With the 2019 NBA Draft days away, I take a look back at last year’s draft and how Robert Williams aka “The Time Lord” landed with the Boston Celtics.
For the Boston Celtics and the league as a whole, the 2018 NBA Draft ended up being a really strong one when all was said and done. It was the first time in NBA history that the first five picks all landed on the NBA All Rookie Team. Some people were really high on some players, a few trades were made, but all in all, the teams at the top of the draft were happy with their selections.
It definitely appears that three of those five teams selected franchise cornerstone pieces in the Suns, Deandre Ayton, the Mavericks, Luka Doncic and the Hawks with Trae Young, the latter two being traded for each other.
Going into this draft, the Boston Celtics still had a war chest of assets and while also focused on trading for Anthony Davis at some point over the next season. The Celtics had just come off a season where they went without Gordon Hayward for the whole season after a gruesome injury in the first game of the year. They were also without their other All Star, Kyrie Irving, during the playoff run. The young C’s battled the Cavs to a game seven in the eastern conference finals before losing.
Hope was at an all time high and the biggest asset we had heading into this draft was the King’s 2019 draft pick. Seeing they were selecting second in this draft, they were hoping that this could be a piece to possibly trade and move up in this draft. The Boston Celtics didn’t pick until 27th and Mo Bamba had been a player that the Celtics were looking at and Danny Ainge possibly making attempts to move up and draft him.
As draft night moved along, the Celtics hadn’t made any moves and if height was what they were after, a kid out of Texas A&M, standing at 6’10, was still on the board. Robert WIliams had just come off of his sophomore year at College Station, averaged 10.4 points per game and over nine rebounds, while also blocking over two and a half shots per game.
He was also the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in both of his seasons at A&M. I may note, he also had a line of 13/14 with two blocks in beating my Providence Friars in the NCAA tournament while carrying the Aggies to the Sweet 16 that year.
Danny Ainge and the Celtics pulled the trigger when they were on the clock and it seemed like a solid pick with growth potential. He would learn behind Al Horford and Daniel Theis. Unfortunately, he was nicknamed “The Time Lord” because he missed his introductory conference call and his flight on the way to his first day in the NBA Summer League.
Although he didn’t have the best start to his career in Boston, he did grow during the season. As I had mentioned, he was buried on the bench his rookie year, but did show some flashes when he was called upon to play. At home versus the Suns in mid December, he had eight points, eight rebounds and five blocks. In a game at Washington in April, he played 29 minutes and had 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
As the saying goes, “you can’t teach height”, so with maturity could come a talented NBA defender down the road. I’m confident if Horford sticks around, The Time Lord could and should continue to grow under his tutelage and become a contributing role player in the upcoming season.
Best case scenario he turns into a Ben Wallace type player. You know, an NBA Champion, four time NBA Defensive POY who also made the All NBA Second Team three times and the third team twice. Worst case scenario he is a Lucas Nogueira or Henry Ellenson type player who was picked because of height and potential. I just hope he has a better career than Kwame Brown!