Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens discuss the newest Celtic Robert Williams and what he can bring to the team
The newest member of the Boston Celtics, Robert Williams, was a galvanizing selection for the Boston Celtics at No. 27. It's fair to say that the Texas A&M product falling into Boston's lap in the late first round was a bit of a surprise, much to the delight of one Danny Ainge. Were there health concerns at the root of this slide? A lack of shooting? If other teams were having any these doubts, Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens certainly where not.
After selecting the 6'9", 240-pound Williams, Ainge and Stevens both discussed the kind of player he is and what he could bring to a future Celtics team. The first thing that stood out about Williams to the Celtics' front office was probably the same thing that stood out to any NBA fan who watched this kid at A&M - his exciting combo of length and athleticism. Despite underwhelming size for a player who projects to be a center at the next level, Williams more than makes up for it with his long 7'5" wingspan and explosive bounce ability.
"He's an amazing athlete, and that's a good place to start," Ainge told Celtic's Amanda Pflugrad at the brand new Auerbach Center later that night. Ainge also mentioned about his great length and overall feel for the game. In terms of skillset, Ainge pointed to how Williams is "a high-flyer, a rim protector, a terrific rebounder, and a good passer," while also adding how they "expect him to be a defensive presence for [them]." Check out his full comments on the selection:
One thing that sticks out to me is when he mentioned how Williams is "a player like none other on our team," which I think is very true. The Celts have been searching for a great rebounder and shot blocker for quite some time and, even if it may not be evident right away, that is exactly what this big man projects to be.
Again, with Williams initially expected to be taken somewhere near the lottery, he was likely not on Boston's radar coming into the draft. Stevens brings up how Danny and his right-hand man, Mike Zarren, started talking about him around the 17th pick:
Brad Stevens on Robert Williams being available at No. 27: "Danny [Ainge] and Mike [Zarren] really started talking about him around 17 or 18, and he’s a really talented guy. ... Each pick, we were hoping more and more that he would be available at 27." pic.twitter.com/iLKVo6zbxU
Addressing one of the potential concerns with this prospect, Stevens mentions how plugging Williams into a lineup of shooters would cover up his lack of shooting and open up a ton of lob opportunities at the rim:
The #Celtics Brad Stevens envisions having Robert Williams on the floor with four shooters, knowing the #Celtics can just throw the ball up at the rim and “he can just go get it.”
I think for a late first-rounder, why not go for the guy with the physical tools to be a force around the rim in this league. The Celtics have been so focused on perimeter shooting, so this envisioned scenario that Stevens provided is very refreshing and would help slightly recalibrate Boston's offensive attack.
Here are some other comments from Ainge and Stevens:
Hear from both Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge as they discuss their newest draft pick in Robert Williams. pic.twitter.com/UVXSGteqq9