Brad Stevens has given Robert Williams the biggest endorsement yet
Even though Robert Williams was only selected all the way down at number 27 by the Boston Celtics, the hype around him continues to grow. Fans have already fallen in love with him, and you keep hearing people talk about him being lottery talent who managed to fall.
When you add on the areas he is supposed to be able to help the Celtics, there are already expectations, no matter how unrealistic it is to expect a rookie to impact a championship contending team with great depth like the Celtics.
Most of the hype has come from the outside, but now that Brad Stevens has come out and endorsed him in a special way, the excitement should be growing. Stevens has no reason to over hype Williams in any way.
If he believed that he was a project who would need a lot of development before being able to have an impact, the Celtics would not hide from that. Instead, Stevens is talking about his ability to impact the game right now, and that is the best indication we have seen about him yet.
Defense is always the key to getting playing time with Stevens, and that is exactly what he is expecting from Williams, and it sounds like he might be as excited as some of the fans (Via 247 Sports):
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,” Stevens said. “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
The way Stevens is describing him sounds almost too good to be true. The Celtics made it clear in the playoffs that their defense is going to be about versatility and switching, and Stevens believes Williams can do that while being an elite rim protector.
The Celtics have been searching for versatile bigs for a while, but Al Horofrd is the only one who has really worked out the way they wanted. Williams will not have the offensive versatility of Horford, but Stevens is describing him as if he has all the defensive versatility of Horford while being a superior athlete.
Stevens believes that Williams has the ability to be disruptive right away, and he would not be talking about how quickly he can have an impact if he did not expect Williams to have an impact on day one.
Going back to last season, we heard Stevens talk about Jayson Tatum with more praise than even the most optimistic fans, and he called it better than anyone else. Stevens has never been one to come out and talk nonsense, and hyping up a rookie he did not believe in would make no sense.
There was a lot of reason to be excited about Williams before this, but Stevens believing on his ability to have an immediate impact is the most important thing we will hear, and the biggest reason to get excited.