The Boston Celtics find themselves at 15-15, after surrendering a 24-point lead to the New Orleans Pelicans. Kemba Walker is struggling to find consistency, Marcus Smart is out until after the All-Star Break and multiple members of the team have been sidelined with COVID-19. However, Robert Williams III provides a spark of hope for the struggling Celtics.
Who is Robert Williams III?
Many fans around the league may not know who Robert Williams III even is. Williams was predicted to be a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, questions surrounding his effort and lack of polish on offense and defense made him fall to 27th overall. Despite playing the center position, Williams is listed as just 6’8″. His game relies on his 7’6″ wingspan and supreme athletic talent to soar for high-flying dunks:
Those who know of Robert Williams III are likely familiar with his all-time great nickname: Time Lord. Williams earned this nickname by being late to his first press conference as an NBA player because he was confused by which timezone the press conference was to begin. But, with the speed and power with which he launches himself into the air, time does seem to stand still:
Best Ability is Availability
Despite his budding talent, Williams is only seeing 15.2 minutes per game (mpg) this season. This is likely because he is the third-string center on the Celtics and sees less minutes due to the log-jam at the position, created by Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson.
Robert Williams III has also had trouble staying healthy. He missed just under 40 games in 2019-20 with a bone edema in his hip. He also missed time in 2020-21 due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Since the departure of Al Horford, the Celtics have been using a committee for the center position. This year, they have used Theis and Thompson, depending on matchup, and only sprinkled in Williams. Now that Robert Williams III is seemingly showing off his potential every game he appears in, he needs to see more minutes.
In his entire career, Williams has only played 20+ minutes in a game 10 TIMES. For those keeping track, that is 8.4% of his career appearances. He has never played 30 minutes in a game. Recent reports have cited his lack of big minutes to Brad Stevens trying to keep him fresh for later in the season. But at 15-15, the Boston Celtics need a spark from within, and Robert Williams III could be just that.
I submit to you exhibit A for the kind of energy and hustle Williams is capable of playing with. Albeit, this is a one game sample from 2019-20, but I think even casual NBA fans can see this kid can be special: