recreation.’”

The Celtics large man ended the night time with a double-double – 10 factors and 11 rebounds – to associate with three assists, two steals, and 4 blocks. He shot 5-of-6 from the sphere.

Towards the Spurs, Williams’ versatility was placed on full show. He thrives within the off-ball position, however he’s additionally an elite on-ball defender. Williams’ freakish athleticism permits him to maintain up with large males and guards alike on the perimeter.

There was one play, specifically, that caught the eyes of many. Spurs rookie Malaki Branham received the ball close to the tip of the primary half with roughly 5 seconds left on the shot clock. He instantly shot it, however Williams – leaping from the free throw line to the highest of the important thing – blocked Branham’s shot and received a transition bucket.

It was an unbelievable show of athleticism and ability, and after the sport, Williams stated that he was shocked that Branham truly shot the ball.

“I’m actually shocked he shot the ball. Most individuals know I’m coming to dam that. He gained’t attempt it once more.”

Williams performed 21:45 in opposition to the Spurs, his second-highest minutes whole of the season. The one recreation he earned extra court docket time on this season was Boston’s loss to the Indiana Pacers, the place he logged 22:18.

Throughout his brief stint as Joe Mazzulla’s substitute, Celtics coach Damon Stoudamire revealed that the Celtics have been “given, medically, the minutes that he ought to play” and that, whereas they want him to play, “greater than something [they] want him to be comfy.”

He’s been capable of make a huge effect off the bench for the Celtics, however Tatum is hoping to see the massive man again within the beginning 5 sooner or later.

“Whether or not he begins or comes off the bench, [I] simply need him on the ground. Need him wholesome. And wish to be on the ground with him concurrently a lot as potential. So, you recognize, I’m gonna begin, so I would love Rob to start out, however, you recognize, no matter’s greatest for the crew, he’ll do this. And, you recognize, as a lot as I may be on the court docket with him as potential, you recognize, I feel [that] makes us higher.”

Williams began each recreation he appeared in for the Celtics final season (61, a career-high) and performed 29.6 minutes per recreation (additionally a career-high). Boston inked him to a four-year extension heading into final yr, and it paid off in a giant manner. They’re closely invested in his future, so guaranteeing his long-term well being is important.

That being stated, Williams has but to smell 25 minutes in a recreation but this yr. And when he was within the opening lineup final yr, he, Marcus Good, Jaylen Brown, Tatum, and Al Horford made up the perfect beginning 5 in basketball by way of web score. Unleashing that unit full-time may assist Boston solidify themselves as title favorites.

For now, he’s settled right into a bench position and targeted on offering his elite depth when the Celtics want it most.

“I take pleasure in enjoying the sport. Coming off the bench, I really feel like I’ve been capable of be decisive on when we have to insert power. I’m simply watching the whole lot. However like I stated, whether or not it’s beginning or coming off the bench, I’m right here.”

Perhaps the plan is to preserve his power and well being for the postseason. Perhaps the Celtics are ready till later within the common season. However regardless of after they resolve to unleash Williams, he’ll be prepared.



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