How Does Robert Williams Fit In Today's NBA?
This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
PF/C, Sophomore, Texas A&M
6’9, 237 lbs
College Stats in 2017-18:
30 games, 23 starts, 25.6 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 1.4 APG, 63.2 FG%, 47.1 FT%
Where he’ll go:
Williams is considered a late-lottery or mid first-round pick.
If you’re looking for an athletic rim-running big man in the 2018 NBA Draft not named DeAndre Ayton, Williams is your guy. He seemed like a giant in college, but is only 6’9. That’s because the dude can straight up fly.
His scoring average dipped from 11.9 to 10.4 points from his freshman to sophomore season, but he upped his field-goal percentage, rebounds per game and blocks per game. This is an old-school big man. His 3-point shot is nonexistent. Over two seasons, Williams shot just 2-for-30 from deep. Free throws are also an issue for him, shooting 54.1 percent in college.
He’s more Clint Capela than Kevin Love, and that’s okay. There is still value in a guy who can throw down lobs. He’s also a decent passer for his size.
Offensively, his buckets are going to come at the rim.
He had plenty of solid games, scoring 13 or more points eight times on the season. But he also had some duds, scoring five or less points seven times.
Defensively, though, he’s a little more versatile. He led the SEC in blocks as a sophomore and he projects as a very solid rim protector in the NBA. He’s also athletic enough to not look completely lost when guarding wings on the perimeter.
“Defense, whether it’s switching or blocking, I feel like that’s my strongest attribute,” Williams told the Washington Times. “It’s just about embracing, willing to stop a guard. I’m having fun guarding them out there, so I feel like once you’re comfortable with it, you can get it.”
Fit will be key for Williams at the next level. He’s not a player who can fit with any offense simply because of his lack of jump shot. It’s something that will be completely renovated over his NBA career. Even a midrange jumper would be a huge step forward for him.
A player like Capela certainly did good things for Williams’ draft status. The 20-year-old is now expected to be a mid first-round pick. In our Timberwolves.com mock draft, we have Williams going to the Wizards at No. 15. That seems like a good fit considering Marcin Gortat’s age (34).
Williams has certain tools to be effective in the NBA, but he also has plenty to work on.