Williams' play pointing towards sticking with Celtics

Williams' play pointing towards sticking with Celtics
February 23, 2013, 4:30 pm
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PHOENIX — Minutes removed from one of the better feel-good wins this season, Boston Celtic players were making plans for the night, the kind of on-the-road bonding all teams - the good ones at least - partake in during long trips.

Terrence Williams is one of the new guys to the roster, but as he's getting dressed he tells a couple of teammates, "don't forget me!"

They didn't.

And there's a good chance Danny Ainge and the Celtics won't either when it comes time to decide whether to re-up his 10-day contract next week.

He signed with the C's on Feb. 20.

Williams has done more than just showcase the skills that made him a lottery pick a few years ago. He's providing something that not a single Celtic on the roster delivers on a nightly basis now - a point guard's mentality.

That now affords players such as Terry and another newcomer Jordan Crawford to thrive in the roles that have defined who they have been in the NBA.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers has said repeatedly that everyone on the roster has a role that they need to play, and they need to play that role well ... every night.

Although it's only a small sample of just two games, Williams seems to be buying into that mentality quickly.

The same can be said for his defense which has been surprisingly weak for a player with his size, length and athleticism.

"That's been the biggest disappointment with him," said an NBA scout. "You look at that body with that kind of athleticism ... he should be in the same conversation with guys like (former Celtic) Tony Allen when you talk about really good, physical, strong defenders on the perimeter. He has all the tools but doesn't use them."

In Boston, Williams has no choice but to step his defensive game up if he wants to see action.

Having played just two games with the Celtics, Williams has already done enough to impress Doc Rivers who now envisions using Williams in ways that weren't under serious consideration until Friday night's win.

Rivers didn't think he could use Williams on the floor with Jason Terry and Jordan Crawford at the same time because Williams, who is bigger than Terry and Crawford, could not defend small forwards.

However, Williams' defense against the Los Angeles Lakers and the Suns showed Rivers enough to where he knows Williams has the tools to be a solid defender against players other than guards.

"I didn't know you could put Terrence at the 3 (small forward) defensively at times," Rivers said. "Because he can do that, you can play those three together."

And that provides yet another matchup problem for opponents which is something the C's seem to be creating more of with their small-ball lineups.

Boston's use of interchangeable players is something Williams experienced while playing at the University of Louisville. With the Cardinals, Williams' position was often determined by the opponent and whatever Louisville needed most from him in that particular game.

"On paper I was a three (small forward), but in the game I actually brought the ball up," Williams said. "I just like to have the ball in my hands."

He's going to get that opportunity here in Boston, if for no other reason than his teammates know that if they're open he'll get it to them.

"Oh, he's definitely going to help us," said Boston's Chris Wilcox who was on the receiving end of a Williams pass that led to an uncontested dunk.

But more than his play, Williams' chances of sticking will also hinge on how quickly he embraces the teachings of the Celtics' veterans.

So far, he's off to a good start.

He has seemingly bought in already to the impact and presence that Garnett has on this team - even when Garnett isn't around.

"It's great," Williams said. "Even though KG wasn't here (playing against Phoenix) I could still hear him in my ear, 'be aggressive. Keep playing.' It's definitely great."