3.04.2010

Shelden Williams: 26-year-Old Rebounding Big with Fresh Legs

Most Celtics fans still have a clear recollection of the 2007-08 championship season. If you are one of them, then you probably remember how Doc Rivers picked his spots to use Leon Powe and Glen Davis. Rarely were the two used in tandem. Often one played 20 plus minutes while the other played little or not at all. If Shelden Williams keeps playing the way he has thus far in March, Doc Rivers may have to resort to his game plan from two years ago.

Despite being one of the few Celtics who hasn't suffered an injury the entire season, Shelden Williams played a mere 10 games during the months of January and February. This after playing well early in the season, and making his presence felt inside. Once Glen Davis returned from injury, Shelden's minutes declined and kept declining to the point where he played a grand total of 7 minutes in 3 games for the entire month of February. Many of us were left to wonder whether we'd ever see him play a meaningful role again.

But there he was going for 6 points (on 3-4 shooting) and 4 rebounds against Detroit in 16 minutes, and 5 points (on 2-3 shooting) and 4 rebounds in 9 minutes against Charlotte. Numbers tell only part of the story. What our eyes told us is that Shelden Williams likes to throw people around. Refs tend to call fouls on whomever is guarding him, even when it seems obvious to this writer that Shelden is pushing off with one hand while grabbing a rebound with the other.

No less important, Shelden Williams is aggressive. The jury is still out on whether the last two wins presage a trend or are an exception to the rule. Either way, the route to the championship is via defense and rebounding, and both require an aggressive mindset. Throw Shelden Williams out there with the second unit and let's see if an already hungry unit gets hungrier.

That's what I want to see the rest of the season:

H-U-N-G-E-R.

Meanwhile, Shelden's got fresh legs. That's the benefit of having two bigs with overlapping skills. You rotate them, and they both head into the playoffs in good shape. Look at Glen and Leon two years ago. Shelden is undersized, and not a great leaper. I can live with both of these handicaps if he adds a little snarl to these Celtics.

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