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Robert Williams is the Boston Celtics X-Factor for the 2023 NBA Playoffs

Robert Williams

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Robert Williams is the Boston Celtics X-Factor for the 2023 NBA Playoffs

Time Lord and the Boston Celtics are back in the postseason once again. The Celtics haven’t been the historic defensive unit like they were last season, but with Robert Williams getting more minutes and coming off the bench, he will be Boston’s X-Factor.

Last season, the Celtics’ defense arose from the dead into one of the best defensive units in NBA history. Boston ranked No. 1 in almost every single defensive category last season thanks to Williams finding his form. The Celtics ranked first in points per game allowed, assists allowed, field goal percentage allowed and three point percentage allowed. Not to mention, they were fourth in defensive rebounds and second in blocks.

Pick-and-Roll defense

This season, Williams hasn’t lived up to last season’s expectations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t count out the shot blocking machine. Not only is Williams a shot blocking god, but he is extremely athletic. Williams has been a key player in rotation when it comes to defensive adaptability. He is very good in defensive rotation, especially in pick-and-rolls.

Atlanta is one of the league’s highest used pick-and-roll offenses this season with Clint Capela, John Collins, Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. All four of these players play a massive role in the Hawks offense, essentially the entirety of it.


As said before, Williams is extremely athletic and, with that, he is one of the best rebounders in the game. This season, Williams is averaging almost three offensive rebounds a game, and against Clint Capela, the Celtics will need Williams rebounding game to win games. Atlanta ranks 10th in defensive rebounds allowed per game and 14th in offensive rebounds allowed per game. Williams can rebound on the Hawks team very easily, and that will be a massive component to win this series or even a title.


A trend is happening with Williams, and I know I keep saying it, but he is so athletic. It has to be said, because Williams is probably the most athletic center in the league. With that, Williams is very versatile in guarding players.

Seeing him during the last two seasons, he has become a very useful tool for Joe Mazzulla on defense. Williams can guard anyone from the 1 to the 5. He can stay with anyone because of his speed and athleticism. If the Celtics want to make another big run in the playoffs, they will need this down the road.

Final Thoughts

With Al Horford aging and not playing as many minutes, Williams will need to step up big time and play more than 24 minutes a game. He is one of the best defenders in the league and is a force for rebounds and picks on offense. The Celtics need Williams to be healthy and ready to go this post season because with the East getting more competitive, they will need every man to step up to the plate.


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