Despite stars and depth, Robert Williams remains Celtics' linchpin


On one hand, Brian Scalabrine has no problem saying this year’s Celtics team is “much better” than the one that made it to the 2022 NBA Finals. On the other, he has the same concern everyone else did going into last postseason, which appears to be the No. 1 concern surrounding this team’s title hopes again.

Can Robert Williams stay healthy throughout the playoffs? And if he can’t stay healthy, what can the Celtics do in the playoffs?

“I don’t think (the Celtics) win without Rob Williams,” Scalabrine said on Boston’s title chances during his weekly appearance on Jones & Mego.

And that uncertainty appears to have been the driving force behind why Scalabrine was among the group that thought the C’s should’ve added a certain Spurs big man at the deadline — who, instead, was sent to Toronto for his second tour with the Raptors.

“That’s why when you guys asked me, who should (the Celtics) trade for, I said Jakob Poeltl. Now you guys can kind of understand why.” Scalabrine said. “…Am I concerned (about Williams’ health)? Of course I’m concerned. I’d be a moron not to be concerned about that.”

“Concerned” may be putting it mildly when considering how Scalabrine feels about the Celtics’ chances against Milwaukee without Williams.

“If (Williams) can’t play, I don’t know how much of a chance (the Celtics) have of beating the Milwaukee Bucks,” Scalabrine said. “I don’t know. I think we’re pretty good, but battling Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and Brook Lopez over the course of a seven-game series without Rob, it’s going to be tough.”

For those wondering, Williams only played in the first three games of the Celtics’ 2022 NBA Playoffs series against the Bucks.

So, while Scalabrine thinks the C’s are better than they were last season, he doesn’t seem confident they can beat Milwaukee again without Time Lord. Regardless of how that may seem paradoxical, it’s impossible to deny the Celtics can’t afford hiccups when it comes to the handling of Williams’ the rest of the way. And for all the sound moves Brad Stevens has made, this also begs the question: Why wasn’t this planned for better?

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