This signing came out of nowhere in the middle of speculation about sign and trades for Big Baby and Marquis Daniels as well as about Bruce Bowen's destination. I didn't see anything about Williams being a possible target. For those not familiar with Williams, here are some facts and figures.
Williams was taken by the Atlanta Hawks with the 5th pick in the 2006 draft. He has been in the league for 3 years and has already been on 3 teams. He played in 81 games for the Hawks in the 2006-07 season. 36 games into the 2007-08 season, he was traded to the Sacramento Kings where he played in 28 more games that season. He started the 2008-09 season with the Kings and 30 games into the season he was traded to the Timberwolves where he played just 15 games in the remainder of the season. He has averaged 4.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and .4 blocks in 14.7 minutes per game over his career so far.
Williams is listed at 6'9" on NBA.com. In his predraft measurements according to Draft Express, he measured 6’7 3/4” without shoes and 6'8 1/2" in shoes. He has a 7' 4 1/4" wingspan. He has an 8'8" standing reach and a 33.5" vertical leap.
Positives: One of the best rebounders and shot blockers in college basketball. A beast in the paint. A solid scorer with his back to the basket. Great strength and, despite his bulk, is actually pretty explosive. Has improved his perimeter shooting and can hit a jumper from 10 feet out.
Negatives: He doesn't have much of a face-the-basket game right now. Scouts wish Williams was another inch or two taller. Not a great athlete, especially laterally. Scouts don't see him as having much upside.
After a stellar career at Duke, this hard-nosed, tough-minded power forward has to prove he can take it to the next level. He excels at rebounding and shot-blocking, and his toughness and competitiveness make him go after every rebound. He's a strong post-up player with a variety of moves, giving him the ability to score inside. Has a big, wide base when he posts inside and is strong enough to not get pushed off the block. Doesn't mind physical play and will bang and mix it up with the best. Strong and physical, he can score and take the hit for and-ones. Constantly gets to the free throw line.
Williams is a capable facing shooter from 17 feet and in but needs work on his shot off the dribble and the jab series. Did not have to do this in college but will have to at the next level. Will need work to develop his 3-point shot for the NBA.
Has excellent timing along with the uncanny ability to stay out of foul trouble when attempting to block shots. Will have to prove he can guard people on the perimeter, as he was mostly an inside post defender in college. Runs the floor well and will finish in transition.
Comes from a winning program and knows what it takes to win. Has a great work ethic and is willing to put time in the gym to get better. Lunch-pail worker. Tough as nails. Karl Malone-like qualities if he continues to get stronger and add some more bulk. Will be a very solid, team-oriented NBA player who is willing to do all the little things that makes teams better.
So far, he hasn't lived up to the potential that Atlanta saw in him when they made him the 5th pick in the draft. It could be because he has played on weak teams and he never got the support to develop. Whether the veteran atmosphere and the coaching of Clifford Ray and Tom Thibodeau can bring it out of him remains to be seen. We can only hope so or we are stuck with another project on the end of the bench. If he isn't able to contribute, it will make the snub of Leon Powe all that more painful. So far, Shelden's major claim to fame is that he is married to WNBA star Candace Parker.
This could be Danny's solution to replacing Leon Powe, or it could be a precursor to a trade of Scal in the Daniels deal, or it could be insurance in case Big Baby gets an offer that the Celtics don't feel they can match. This gives the Celtics 11 players under contract. Marquis Daniels would be the 12th if they ever sign him. But then again, they may be able to trade a player or two to get Daniels. There is still roster space to bring Big Baby back and so I don't think this signing would eliminate the desire to re-sign Big Baby. I tend to think it is more of a replacement for Leon.
Next up on the agenda should be to finalize the Daniels deal and to find a back up for Rondo. Stay Tuned.