Williams hopes to make most of chance with Celtics


Williams hopes to make most of chance with Celtics

ORLANDO, Fla. For many of the players here, summer league games offer up a first taste of what professional basketball will be like.

And then there are players like the Sean Williams who come in having participated in the summer league circuit . . . a lot.

"This is like my fourth summer league," he said.

Williams' talent alone should exempt him from having to participate. But the NBA isn't just about having the most talented basketball players.

Often it's how those talents are used -- and misused -- that determines a player's status and NBA longevity.

Williams will be the first to tell you that he hasn't utilized his talents as well as he should. He'll tell you that he's made mistakes both in college and since coming into the NBA that have had a negative impact on his career in so many ways.

But that appears to be a thing of the past now as Williams continues to pump life into a once-fledgling NBA career that's starting to turn around for the better since he joined the C's in March. While his contract for this upcoming season has not been guaranteed yet, Williams continues to produce in a way that gives Boston little reason to look elsewhere as they try to add more depth for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

"I think he's grown up," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "That's why we give everybody a chance. I get coaches calling me about other guys all the time. I don't give a bleep about that. I'll give him a shot. If he burns you, you let him go."

The C's have shown no signs of wanting to do that.

And Williams, a former first-round pick out of Boston College, has no desire to leave.

But he understands that at the end of the day, this is a business and regardless of how well he does in summer league, there's no guarantee that he'll be back next season.

That, he says, is the beauty of Orlando's summer league.

"For a player like me, it's the only time yo come into a gym and there's only GMs, head coaches, team personnel here," Williams said. "Players get a sense of the evaluation that's going on here. You're trying to show that you can learn on the fly and adapt. What coaches give you in a couple of days, is what summer league is about. Players come out here, show you can adapt and come out here and do what you do."

Although he played fewer minutes (just over 14) than any other starter for the Celtics on Monday, there was no mistaking his impact on the game, altering shots, getting a deflection or rebounding the basketball.

Those are are high-energy, effort plays that speak to what Williams' strengths are as an NBA player.

"He's not skilled offensively much at all," Rivers said. "But he has a chance to be a shut-down defender, a shot blocker, a guy that you can bring in and change the tempo of the game. He rebounds the ball. He has that skill set in him. He has to marry himself to that."

Williams appears willing to do that, proving once again how much he has matured in comparison to his college days and early on in his NBA career.

"I think we forget many of these guys make mistakes at 22 and 23," Rivers said. "I'd like to see all of us at that age with the fame . . . it's not that easy. But it looks like he's grown."

One of Williams' former teammates in Boston and New Jersey, Keyon Dooling, spoke glowingly about the importance of younger players like Williams being open-minded enough to embrace the teachings of a veteran team like the Celtics.

"You want to pour into the young guys," Dooling said. "You want them to know that this is an NBA brotherhood. We have a sense of responsibility for each other. Right now, you may be following. But there's going to be a time when we're not here and you're going to be a leader. You're gonna have to pool these lessons you're learning here right now, and apply them to where you are in the future. You want to teach these young guys how to be leaders, how to be model citizens, how to be family men, how to dig deep, play hard, how to play through injuries, how to do all those things. It's a blueprint for success."

It's one that Williams is indeed subscribing to, which is why he has not hesitated to assist the Celtics two rookie big men, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, with whatever questions they might have.

"I'm learning from them, too," Williams said. "We're all pushing one another, trying to get better everyday. That's what we all want, both individually and as a team."

Williams added, "everyday is a learning experience for everybody out here."

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Celtics hope to rebound after being outplayed by Bulls on the boards

Following Thursday’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Boston Celtics will be on the prowl to rebound – literally – from its first defeat of the season.

Because for all that did not go right in Thursday night’s loss, the way Boston was beaten on the boards stands out emphatically.

“They got 24 more shots than us. We only turned it over (12) times,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss. “So that’s the obvious place they’re getting their possessions, on the glass. That’s going to be the number one thing, that has been the number one thing. It’s something we’ve talked about. We have to get better at it.”


Boston was out-rebounded 55-36 on the boards which heavily factored into Chicago’s 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.

In the Celtics' 122-117 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday, Boston won the overall rebounding battle 47-44, but had just 12 offensive rebounds compared to Brooklyn's 15 offensive boards. Despite the close margin, the Nets won the battle on the offensive glass running away, outscoring the Celtics 23-13 in second-chance points.

Stevens decided to start Tyler Zeller ahead of Amir Johnson to begin the third quarter, hoping Zeller would be a better matchup on the glass than Johnson who did not grab a single rebound in the 11 minutes of court time he got in the first half.

While Zeller did do a few good things on the glass and scoring in half-court sets, it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum Chicago was steadily gaining due to its ability to control the boards.

“I wasn’t real surprised but at the same time I knew it could happen,” Zeller told reporters, referring to Stevens’ decision to have him start the second half. “They did a good job of coming out and setting the tone. They beat us up on the boards, especially the first half. It’s something we have to get better at and continue to grow at.”

And it’s not a one-player or one-position issue, either.

Usually we think of bigs when it comes to rebounding. But Boston’s guards need to step up their rebounding game as well.

The struggles thus far have to be put in the context of this being just two games, the latter being the season opener for the Bulls who were jacked up more than usual due to it being the first game for Chicago native Dwyane Wade and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

“We have to focus on boxing out,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Guards have to do a better job. Guys like me, Al (Horford), Amir (Johnson), Tyler (Zeller) ... We have to do a good job of coming in the weak side and grabbing those; just focus on it, pay more attention to detail.”