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 huge role for the Knicks if they want to have success in the playoffs.
Shelden stands at 6'9" and weighs 250 pounds. He had a fantastic collegiate career at Duke University where his No. 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.
Coach Mike D'Antoni has admitted that "for certain matchups, (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, 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 Williams on the team, all of those critics are silenced. Compared to Amare Stoudemire and Turiaf, Shelden grabs a higher percentage of rebounds available.
His Total Rebounding Percentage numbers are higher then both Amare's and Turiaf's. 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-stakes games as a Dukie in college.
Sheldon played eight games last year with the Celtics in their run to the Finals and managed to get at least to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tourney each year while attending Duke University.
Williams is one of the elite few players on the Knicks roster who has playoff experience. The rest of the team will lean on him and crew during important moments of the playoffs.