For you Patriot fans out there, I hope you remember the Michael Bishop and Rohan Davey days. It was back when Drew Bledsoe was still pretty damn good, but fans always thought Bishop and Davey were the next superstars. Whenever anything went wrong with Bledsoe, fans clamored for the young stars to get a shot.
In the end, they turned out to be more black hole than star, but that never stopped people from calling for the backup QB to put down the clipboard and get a few snaps. Fans don’t have a eureka moment until the backup gets in and they realize, “Damn, there’s a reason he’s a backup. He’s not as good as the starter.”
Doc Rivers thinks the same thing is happening a little bit with Shelden Williams. (WEEI)
It’s like the back-up quarterback in the NFL — everybody wants to see the other guy. When you’re winning, they don’t care who’s playing, everybody’s good. But if you lose a couple games, why don’t you do this and why don’t you play this – who are you going to play him in front of? Rasheed Wallace is our backup center, so you’re not going to put him there. And Baby has not played bad at all, Baby has played pretty well, so that’s why it’s tough. And you also have Scalabrine. The thing we know about Shelden is he’s ready when he’s called upon, and so is Scalabrine. And on the depth chart right now Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace are in front of Sheldon, but Shelden stays ready and that’s what you need.
I’m not so sure there are too many fans calling for Shelden to be in the rotation — I know I’m not — but I guess there might be some. Still, even though I don’t think Williams should play many minutes — or any minutes — I admire the hell out of him.
You can say a fair deal of negative things about Shelden Williams’ game: He’s not a talented finisher, doesn’t have great hands, and has less moves than Dwight Howard.
But you can’t ever say anything negative about his preparation. Just like Scal, those two guys are as professional as they come. They stay ready to play every single night, even knowing they will probably chalk up another DNP-CD. As much as I admire the talent and skill of superstars, I have just as much respect for a bench-warmer with a good attitude. I know it probably helps that Williams is paid $1.3 million per year, but he’s getting that money even if he decides to wear a tu-tu to practice and skip all the drills. Williams doesn’t have to earn his money, but he does. And Scal? I don’t know if he quite earns his $3 million, but it isn’t for lack of effort.
The Globe had a nice piece about Williams the other day, discussing the plight of fluctuating playing time. Williams never knows whether he’ll get in, and is frustrated sometimes by the lack of minutes. Still, he understands why he isn’t playing and knew what he was getting into when he signed in Boston. (Boston Globe)
“It’s about being a professional,” Williams said. “I knew I was in a tough situation with all the guys that’s been on the team already and that already had their set roles. Then also guys that are veteran guys and playing behind them. So, in order to stay ready I had to continue to stay positive, come in and do my same routine, keep my conditioning up and keep hustling hard and if something happens I’ll be ready for it.”
Respect isn’t just given, you’ve got to earn it. Williams has done that with his attitude and, when he gets the chance, his rugged play.