And now, playing Power Forward for your Boston Celtics.....
# 13, Shelden Williams !!!
Once regarded as one of the premier big men in all of college basketball, Williams is now probably known more for being married to the uber talented and beautiful Candace Parker (I wonder who wins when they play 1 on 1 in their backyard?). His days of being a force in the paint at Duke seem so distant now, but it is the hope of many Celtics' fans (myself included) that Shelden will regain some of that form and swagger, and once again be a recognized name.
Standing between 6'8" ~ 6'9", Shelden Williams isn't a towering figure on the court. But being a big man in basketball isn't necessarily all about height (though it certainly helps). There have been many big men who earned respect among their peer despite being undersized, and almost all of them had power and strength to stand their ground and not get muscled around. Shelden has this in his favor too--he's got a strong body, as well as long arms to lengthen his standing reach. And on top of this, he's got better than average agility for a man his size (the fluidity in his motion is comparable to Big Baby's).
I'm actually surprised that Shelden hasn't stuck with any team in the NBA yet, or found success as his skills and pedigree would indicate. He's certainly got a lot of physical tools to work with, plus he's got a good motor, and he's seems like a guy who fits in with his teammates.
Sure he may be a bit mechanical offensively, but I've seen far worse than him (ironically, this is where he might develop the most under Clifford Ray's guidance). He's basically got an idea of how to score in the post, unlike past examples like Dikembe Mutombo, Manute Bol, and Mark Eaton. With his mobility and power, I've seen Shelden maneuver his way around the basket and finish expertly--he's just got to learn how to do it against better competition.
Its clear that Danny Ainge didn't bring Shelden in strictly for his offense. What Shelden brings to the table is a combination of offensive and defensive skills. Rebounding is probably his greatest asset. He's not an instinctive rebounder like Al Jefferson (who has a tremendous natural nose for the ball). What Williams does to secure rebounds is use his body to wedge out his man to clear space for himself so that he has the best path to the rebound. He does seem to have soft hands and he has good lift on his initial jump, which tells me that he can be better than average in the rebounding department once he learns the ropes and the tricks of the trade.
Shot blocking is also an area where Williams can earn brownie points with Doc and the team. Using Perk as an example, Williams uses his strong body to his advantage when guarding his man, as he pushes back and stands his ground, not letting his man get into his comfort zone (though Perk does this much better). And as his man settles for an off balance shot, Shelden has the ability to reach up and alter the trajectory of the ball. But more likely, most of his blocked shots will come from the weakside as the play is funneled into the heart of the defense.
Will Shelden be a force and sidestep Big Baby and Rasheed to become the primary big man off the bench? Its likely not to happen. But does he have the ability to do so? I think so--again, the tools are there to work with. With Clifford Ray's expert hands molding Williams, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. Maybe not this year, but maybe at some point in the future, Williams can be a big part of the rotation and be a heavy contributor for us.
But first steps first--Shelden has got to get his foot in the door first by making the 12 man roster. Then he'll have to earn Doc's trust to put him in games. Next he'll have to play well enough to garner regular minutes. After that, he needs to play consistently at that level to get more minutes and play a bigger role.
Once that happens, then we can talk about Shelden's long term outlook in Boston. In the meantime, we'll keep our eyes out for him, and monitor his progress.
I was reading where Celtics Hub still says Shelden can't shoot a 15 footer with any accuracy. Now this is based on hollinger type stats. At some put you need to put down the calculator, and just look at somebody's shot. If they did, maybe they would see that Doc is right. The kid has a nice looking 15 footer.
Sometimes Hollinger and the so called experts have their heads so far up their a***s that they don't have a clue. Like picking LA to win the championship, the nobel peace prize and assorted other great accomplishments.