BOSTON (CBS) — The dust has settled from the NBA Draft and grades have been handed out for each team’s moves.
The Celtics made just one selection Thursday night, drafting Texas A&M big man Robert Williams with the 27th overall pick, but draft experts are giving Boston heaps of credit for landing what could be the steal of the first round.
Williams is a super athletic big man who can throw down rim-rocking jams and send shots back with authority on the defensive end, and was projected to be a lottery pick in most mock drafts. Very few, if any, mockers had him going later than No. 20. But concerns about Williams’ maturity and commitment led to a big drop on draft night, and now the Celtics could reap the benefits. Williams will enter the league on a team with championship aspirations, and a coaching staff that has proven it can coach up young players.
Here’s how the Celtics fared on their draft report card:
CBS Sports: A+
The Celtics get the defensive-minded, elite-rebounding big man they needed. He’s a great athlete who can defend in a lot of styles. Could he be the American Clint Capela? The “steal of the draft” label could be his.
The Ringer: A
It will be interesting to see whether off-court or medical concerns contributed to Williams’s slide, because there’s no reason for a player this talented to be available near the end of the first round. Williams is as physically gifted as any of the big men who went in the top 10. He’s an über-athletic 6-foot-9 big who could stay in front of even the fastest point guards. He’s not particularly skilled on offense, but he shouldn’t have to do much beyond set screens and catch lobs in Boston.
This is great value for the Celtics, who might be getting a starting-caliber talent and do a good job developing players. Many teams were scared off by Williams due to concerns about his maturity and the interview process—there was a sense he’d fall, but perhaps not this far. Someone else’s risky investment is now a terrific flier for Boston here, and the Celtics will give him a strong environment in which to succeed.
Yahoo Sports: A
They only got one player, but it was C Robert Williams (27) and many people, including me, are calling him the potential steal of the draft. And with Greg Monroe and Aron Baynes unrestricted free agents, the Celtics met a need without screwing up an already great team. Bravo.
SB Nation: A
This is wild. Williams is a lottery-level talent as a shot blocker and rim runner in the vein of Clint Capela. He already has NBA-level strength and can jump out of the gym. Incredible value for Boston. How do they always pull this off?
The Celtics attempted to trade up into the top five in hopes of landing a young big man to develop, and instead, young developable big man Robert Williams fell to Boston at No. 27. This is a guy who was projected to go from pick Nos. 11-15.
It’s the kind of lucky draft-day break the Celtics would get when Red Auerbach was running the team, which might explain why, when Danny Ainge emerged from the team’s war room, he was two inches shorter, lost three inches off his hairline and sounded like Peter Falk when he spoke.
With grades like that, Danny Ainge has no choice but to treat his staff to some ice cream this summer.