Boston Celtics bold take: Expect a double-double from Robert Williams this season

Boston Celtics (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images).
Boston Celtics (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images). /

Boston Celtics fans may have differing expectations when it comes to fifth-year center Robert Williams III. Timelord is coming off his best season as a pro, nearly averaging a double-double with 10 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He was also second in the league in blocks per game, averaging just over two each night.

Williams earned his first NBA-All Defensive selection, landing a spot on the second team for last season. Before tearing his meniscus, he was even in the race for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, which ended up going to his teammate, Marcus Smart.

Williams’ meniscus injury puts a question mark on his expectations this season. He did return in just over a month to help Boston through its playoff run, but didn’t quite look like himself. There were flashes of the athletic, high-flying style of play, but it wasn’t consistent. Williams was clearly still playing hurt.

With the ‘Time Lord’ set to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and likely missing a portion of the season out of the gate, what can we expect from the fifth-year pivot?

The answer is quite simple: big things.

Expect a double-double from Robert Williams for the Boston Celtics in 2022-23

Despite the injury concerns, Robert Williams is primed to build off of his strong performance last season. Those flashes of normalcy that could be seen from him during Boston’s playoff run should be encouraging rather than discouraging. The 24-year-old was again playing hurt and still made an impact, specifically in the later rounds.

His presence clearly made things more difficult for Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo in the Eastern Conference Finals. Adebayo had a monster Game 3, which was the only game Rob didn’t play in. Bam was held to single digits three times throughout the series, Williams’ presence was a big part of that.

A healthy Timelord has scary potential with the weapons surrounding him this season. He fits perfectly with the Celtics offense, serving as a safety valve under the basket. Rob’s efficiency around the rim combined with his freak athleticism makes things easier on his teammates. His versatility on the defensive end adds to his value. Last season, he thrived in the roamer role, typically guarding a shooter in the corner and then helping and erasing shots on drives.

Timelord’s passing vision shouldn’t be slept on either, it helped him notch a triple-double against the Phoenix Suns last season. He combines with Al Horford to form what may be the best passing big-man duo in the league.

If Williams can stay healthy for the most part this season upon returning, he should be able to average about 15 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Boston Celtics. As far as accolades go, it’s not unrealistic to expect Rob to find himself on the first team this year for defense. The absolute ceiling would be an All-Star appearance and maybe a Defensive Player of the Year award to go with it.