BOSTON (CBS) — Picking at the end of the first-round for the first time in three years, the Celtics may have snagged a lottery pick anyways.
After rumblings that they may try to move up in the draft, the Celtics stayed at No. 27 and took Texas A&M center Robert Williams. The Aggies big man was projected to be a late-lottery pick ahead of the draft, but kept falling on draft night. The Celtics are pretty happy that he did, giving them a young big man with loads of potential.
Though he’s only 6-foot-9, Williams has a 7-foot-6 wingspan that lets him rock the rim with explosive dunks and block shots on the defensive end. He will give Boston an athletic lob threat off the bench and a young center for their future plans. In his two seasons at Texas A&M, Williams averaged 11.1 points on 59 percent shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-SEC Defensive Team in both of his seasons with the Aggies.
Many believe that the Celtics getting Williams at No. 27 could be the biggest steal of the first round. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said the team started to eye Williams as he slipped into the late teens on Thursday night.
“He’s a really talented guy,” said Stevens. “There’s a lot of good players out there and each pick, we were hoping more and more that he would be available at 27.”
“We thought he was the best player available, and we think he’s a great fit for our team,” C’s president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge said of Williams, adding that he believes there are untapped elements to his game.
Williams doesn’t fit Boston’s shooter-friendly approach, but it sounds like Stevens is OK with that.
“If you 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 let him finish it,” he said.
Williams can certainly finish around the rim. Check out some of his highlights:
While he can throw it down with authority and has loads of defensive potential, there are some red flags with the 20-year-old. Scouts questioned Williams’ competitiveness at times, and he’s horrid from the free-throw line, hitting just 54 percent from the charity stripe. But if he can outgrow those issues, the Celtics have another young and exciting player to add to their mix.
Williams was the only player drafted by the Celtics Thursday night.