That's What He Said - Celtics Draft Robert Williams
Click to reveal quotes following the Celtics' selection of Robert Williams with the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
RE: HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU TO SEE ROBERT WILLIAMS STILL ON THE BOARD??
Danny (Ainge) and Mike (Zarren) really started talking about him around 17 or 18. He’s a really talented guy. There’s a lot of good players out there. Each pick, we were hoping more and more that he would be available at 27.
RE: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS OUTSIDE OF REBOUNDING AND DEFENSIVELY THAT HE BRINGS TO THE FLOOR?
I think when you look at guys with size and how they can impact the game now, is he’s got good feet, he’s a good athlete, he’s got a 7’5” wingspan, and he plays way above the rim. The ability to block shots, the ability to alter shots, good quickness to catch up to guards shooting if they get a step and being able to still alter that. And then obviously, if you can have four shooters on the floor and a guy like that rolling to the rim, you can just throw it up in the air and he can go get it and finish it. And I think that there’s a lot of things that he brings to the table, but those are the things that translate sooner rather than later. As he continues to improve and improve his skill and all of that, we’ll see where all that goes, but right now he is an elite athlete with incredible length.
RE: ARE THERE THINGS YOU NEED TO DOUBLE-CHECK ON WITH PLAYERS WHO YOU DIDN'T GET TO WORK OUT?
I said this earlier today over at the Boys Club, that nobody works harder than Danny. Nobody works harder than out front office at going and watching players play all year long. The workouts, to them, are just a formality in a lot of ways. So the idea of them coming to Boston is great and all, but they’ve already watched them play live a bunch, spent time with a lot of their coaches and people around the program and everything else. A lot of time that’s to our benefit as coaches, because we didn’t get a chance to see those guys live during the season. But I don’t think you need to watch much to see how athletic he is. It’s pretty evident on film, and obviously we think that translates.
RE: CHALLENGES OF HAVING A BIG WHO DOESN'T HAVE THE SAME SKILL SET AS YOUR STANDARD BIGS IN YOUR OFFENSE?
As far as handling and passing, I actually think he’s got a good foundation there. I think that he’ll improve his shot, and we’ll get right to work on that, but handling and passing, he’ll be able to do that and continue to get better at. We put a lot of time into ball-handling with our bigs from Day 1, once they get here, and obviously into the dribble hand-offs and the passing. He won’t have any better role models than the guys in front of him, so those are things that over time will certainly be there, but I think sooner rather than later. And then, we saw this a little bit with (Daniel) Theis this year and Al (Horford) in the Playoffs quite a bit, and (Aron) Baynes, that when you can get a step on guys and just throw it up in the air, no matter how consistent the help is at being over, you’re going to draw something. You’re going to be able to get lobs or be able to skip it to the corners because that threat is just so big. And so I think that some of the best 5s in the game are elite running athletes to the rim, and I think that certainly Robert has shown that he’s a very, very good athlete.
RE: HOW WILL THE ATMOSPHERE AROUND THE TEAM HELP HIM GROW?
I think the atmosphere part of it is this, and this is the responsibility of those guys, Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen (Brown) and the other young players when Robert gets here for Summer League, when he sees Al Horford working out in the weight room like he was today, or Gordon Hayward doing his rehab like he was today, and other guys who are around the gym, the biggest key in the environment is you’ve got to come to work. So like, next Friday when he gets here and does his introductory press conference – Is that breaking news? It is now – when he comes on Sunday (for practice) all of the hoopla will be done and it’s time to get to work.
RE: ON BEING CONFIDENT THAT WILLIAMS WAS THE BEST PICK DESPITE HIM FALLING TO NO. 27?
Well we thought he was the best player available … We’re excited about Robert and we felt like he was the best player available and feel like he’s a great fit for our team.
RE: HOW MUCH DID YOU GET TO SEE ROBERT DURING THE REGULAR SEASON??
I think I saw him twice live, and a few times last year as well. But our staff saw him a lot more than that. He’s a player that we liked coming into this Draft process. He’s a rim-protector and rebounder, and he can play above the rim on both ends of the court. We don’t have much of that. We have a little bit of that, but not what he can do. So his ability to rebound and protect the rim and run the floor are some of his greatest traits.
RE: HOW DO YOU PROJECT HIS ABILITY TO HANDLE THE BALL AND MAKE PLAYS WITHOUT SEEING HIM DO THAT IN GAMES??
We have seen him do that in games. He can handle the ball on the perimeter. We’ve seen him get rebounds and push the ball up the court. There’s moments in his career where we’ve seen him make fantastic passes – like, just touch passes that are beautiful. So we see the potential in him as a guy who plays in Brad’s system and does handle the ball and he uses his bigs a lot to do dribble hand-offs.
RE: HOW MUCH EASIER IS IT FOR HIM TO FIT IN ON A TEAM THAT ALREADY HAS SO MUCH SKILL??
I think with all players, at whatever position, I think it’s easy to play with veteran players that know how to play, a coach who knows what your strengths and weaknesses are and puts you in position to succeed, places where you can succeed. I think that will help him tremendously. He doesn’t have to try to do too much out of the gate, and do what he does well while his game evolves into something more.
RE: WHAT WAS IT LIKE NOT HAVING A TOP PICK, LIKE YOU HAD THE LAST TWO YEARS?
Leading into the Draft we knew we weren’t getting up into the Draft. We spent the last few weeks trying to figure out what the cost was to get up to the top of the Draft. We knew coming into today that it was very, very unlikely that that was going to happen. So we were preparing for the 27th pick in the Draft, and we were preparing for opportunities to not move all the way up to the top of the Draft but somewhere in the middle of the Draft, and even we were preparing for opportunities for if there were guys who we didn’t like, moving back in the Draft. It’s the same thing we do every year in the Draft. We’re prepared for any situation that comes up.