Robert Williams is Essential for Celtics Future

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The Boston Celtics have found themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons, and they have come up just short every single time. 

Photo courtesy of: Ashley Landis/AP Photo

Boston could not pull it off in 2017 against Cleveland despite Isaiah Thomas' historic season in which he averaged 28.9 points per game.  Cleveland bested them once again the following year despite the late-season heroics of Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, and Jaylen Brown.  After losing in the second round in 2019, the Celtics made their way back to the ECF last year, but were torched by the Miami Heat. 

Each and every year the puzzle seems nearly complete, but one piece is always missing.  That piece, in many people's eyes, is a big man. 

The situation down low has been a revolving door ever since Kevin Garnett got shipped to Brooklyn in 2013.  Things have simply never been the same.  Guys like Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, Aron Baynes, and Kelly Olynyk were all decent role players at best, but Boston found itself without a glass-eating, intimidating presence in the post. 

Flash forward to the modern day, and the Celtics have steadily been making strides to find that missing piece.  Boston signed Daniel Theis back in 2017 and added veteran big man Tristan Thompson this past offseason, but perhaps the biggest move they have made to improve their situation came on the night of the 2018 NBA Draft. 

With the 27th overall pick, the Celtics took their chance on Robert Williams, a 6-foot-8 forward/center out of Texas A&M.  Williams had slipped in the draft after his stock took a hit due to injury, but he had been projected to be a lottery pick in 2017 before electing to return to school instead. 

He quickly became a fan favorite and earned the nickname 'Time Lord' after sleeping through a team meeting via conference call and missing a team flight. 

Aside from his off the court antics, Williams has developed quickly in the organization and that development was on full display in the 2020 NBA Bubble. 

The former Aggie averaged 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and went 22-for-26 (85%) from the field in the five games prior to playoffs.  Once playoffs started, Williams continued to serve as a model of efficiency and shot 74% from the field.  The then-second-year man had a combined 21 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, and shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the field in the first two games of the conference semifinals against the Toronto Raptors.  The spark he provided off the bench allowed Boston to jump out to an early 2-0 series lead. 

Williams has carried over the momentum he built up in the bubble to this season and has received more minutes in a slightly larger role.  Through 27 games, the big man is averaging 6.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and is shooting a stellar 71% from the field in just about 16 minutes per game. 

Photo courtesy of Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

For years now, trade rumors have been swirling around social media and various news outlets regarding potential additions in the post to strengthen the roster.  From Andre Drummond to DeMarcus Cousins to Nikola Vucevic, there have been plenty of names thrown in the mix. 

Williams is by no means on the same level as any one of those names just yet, but you have to like how he is trending.  With that being said, at this point in time Williams might just be the most viable option out there for the team to work with in the near future. 

Drummond puts up the stats on a nightly basis, but they often come during a 20-point loss.  Cousins is likely past his prime and has struggled to stay healthy.  Vucevic would be a great addition, but at what cost? 

The fact of the matter is that Theis is not the glass-eating center Boston needs and Thompson might not be around too long considering he is on a two-year deal.  Fans are certainly hoping Theis and Thompson are not the answers for the future, and if they are, that future might not be a very bright one. 

In his third season, Williams is blossoming right before our eyes.  Whether it be a monster block, a sky-high throw down, or just some quality minutes of the bench, Williams does something on a nightly basis that makes you think that maybe, just maybe, this guy might just be untouchable as the trade deadline approaches. 

After all these years of searching elsewhere, the missing piece might be right in front of our eyes.  If the coaching staff can let loose and hand the keys to the paint to Williams, there is no telling what his ceiling could be.  At just 23 years old, he still has plenty of time to learn and build chemistry with Tatum, Brown, and the other young assets that Danny Ainge has so tirelessly worked to assemble. 

Regardless of what role Williams fills as the year continues, his future in Boston looks to be a bright one, and it might just be time for the Time Lord to get the chance to prove himself to the rest of the league. 


Follow Nick on Twitter: @thenickgalle

Check out Above The Parquet, the Syndicate’s podcast dedicated solely to the Boston Celtics and the rest of the NBA.  Follow on Twitter @AboveTheParquet.

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COMMENTS

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  1. Robert Williams is the only player that has blocked 2 shots in one game on Zion Williamson and Anthony Davis, two of the most unstoppable players in the league. He is in the same age group with Tatum and Brown. He accomplished those Defensive stops against the best the NBA has to offer while less than halfway thru his development. He is from Louisiana. Is it a coincidence that Robert Williams, Robert Parrish, and Bill Russell were all three born in the same hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana and all three became Boston Celtics Centers??? Time will tell.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Robert Williams is Essential for Celtics Future
Robert Williams is Essential for Celtics Future
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