The Boston Celtics have selected center Robert Williams in the 2018 NBA draft with the No. 27 overall pick.
Williams came back for his sophomore year at Texas A&M after generating first-round love in 2017. An explosive athlete with a spectacular physical profile, he continued to build a case around his ability to make an impact around the basket, though there wasn't much change from one year to the next in his production and limited skill set.
Weight: 241 pounds
Wingspan: 7'5 ½"
Pro-player comparison: Willie Cauley-Stein
Williams ranked as one of the nation's top finishers thanks to his power, length, hands and leaping ability. He shot 73.7 percent around the basket and converted 30 of 34 basket cuts. Williams also ranked in the 94th percentile in points per possession in transition. His most useful skill was his over-the-shoulder hook shot on the low block. His moves are basic and predictable, but he still made 34 of 62 attempts in the post, ranking in the 82nd percentile. Williams also did a fine job passing from the post (84th percentile).
He showed some touch as a freshman, but Williams missed all 12 of his three-point attempts last year and 27 of 38 jump shots in total. His free-throw mark fell from 59.0 to 47.1 percent. Unable to threaten the defense from outside the paint, Williams also shows little ability to use the dribble or create shots when his back isn't toward the basket. There were often games where he was a non-factor offensively.
Williams blocked 4.1 shots per 40 minutes, and that was while playing mostly power forward. Even if his motor and defensive IQ could stand to improve, his athleticism and length are built for rim protection. He also shows the potential to move his feet and switch out around the perimeter. Williams has the natural ability to become an impact defender, but he'll have to develop more discipline in terms of not trying to block everything. He'll also need to show a better understanding of making reads and what it means to dig in for full shot clocks.
Moving from the 4 to the 5 full-time will benefit Williams. But he appears too far behind offensively as a rookie to offer anything more than easy baskets, putbacks, rebounds and blocked shots. He'll be used strictly for his athleticism around the basket, though it wouldn't be surprising if he spent time in the G League next year.
Projected role: Role player
Williams' projected role is clear—he's a lob target, finisher, shot-blocker and hopeful switchable big. He won't be an option teams feed the ball in the half court unless he's right at the rim. The question is whether he can be elite in his core areas and follow in the footprints of Clint Capela or DeAndre Jordan, similar stud athletes who don't need ball skills or jump shots to be effective. In all likelihood, he comes closer to Cauley-Stein in terms of impact as a role player.
Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports.