R-Dub: Time Lord, Tantalizing Sleeper, or Just a Late Flier?

Imbricus

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Look, Rob, Timex endorsement aside: "Lob" Williams is that oversized doofus you flip the ball to on the playground and he throws down a dunk, then you hustle back on defense, and everyone forgets about him two seconds later.

Time Lord (TimeLord, TIME LORD, whatever) can change your very perception of reality and warp the fabric of space and time. You're Kelly Oubre, you've just snagged an offensive rebound, you're putting the ball back up, and a millisecond later it's rocketing off the backboard like a pool shot and you have no idea what the hell just happened. In the pantheon of NBA superheros, only one does this, and it's not "Lob" Williams. Only a Time Lord can block 5 shots in 10 minutes. And he can do it without fouling because, damn, he's the Time Lord, and even though he's a rookie, the NBA game has already slowed down for him, because he controls time, and ...

Rob, dude, five years from now, no one's going to remember this nickname came about because you slept through a press conference and missed a flight. They're just going to say, "Man, that Williams is special, and that's one of the coolest nicknames on the planet." Embrace it. (P.S.: luxury watchmakers have a LOT of money and not a lot of hip endorsement opportunities. Play a little hard to get.)
 

Van Everyman

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How certain are we R-Dub’s supposed dislike of the TimeLord nickname wasn’t driven by management? Wasn’t it just reported the other day how much he *did* like it?
 

chilidawg

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His emergence as an inside presence has been huge for us. This is a key part of what we were lacking earlier in the season.
He's still less than 100 minutes into his career, but his +/- numbers are by far the worst on the team. So while I love it every time he comes into the game, I'm not sure it's really translating into winning basketball. Yet.
 

Cellar-Door

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He's still less than 100 minutes into his career, but his +/- numbers are by far the worst on the team. So while I love it every time he comes into the game, I'm not sure it's really translating into winning basketball. Yet.
He's a rookie, they almost never really make positive contributions. Beyond that though, he also has the misfortune to be on a team where his -1.3 on court +/- is bad because the team is so good. The signs are encouraging on the underlying numbers. Celtics defense is slightly better when he's on the court than off, the offense is much worse. I'd also like to see how that moves as his biggest number of minutes came when Kyrie was out, and the Celtics offense with Kyrie off the court is bad so that might come up a bit.
 

HomeRunBaker

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He led team in +/- against NO. Was -14 last night.
These individual game plus minuses are meaningless. Most of that variance in these games came from teams running either hot or cold from 3 where he had little if any impact.
 

bankshot1

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Again subject to the whims of SSS, but so far his interior presence on the D-end has been pretty impressive (and fun to watch) and fingers crossed, he will only get better with experience and coaching. Offensively there's not much there other than picks and alley oops, so if he can hit an occasional outside shot...

TL's a project but the upside could be substantial.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Again subject to the whims of SSS, but so far his interior presence on the D-end has been pretty impressive (and fun to watch) and fingers crossed, he will only get better with experience and coaching. Offensively there's not much there other than picks and alley oops, so if he can hit an occasional outside shot...

TL's a project but the upside could be substantial.
Oh I agree with all this and believe that he is much more offensively skilled than he’s been able to show thus far. It’s just that this plus/minus numbers over one game don’t tell any story.....or even worse in that they tell a misleading one.
 

lovegtm

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Again subject to the whims of SSS, but so far his interior presence on the D-end has been pretty impressive (and fun to watch) and fingers crossed, he will only get better with experience and coaching. Offensively there's not much there other than picks and alley oops, so if he can hit an occasional outside shot...

TL's a project but the upside could be substantial.
Is he that much of a project relative to other rookie bigs with his skill set? It always takes some time for rim-running shot-blockers to figure out the schemes and positioning and awareness. He's already moved out of the "can he stay on the floor in the NBA?" category, which is a big step for a rookie big 28 games in.

Put another way, what would the narrative be had he been drafted 7th instead of 27th? People would still be excited, but there would be less waiting for the other shoe to drop.
 

chilidawg

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He's a rookie, they almost never really make positive contributions. Beyond that though, he also has the misfortune to be on a team where his -1.3 on court +/- is bad because the team is so good. The signs are encouraging on the underlying numbers. Celtics defense is slightly better when he's on the court than off, the offense is much worse. I'd also like to see how that moves as his biggest number of minutes came when Kyrie was out, and the Celtics offense with Kyrie off the court is bad so that might come up a bit.
From BB Ref, he's at -8.8 per 100 possessions. Next worst is Average Al at +1.3. SSS numbers of course.
 

lovegtm

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From BB Ref, he's at -8.8 per 100 possessions. Next worst is Average Al at +1.3. SSS numbers of course.
Rookies very rarely help winning. I want Brad to play him because he looks like he can be a really, really good player with NBA development minutes, not because I think he's better than Theis and Baynes right now. He's too good for G-League.
 

bankshot1

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Is he that much of a project relative to other rookie bigs with his skill set? It always takes some time for rim-running shot-blockers to figure out the schemes and positioning and awareness. He's already moved out of the "can he stay on the floor in the NBA?" category, which is a big step for a rookie big 28 games in.

Put another way, what would the narrative be had he been drafted 7th instead of 27th? People would still be excited, but there would be less waiting for the other shoe to drop.
He may have been a bigger project relative to other 1s/rookie bigs, in that the Celts are so freakin' deep, that absent injuries to Horford and Baynes. TL's minutes would be few and likely concentrated in garbage time. A lot of other highly regarded rookies get real PT as they are needed to play big minutes immediately.

The recent opportunity to play has come against front-line guys who should be schooling him in the paint. But as we've seen he's held his own and may be creating a real opportunity to play prime-time minutes.
It will be an interesting coaching developmental decison to see how they bring him along.
 

benhogan

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I'm curious to see how Brad uses TimeLord(TL) once Horford is healthy and when they start playing better teams. I've been pining for more Baynes/Theis PT, but TL clearly changes that equation. The Celtics have to see what they have with this kid. There isn't a good way to project him other than to play him with the better players and see where he works/adds value. Brad is excellent at playing to players strengths and figuring out roles. TL could become a 10 min/game situational difference maker by the playoffs. Not only does he block shots at a high rate, but he also alters shots around the rim (ie AD's shot after a few blocks).

The only thing I'm certain of now is Guershon Yabusele has a very limited to no role on this team moving forward. Re-upping him for next season was a head-scratcher, Yabu is a 5th string BIG(5) or big wing(4), that does nothing special. Any minutes he gets takes away from TL or Semi, is a net negative. You can pick up 5th stringers off the scrap heap for league minimum. I'd rather use his spot for young, small scrappy defense first PG (ie Carter, Weber) or 3pt sniper (ie Jenkins) that reside in the G-League. We also have a two-way contract available after cutting Lemon. What rebuilder would want Yabu w/that contract?
 
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BigSoxFan

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I'm curious to see how Brad uses TimeLord(TL) once Horford is healthy and when they start playing better teams. I've been pining for more Baynes/Theis PT, but TL clearly changes that equation. The Celtics have to see what they have with this kid. There isn't a good way to project him other than to play him with the better players and see where he works/adds value. Brad is excellent at playing to players strengths and figuring out roles. TL could become a 10 min/game situational difference maker by the playoffs. Not only does he block shots at a high rate, but he also alters shots around the rim (ie AD's shot after a few blocks).

The only thing I'm certain of now is Guershon Yabusele has a very limited to no role on this team moving forward. Re-upping him for next season was a head-scratcher, Yabu is a 5th string BIG(5) or big wing(4), that does nothing special. Any minutes he gets takes away from TL or Semi. You can pick up 5th stringers off the scrap heap for league minimum. I'd rather use his spot for young, small scrappy defense first PG (ie Carter, Weber) or 3pt sniper (ie Jenkins) that reside in the G-League. We also have a two-way contract available after cutting Lemon. What rebuilder would want Yabu w/that contract?
He’ll probably be salary filler in a trade at some point.
 

TomTerrific

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Don't get me wrong, I love TimeLord (TM) and will be happy to continue using it. But I thought this suggestion last night, from either Scal or Gorman, I forget who, was pretty good:

"Block Mamba"
 

HomeRunBaker

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I'm curious to see how Brad uses TimeLord(TL) once Horford is healthy and when they start playing better teams. I've been pining for more Baynes/Theis PT, but TL clearly changes that equation. The Celtics have to see what they have with this kid. There isn't a good way to project him other than to play him with the better players and see where he works/adds value. Brad is excellent at playing to players strengths and figuring out roles. TL could become a 10 min/game situational difference maker by the playoffs. Not only does he block shots at a high rate, but he also alters shots around the rim (ie AD's shot after a few blocks).

The only thing I'm certain of now is Guershon Yabusele has a very limited to no role on this team moving forward. Re-upping him for next season was a head-scratcher, Yabu is a 5th string BIG(5) or big wing(4), that does nothing special. Any minutes he gets takes away from TL or Semi. You can pick up 5th stringers off the scrap heap for league minimum. I'd rather use his spot for young, small scrappy defense first PG (ie Carter, Weber) or 3pt sniper (ie Jenkins) that reside in the G-League. We also have a two-way contract available after cutting Lemon. What rebuilder would want Yabu w/that contract?
He’ll be our 4th big on a team that rarely plays more than one. In other words I except to see more shuttle time up to Maine when we are at full strength.
 

benhogan

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He’ll be our 4th big on a team that rarely plays more than one. In other words I except to see more shuttle time up to Maine when we are at full strength.
Are you holding firm to 29mins/game of Horford at the 5, as Brad has done so far this year?

OR

will Brad experiment with Horford at the 4 (like last season) for half his minutes next to a Theis/Baynes/TL?
 

HomeRunBaker

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Are you holding firm to 29mins/game of Horford at the 5, as Brad has done so far this year?

OR

will Brad experiment with Horford at the 4 (like last season) for half his minutes next to a Theis/Baynes/TL?
Yes. Horford is our 5 and would only play the 4 against specific rotation matchups or a mulittude of injuries to our wings where the choice is Baynes/Theis or Ojeleye as was the case last season. I don’t see any evidence or logic for this to change.
 

Big John

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The Time Lord will actually contribute to winning by helping to keep Horford and Baynes healthy and well-rested. I will be interested to see how he does tonight against the Pistons' large front line.
 

sezwho

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He’ll probably be salary filler in a trade at some point.
Yup. I saw him as long odds (or even longer than his draft position would imply) from the moment he was selected: instead of taking the best player available they instead took the best available draft and stash-able player. The fan in me always hoped he would turn into something, but I was always frustrated DA seemed to 'force' that one. Maybe trade for future pick rather than get boxed in? Anyways...

The Time Lord will actually contribute to winning by helping to keep Horford and Baynes healthy and well-rested. I will be interested to see how he does tonight against the Pistons' large front line.
This is also really true (including the bit about the Piston's game). Its very hard for a rookie, however flashy, to keep up with regular rotation NBA players right out of the gate. They can however, definitely bring energy off the bench and spell the top of the rotation...and in his case most importantly develop. He is such an exceptionally athletic big man that I'm really not sure how much he develops his game in the G-League so its great to seem him getting minutes now.

I'm now hoping #TimeLord is the NBA player I hoped Nerlens Noel would be, but in a Cs jersey!
 

benhogan

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Yes. Horford is our 5 and would only play the 4 against specific rotation matchups or a mulittude of injuries to our wings where the choice is Baynes/Theis or Ojeleye as was the case last season. I don’t see any evidence or logic for this to change.
OK, that's cool if you don't think Brad will experiment with
Horford at the 4, to get TL a few minutes. I thought maybe you'd soften your stance a bit.

As far as last season. Hayward was done. BUT Marcus Morris*, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Semi Ojeleye were all healthy and playing wing by early November (with Rozier/Larkin backing up Kyrie).

*MaMo missed the first 2 weeks.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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OK, that's cool if you don't think Brad will experiment with
Horford at the 4, to get TL a few minutes. I thought maybe you'd soften your stance a bit.

As far as last season. Hayward was done. BUT Marcus Morris*, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Semi Ojeleye were all healthy and playing wing by early November (with Rozier/Larkin backing up Kyrie).

*MaMo missed the first 2 weeks.
We are not a developmental team where Brad/Ainge is looking to get young players minutes. They don’t have to as over an 82-game schedule these guys will have plenty of time to get their feet wet and give us some rotational minutes. There is no need to force them especially as the expense of playing Horford out of position without it being a necessity.

Smart and Morris missed over a third of the season last year. Theis and Kyrie missed a quarter of the year. Jaylen and Horford missed 10 games. We were near the top of the league in man games lost from our rotation last year.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Not too surprising. He often looks like a ball in high grass out there - a tremendous shot blocking ball in high grass, mind you, but still a ball in high grass.

He flashes lots of skills beyond just shot blocking though.
 

The Mort Report

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Yup. I saw him as long odds (or even longer than his draft position would imply) from the moment he was selected: instead of taking the best player available they instead took the best available draft and stash-able player. The fan in me always hoped he would turn into something, but I was always frustrated DA seemed to 'force' that one. Maybe trade for future pick rather than get boxed in? Anyways...
Wasnt he easily the best player talent wise available? There was talk of him being a lottery pick and if he had come out a year earlier a high lotto pick. His biggest knock was off the court stuff and he was stuck on a team that didn’t take advantage of his skills. Who was the player you would have picked over him? And I’m talking at the time of the draft, not what we have seen this season. And at 27 are you saying you’d rather have a guy drafted with a ceiling of a 7th guy with a floor of 12th over a potential high end defensive starter who could also flame out?
 

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Wasnt he easily the best player talent wise available? There was talk of him being a lottery pick and if he had come out a year earlier a high lotto pick. His biggest knock was off the court stuff and he was stuck on a team that didn’t take advantage of his skills. Who was the player you would have picked over him? And I’m talking at the time of the draft, not what we have seen this season. And at 27 are you saying you’d rather have a guy drafted with a ceiling of a 7th guy with a floor of 12th over a potential high end defensive starter who could also flame out?
Pretty sure you guys are talking about two different players. He's talking about Yabu.
 

benhogan

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We are not a developmental team where Brad/Ainge is looking to get young players minutes. They don’t have to as over an 82-game schedule these guys will have plenty of time to get their feet wet and give us some rotational minutes. There is no need to force them especially as the expense of playing Horford out of position without it being a necessity.

Smart and Morris missed over a third of the season last year. Theis and Kyrie missed a quarter of the year. Jaylen and Horford missed 10 games. We were near the top of the league in man games lost from our rotation last year.
Agreed the Celtics are not a development team, but they will try different lineups, as Brad has said in several press conferences. We all agree this team is built for a playoff run. So Brad needs to (1)figure out the best player rotations by the playoffs and (2)keep guys healthy by limiting their minutes/games/positioning during the regular season.

My "experiment" comment came with a tinge of sarcasm. Horford played many of his minutes at 4 last season alongside Baynes. Due to injuries or not, Al excelled at the 4 and put up very efficient numbers. It was his best season as a Celtic (and in several years). The team was better when he played alongside Baynes (off rtg/def rtg difference when they paired up). Most importantly, as we've witnessed already, Horford will get worn down to a nub if they continue to use him for 29mins/game against bigger, stronger, younger, & motivated 5s

https://stats.nba.com/lineups/advanced/?Season=2017-18&SeasonType=Regular Season&TeamID=1610612738&GroupQuantity=2&sort=GROUP_NAME&dir=-1
 
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HomeRunBaker

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Agreed the Celtics are not a development team, but they will try different lineups, as Brad as have said in several press conferences. We all agree this team is built for a playoff run. So Brad needs to (1)figure out the best player rotations by the playoffs and (2)keep guys healthy by limiting their minutes/games/positioning during the regular season.

My "experiment" comment came with a tinge of sarcasm. Horford played many of his minutes at 4 last season alongside Baynes. Due to injuries or not, Al excelled at the 4 and put up very efficient numbers. It was his best season as a Celtic (and in several years). The team was better when he played alongside Baynes (off rtg/def rtg difference when they paired up). Most importantly, as we've witnessed already, Horford will get worn down to a nub if they continue to use him for 29mins/game against bigger, stronger, younger, & motivated 5s

https://stats.nba.com/lineups/advanced/?Season=2017-18&SeasonType=Regular Season&TeamID=1610612738&GroupQuantity=2&sort=GROUP_NAME&dir=-1
I addressed this is a post two weeks ago. The game is different from last year and the players playing those minutes are different than last year. Last year isn’t this year and last year wasn’t anything Brad wanted to do as he was forced to do so due to injuries.
 

Imbricus

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Those NBA predictions were very interesting to scroll through, though one has to be wrong. Model says Toronto has a 17% chance of winning the NBA finals. Model also says Toronto is expected to win 43 games this year. Huh??? Also, on the Celtics, model seems to like Yabu a lot better than Semi. Yabu is even a + on defense.
 

DrewDawg

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That rating also has Hayward as our second best offensive player, by a rather decent margin.

538 is iffy for me. They had an article last football season that the NFL's passing explosion was over.
 

TripleOT

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I've seen TL in person for two games, his coming out party against the Pels and AD, and the win against the Hawks, when he channeled Dikembe. He had 8 blocks in the 42 minutes, and went after every single shot anywhere near him. He gets off the floor well, obviously, and his recovery jump a second or third time is exceptional. He had 16 rebounds, even though he was trying to block every shot, and showed good rebounding instincts.

Williams sets an ok pick for a skinny rookie with no experience. He moves his feet exceptionally well, and I can see him squaring up on littles on the perimeter defending the pick.roll, and holding his own, a al Capela. Boston can have spells in games where the other team has their way in the paint. Williams can be a decent antidote to that. I'd like to see him get 5 or 6 minutes every half.
 

amarshal2

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Those NBA predictions were very interesting to scroll through, though one has to be wrong. Model says Toronto has a 17% chance of winning the NBA finals. Model also says Toronto is expected to win 43 games this year. Huh??? Also, on the Celtics, model seems to like Yabu a lot better than Semi. Yabu is even a + on defense.
Look at the minutes. Because of injury they’re projecting all sorts of bench warmers big minutes.

When you select the “playoff” lineup they have Raptors as best and Celtics second best in East.

Of course Kyle Lowry as the third best offensive player in the East (Kyrie, Kemba— give it up for the K named PGs) seems reasonable YTD but entirely unsustainable going forward.
 
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the moops

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Watching the game last night, Williams does seem to get himself in no-mans land too often on DHO's and pick n rolls, but he is able to recover some (many?) times because of his length and athleticism. You could tell the difference in watching Theis, who generally was in better position that Williams. However, I am unsure there was much difference in their effectiveness because of the difference in length and recovery of Williams
 

Jimbodandy

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Watching the game last night, Williams does seem to get himself in no-mans land too often on DHO's and pick n rolls, but he is able to recover some (many?) times because of his length and athleticism. You could tell the difference in watching Theis, who generally was in better position that Williams. However, I am unsure there was much difference in their effectiveness because of the difference in length and recovery of Williams
Great observation imo.

Where that stuff does make a difference is on offense though. The opposition only needs to defend the lob. They can totally leave him alone more than two feet from the rim and defend the passes and cutters. Theis can bury a 10-15' open jumper. TL can too probably, but he 100% looks to move the ball. It would help a lot if he would try a 1-dribble power move from the line occasionally or a simple jumper, just to keep them honest.