We’re officially in the holiday season, and it appears that the Boston Celtics want us to get in the festive spirit early this year because, according to a report by Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe, it appears that Robert Williams could potentially make his season debut on Saturday, December 10, against the Golden State Warriors.
Interestingly, game six of the NBA Finals was the last time we saw Williams donning a Celtics jersey in a competitive setting, as the Celtics fell to defeat 103-90 to end their season. Williams played 33 minutes in that contest, scoring 10 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.
Unfortunately, we never got to see the Lousiana native at his best throughout last season’s playoffs, as he had recently returned from surgery to fix a meniscus tear in his left knee and was considerably docile compared to his usual game-changing self. After attempting to rehab his knee throughout the summer, it became evident that Williams would require a second surgery to ‘remove loose bodies and address swelling’ — sidelining him for the opening three months of the season.
Robert Williams: probably ready pic.twitter.com/G9v63Bsnx0— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) December 9, 2022
In that time, Boston has undergone somewhat of a transformation, losing Ime Udoka to a team-implemented suspension and then embracing a new offensive system implemented by interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, a system that has seen the Celtics become a historically good offensive team and amass a 21-win record in their first 26 games.
However, for all of the improvements we’ve seen in the Celtics' offense, their defense has been far slower to round into form, and it’s only been this past week that Boston has cracked the top 10 in defensive rating. The Celtics will be hoping that Williams’ return to the rotation will begin to mark a sharp uptick in their overall defense; after all, he did finish last season as an ALL-NBA Defensive Second Team selection and is one of, if not the best, shot blocker and shot deterrents in the NBA.
Of course, we’re unlikely to see the best of Williams for at least a month as he begins to reacclimate himself to the speed and physicality of the NBA, yet, once he’s back in game shape, the Celtics are going to be significantly improved on both sides of the ball, and that’s a scary proposition for the rest of the league.