After having three players suffer season ending injuries, it was apparent that the Celtics needed to add some depth to their roster. Danny Ainge appears to be addressing that issue now though, with Boston reportedly close to signing free agent guard, Terrence Williams.
The former 11th pick in 2009 out of Louisville has bounced around the NBA. Williams most recently played for the Sacramento Kings last season, where he averaged 8.8 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game. He’s also made stops in New Jersey and Houston.
The signing may seem odd at first glance considering the Celtics were most depleted at the point guard and center positions. Doc Rivers recently harped that the Celtics were no longer looking to fill a position based on need though, but rather trying to find the most talented player regardless.
“We can’t look at one position anymore. That’s what we were looking at, looking at size first, then a guard,” Rivers said. “Now we’re looking at players. We need players. We need to pick up a couple of players as soon as we can get them. That’s what basically we’re doing.”
Rivers did have a preference if the Celtics could fill one specific need however.
“I would say a ball-handling guard. It’s no longer a point guard, it’s just a guard,” Rivers said. “If I had my perfect guard for this group right now, it would be a guard that can play multiple positions and that can shoot, that has some toughness.”
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is a jack-of-all-trades, and he can provide the Celtics’ lineup some much needed versatility. His height and 220-pound frame allow him to defend against most small forwards, while his speed and athleticism still make him a great matchup against smaller guards.
He is not the greatest shooter but does have ability to knock down the mid-range jumpshot, enough so to keep defenders honest. His powerful frame also makes him a strong finisher around the rim. In college he was often relied on to initiate offense, so the Celtics can even use him at point guard for spot minutes.
This will need to be a quick transition for Williams. He was recently playing in China this year, but left earlier this month after a death in the family. Williams was having a very productive season overseas, averaging nearly 18 ppg for the first place Guangdong Southern Tigers. He will now have to go from a number one option in China, to a role player off the bench for the Celtics.
That’s not to say he can’t do more though as Williams has shown flashes of brilliance in the NBA, even recording a triple-double his rookie season with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the Chicago Bulls. He has been slowed down though by a lackluster work ethic. Many reports have indicated that Williams has been known to arrive at practice late on occasion.
With this only being a 10-day contract, Williams doesn’t have long to showcase his skills in what may be his last chance to impress NBA scouts. He’ll need to take full advantage of every opportunity he gets in the upcoming days. Being out of the NBA for a season could be the humbling experience that finally lights a fire under the once promising prospect.
The Seattle native should have plenty of support within the Celtics’ organization, as both Jason Terry and Avery Bradley reign from the same hometown, serving as possible mentors.
It’s at the point in his career when it’s now or never for Williams. For both Celtics’ fans and Williams’ NBA future, it better be now.