Shelden Williams has been in the NBA for three seasons, and his best year came during his rookie campaign in Atlanta. After bouncing around with the basement dwellers of the league, Williams has landed in Boston and has a chance to rejuvenate what was once a promising career.
It might be a bit early to call Williams' career a disappointment since he is just 25 years old and has yet to reach 200 games played in the pros. But coming off a dominant career at NCAA powerhouse Duke, Williams has yet to live up to expectations.
Williams last started a game his rookie year with Atlanta before the Hawks became a feared underdog in the league and a playoff-caliber club. Since his days with the Hawks, Williams has spent time with the lowly Kings and the equally bad Timberwolves — two struggling franchises with shaky rosters trying to put together winning seasons.
Williams isn't going to be starting anytime soon for the Celtics, but that doesn't mean he can't compete for decent minutes under Doc Rivers. The same way Leon Powe and Glen Davis battled for playing time to become part of the Celtics' deep bench — their greatest strength after the Big Three — Williams has the ability to play a major role on a championship-caliber team.
Rivers will let Williams earn his own role on the team. If he is able to seize the opportunities given to him off the bench, he will force himself into the normal reserve rotation. But without success on the floor, his minutes will likely come during garbage time and in blowouts. With pretty significant turnover on the C’s bench this offseason, Williams’ role on the roster will be what he makes of it.
Veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace are available to share their experience and knowledge of the game at its highest level with the young Williams. And hopefully, the presence of the big name stars on the same team will help the former college standout realize his potential in the pros.
The combination of his own size, power and pure talent mixed with a surrounding cast that has already had the chance to redecorate the Garden rafters once puts Williams in the perfect situation to be successful and enjoy a breakout season. And if he can’t find a way to live up to his high draft selection with the most talented lineup in all of basketball, then where can he?
Once an All-American at Duke, Williams is now best known for being the husband of women's basketball sensation Candace Parker. Now he has a chance to be best known as a key component on one of the NBA's best teams.
The ceiling was once infinitely high for the fifth overall pick of the 2006 draft, and it has the ability to be once again now that he is surrounded by the right players on the right team.