If you’ve been watching any Boston Celtics basketball over the past week or so, you would be hard to miss the 6’10 240 lb athletic freak Robert Williams making plays all over the floor.
Utilizing his 7 foot 5 inch wingspan he’s been blocking shots, snatching rebounds from the top of the backboard and throwing down thunderous alley-oop slams. While it’s clear his offensive game is lacking with him being such a raw young talent, we have seen him make up for that with hustle plays like diving on the floor and chasing down blocks. The 27th pick in last June’s NBA draft is starting to live up to the potential we had dreamed about when the Celtics made that pick. Despite reports coming out that he had some issues with maturity and behavior while starring in college for the Texas A&M Aggies, trader Danny elected to take a shot on the 20-year-old. Before those reports, Williams had been slated as a lottery pick in the minds of many.
Williams was a defensive force in college over his time there, averaging an absurd 2.6 block per game and pulling down 9.2 rebounds per. He was twice named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, one for each season he was in school. His freakish athletic ability enabled him to get easy baskets and shot 62 percent from the field and averaged 10.6 PPG.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been forced to play Williams a little more than he may have wanted at this point in the year due to the fact that Al Horford and Aron Baynes have both missed time with injuries recently. While still looking inexperienced at times, it’s clear that he is a competitor and has provided big minutes.
One of the traits that has me the most impressed so far with Williams is his ability to quickly get off the floor for a block or rebound. He is so quick off his feet and when you add that to his absurd vertical leap of 40 inches and it starts opening eyes. That ability to get off the ground in a hurry reminds me of how Dennis Rodman used to be able to do that and consistently be the first person to the ball. Another modern-day NBA comparison for Williams is the Houston Rockets Clint Capela, another freakish athlete who played an essential role on Houston’s late playoff run last season.
While gaining popularity for his play lately, he also has garnered some attention for his somewhat strange and comical nickname “Time Lord.” A nickname he was ironically given on twitter after he was drafted because he missed his initial phone call with the team and then missed a flight to Boston for the first day of practice. It wasn’t exactly a great start for those that were skeptical of the pick, but those issues have seemed to have subsided and we haven’t heard of any other time difficulties since then. Despite that the nick name seems to have stuck
Nonetheless, “Time Lord” may be one of my favorite NBA nicknames I have heard in a quite a while. I would expect to see Williams continue to get more minutes as the season progresses. Not only will he provide a spark for this team on a nightly basis, but will help take some minutes off Baynes and Horford and enable the Celtics to keep them healthy and fresh down the stretch of the season.
Williams has a way to grow and will need to improve on the offensive side of the ball, but for now he certainly fits right in on a team that loves to pride themselves for their hustle and defense like the Celtics do. If he keeps this up we may soon be viewing him as a steal of this draft and no doubt have other GM’s across the league wishing it was them who was the “Time Lord” so they could travel back in time.