This is a recent interview with Shelden Williams from Jay King.
Rasheed Wallace was back from injury, and to Shelden Williams that meant he might not leave the bench against the Dallas Mavericks. But there he was, an hour or so before the game, shooting free throw after free throw at the home team’s basket.
He knew he probably wouldn’t get a chance to shoot a free throw in the game. Hell, he knew he probably wouldn’t get a chance to even play in the game.
But that wasn’t an excuse to be unready.
“Whenever my name is called, I’ve got to get ready and stay ready,” Williams said. “Whether I play 5 minutes or 20-plus minutes, I have to approach every game like I’m still going to play.”
With Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace both healthy and Kevin Garnett seemingly on the mend, Williams’ playing time will likely continue to be limited. Going into each game, he doesn’t know when, or if, he’ll be called upon to contribute. He knows there’s a possibility, maybe even a likelihood, that he won’t get a chance to take off his warm up jersey.
Still, he understands why.
“It’s the situation I’m in, playing behind All-Star caliber guys,” he said. “You’ve got to understand the situation I’m in, who I’m playing behind and the team that we have, what we’re trying to accomplish.
“As a competitor, you always want to go out there and compete, and play, but you have to understand the situation.”
In a different situation, perhaps, Williams could play a fair share of minutes. Even in his limited role this season, Williams has shown the ability to contribute to an NBA roster. He is an ox on the glass, always active around the paint, and a strong and willing defender.
In Boston, though, Williams has been relegated mostly to the bench. After brief spells of semi-regular minutes during Davis’ and Wallace’s injuries, Williams has returned to basketball no-man’s land and his spot on the end of the bench.
Not that he’d want it any other way.
“This is the first time since I’ve played professionally that I’ve been on a winning team,” Williams said. “I’m happy with the way things are here.
“This is a team that’s used to winning, that has a chance to win every single game that we play. We’re competing for something bigger at the end of the day.
“Everything is fun around here, but at the same time people get their work done.”
And so does Williams. Even if he knows he probably won’t play. Even if he knows his pregame work could be the most extensive sweat he has the entire night.
“If it happens, I’ll be ready,” Williams said about the opportunity to play.
“If it doesn’t, I’m still going to be ready.”