Robert Williams
Robert Williams is showing massive potential. The Timelord is showing playmaking ability that could take his game to the next level. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Robert Williams Is Showing Immense Potential

Can Robert Williams develop into a franchise caliber center for the Boston Celtics? When the Celtics traded Enes Kanter this offseason, it signaled that Boston was all in on the man known as Timelord. Williams in his third NBA season is showing flashes of brilliance.

The NBA is becoming a shooters league. If you can’t shoot, you don’t belong on the floor. There’s still a place for Rim protectors but the pure centers need to have the following traits; shot blocking, efficiency, athleticism, and play making. Williams has all of the above.

Williams’ 7-foot-6 wingspan and ferocious shot blocking got him drafted in the first round by the Celtics in 2018. Williams was just always too clunky and lacked the awareness to stay on the floor for long stretches. He would miss easy defensive assignments and just didn’t have the NBA feel early on.

Williams is getting better at the little things and is slowly becoming a force in the league. This was always in his bag of tricks but we’re seeing the playmaking ability more and more. How many centers in the league are capable of making passes like this?

“I feel like a lot of stuff is slowing down over the course of the game,” Williams said of his improved passing ability Friday afternoon following shootaround in Detroit. “Passing is something that I love to do. Hopefully I’ll make more plays like that.”

“We see Rob make the passes in practice that you probably wouldn’t think Rob could do,” Smart said ahead of his team’s New Years Day game against the Pistons. “So we’re no longer surprised with Rob when he does things like that.”

Williams has posted a 25.6 PER in the early stages of the 2020-21 season. That’s off the charts good. We’re only seeing him about 15 minutes a night but Williams makes the most of them. The former Texas A&M product is converting 79% of his attempts from the floor. Williams is great on lobs and puts home basically anything close to the basket.

More so than anything, just being a pro has been the Timelord’s problem. Tristan Thompson has had a positive effect on big Rob.

“I remember being that kid that’s trying to figure out my niche and figure out how can I impact this league, and I think Rob has a lot of potential,” Thompson said. “So for me, being that guy that used to be like that and having vets like [Kendrick Perkins] and Antawn Jameson help kind of mold my game as a pro, I want to pass it down because I think at the end of the day, that’s part of being a pro. Take the gems I’ve learned from guys before me and give it to guys like Rob. His energy, especially coming off the bench can change a game so much. His athletic ability whether it’s running the floor, blocking shots, rebounding, putbacks, all of those things especially coming off the bench can impact the game so much.

“I love the kid. I love how he works. I love his energy. So if I can help him become a better player, because he’ll help me be better. So we’ll help each other become better and in the long run, that’s how in the playoffs I do my thing, he checks in for me and he does his thing, and it’s a reckoning. Teams don’t get no time off at the center position. You got me kicking their ass and you got Rob kicking their ass. That’s what I’m just trying to do. Get him better each and every day, and he’ll get me better.”

The constant lob threats are always going to be there. More importantly, pace won’t be an issue. Slow centers can have an adverse affect on the entire team. Williams can get up and down the floor no problem.

Keep an eye on Williams moving forward in the Celtics rotation. The talent is off the charts. How many centers have this type of athletic traits and can pass the ball like Williams? If Boston wants to reach the Finals, Timelord is someone who is crucial towards the future.