Timelord Sees a Future as a Playmaker: ‘Passing is Something I Love to Do’
Robert Williams wants to be more than just a high-flying dunker and shot-blocker for the Boston Celtics. The third-year center is also striving to become a playmaker, and it has shown in recent times.
After dishing out only seven assists during his rookie campaign, Williams began to evolve into a more prominent facilitator last season. He started to show signs of passing improvement inside the bubble where he dished out 14 helpers over a 12-game period spanning from the seeding games into the early part of the Playoffs.
So far this season, Williams has continued to build upon his ability to make plays for others, which he displayed Wednesday night when he dished out two beautiful dimes on back-to-back possessions midway through the third quarter of Boston’s 126-107 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Over a 28-second span, Williams delivered a perfect touch-pass to Marcus Smart for a wide-open 3-pointer, followed by a bounce-pass to Jaylen Brown on a backdoor cut for an easy fast-break layup.
In both instances, Williams was required to act quickly due to the defense collapsing around him, and both times, he delivered perfectly under pressure.
Rob Williams: "Passing is something that I love to do. Hopefully I’ll make more plays like that." pic.twitter.com/TGGQLn9Oba— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) January 1, 2021
“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.”
Those two plays may have astonished Celtics fans, but they came as no shock to Williams’ teammates, who see him make such passes on a daily basis.
“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.”
It helps that Williams has had the opportunity to learn under a handful of playmaking big men, including Al Horford, Daniel Theis and newcomer Tristan Thompson. By molding his game after those players, he’s hoping that he’ll be able to earn more minutes at the center position in the near future.
“I feel like my passing makes our team more versatile, you know, being able to play through me or Theis or Tristan, all of us are great passers,” he said. “But I feel like it helps everyone out.”
Smart agrees with Williams in that aspect and believes that if the young center can maintain his health, his passing ability will only continue to improve. In other words, we might see Timelord eventually evolve into Dimelord.
“With Rob, I think we all see his growth when it comes to passing, especially for a guy whose been out as long as he has with the injuries and trying to get back into that game type of shape and game mentality,” said Smart. “So we’re proud of Rob and he’s only going to continue to get better as a passer in that position.”