NBA

Robert Williams III to return for the Celtics return on Friday

By Sports Desk December 15, 2022

The Boston Celtics will welcome back their defensive anchor on Friday when Robert Williams III makes his season debut against the Orlando Magic.

Williams, 25, is coming off a breakout campaign where he started all 61 of his appearances, averaging the fourth-most blocks in the league at 2.2 per game.

With Williams protecting the rim, the Celtics emerged as the best defense in the NBA, conceding just 106.2 points per 100 possessions, although that number rose to 109.8 in the 21 games he missed.

For his stellar play, Williams was awarded a spot on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, but he is yet to suit up this season as he recovers from offseason surgery on his left knee, having played through a torn meniscus in the playoffs.

His return will be a welcome addition for the Celtics, who have seen their defense fall to the eighth-ranked unit in the league in his absence, but have remained the best team in the NBA – based on both record (22-7) and net-rating (plus 7.0) – due to their top-ranked offense.

Without Williams, the Celtics have leaned into their three-point shooting. They are tied for the league-lead with 16.3 made three-pointers per game, so it remains to be seen how new head coach Joe Mazzulla will incorporate a non-shooter like Williams into his system and what effect he will have on the offense.

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