It’s July, which means it’s officially offseason workout video season. Amongst those sharing footage from their summer grind is Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III. Video surfaced on social media earlier this week, of Williams III knocking down mid-range jump shots — and even a three (eyeball emoji to that).
The footage caused such a stir online that NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg wrote up an article about Timelord’s offseason grind. Forsberg interviewed Williams’ trainer, Aaron Miller, who told him that Celtics star Jayson Tatum is “mad” that the big man isn’t more aggressive on offense.
“[Jayson Tatum is] mad at Rob when he isn’t taking shots,” Miller told Forsberg. “And he is mad at Rob — not mad, but holding him accountable — when he isn’t taking shots and when he isn’t being a threat or looking at the goal… It’s basically giving him the nod like, ‘Hey, it’s OK that you’re taking those shots. It’s OK that you’re taking those midrange (shots) because we need you to take them.’ Because, like I said, it’ll open up other opportunities for [Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown].”
How important is Robert Williams III’s shot making to the Boston Celtics?
Potentially, very important.
Williams has been nothing if not reliable around the rim for the Celtics, since earning a consistent spot in the rotation. Last season alone, he shot 78.2% on paint-touch shots, according to NBA.com.
Despite his efficiency, there were plenty of times throughout the course of the 2022-23 campaign where the Texas A&M alumni looked unsure of himself underneath the basket. He just wasn’t as aggressive as he’d been in years past.
In correlation with what Miller said to Forsberg, Williams needs to continue to be aggressive, especially under the basket. Any sort of jumper that he’s able to knock down just makes him that much more useful. He’s shown an ability to comfortably hit mid-range shots in the past. Last season he scored just 0.7% of his points from that area, but shot 42.9% on catch-and-shoot opportunities.
If he’s able to become a legitimate threat to score on those jump shots, it’ll buy both Tatum and Brown just a bit of extra space when driving to the cup. Plus, when defenses collapse, it’ll (hopefully) result in easy points for the Timelord.