With the Knicks now in the playoffs, we can look forward to potential match-ups and key players. In my mind, Shelden “The Landlord” Williams will play a large role for the Knicks if they want to have success in the playoffs.
Shelden stands at six foot nine and weighs 250 pounds. He had a fantastic collegiate career at Duke University where his number 23 was retired in 2007. He brings energy every night, and in college he was known for his shot-blocking ability, as well as his rebounding ability.
In the playoffs, Shelden can contribute three major things: size, experience, and defense/rebounding.
Shelden Williams is a legitimate big body, a quality that is essential in the playoffs as the game slows down and rebounds and extra possessions are at a premium. Furthermore, he is one of the few Knicks who can stand toe to toe with the physical centers that the Knicks will be facing in the playoffs. Although Ronny Turiaf fits this description, Turiaf has shown this year and in his career that he is a very injury prone player and thus cannot be relied upon to play a consistent amount of minutes on a game by game basis. D’Antoni has admitted that “for certain match-ups (Shelden’s) better for us. He gives us something we don’t have otherwise … bulk inside.” Shelden Williams has the size, grit, and ability to be a successful center for the Knicks in the postseason.
Defense and Rebounding.
In college, Shelden Williams won the National Association of Basketball Coaches Defensive Player of the Year back-to-back in 2005 and 2006. He is Duke’s all-time leader in blocks as well as rebounds. Many people criticized the Knicks for not boxing-out. Now that the Knicks have Shelden Williams on the team, all of those critics are silenced. Compared to Amare Stoudemire and Ronny Turiaf, Shelden grabs a higher percentage of rebounds available. His Total Rebounding Percentage numbers are higher then both Amares and Turiafs. Moreover, Shelden also posts the best DRtg (Defensive rating per 100 possessions) compared to any of the other Knicks big men.
At Duke, Shelden refined his abilities under Coach K. Although his rebounding numbers don’t jump off the page his box-out ability is very strong, as well as his defensive positioning, and overall basketball IQ. Shelden can play an intricate part in the success of this team come playoff time.
Shelden will benefit immensely due to the fact that this is not the first time he has been in the playoffs. On top of his NBA playoff experience, Shelden has also played in many high leverage games as a Dukie in college. Sheldon played 8 games last year with the Celtics in their run to the finals, and managed to get at least to the sweet 16 in the NCAAB tourney each year while attending Duke University. Shelden Williams is one of the elite few players on the Knicks roster that have playoff experience. The rest of the team will lean on Shelden and crew during important moments of the playoffs.
In the playoffs Shelden Williams will make a big impact through his size, defense, rebounding, and experience.