BOSTON (CBS) — Robert Williams’ introductory press conference with the Celtics went a lot better than his conference call last week.
Williams, whom the Celtics drafted 27th overall at last Thursday’s NBA Draft, missed his first conference call with Boston reporters last Friday. The team had to postpone it by an hour, and when Williams finally did jump on the line with reporters, audio issues plagued the call. All we really learned on that call was that he doesn’t like to be called “Bob.”
There were no such hiccups at Friday’s introduction at the new Auerbach Center in Brighton (and no one called him Bob, either). Williams even got a quick workout in before holding up his Boston Celtics jersey for the very first time. He’ll wear No. 44 in Boston, and the athletic big man is excited for what the future holds.
“It’s a great fit. I’m coming into a team that is competing to go to the finals,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”
However, there’s one member of Williams’ family who probably cringed when the 20-year-old held up his new threads.
“My first thoughts were my dad is going to be mad because he’s a die-hard Kobe [Bryant] fan,” Williams said with a smile.
Williams’ mother was crying tears of joy on Friday, and the elder Robert Williams will learn soon enough. His son has already started his learning process, and what it takes to be a Celtic. Williams has been working out in Boston the last two days, and even got in a quick workout at 6:30 Friday morning. He said he’s “all in” with Boston’s culture, which has the C’s extremely excited about the potential talent they landed at the end of the first round.
“He’s a player we’re very excited about, developing him as a young man and Boston Celtics player,” said C’s president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge. “We feel like we have a great culture for him to grow and blossom. We think he has a chance to be a very special player.”
“I echo that,” said Stevens. “He has a lot of transferable skills to bring to the table, to defend his position and other positions. He’ll protect the rim but also keep guards in front of him when he’s spaced. On the other end, he can get up the floor quickly and get way above the rim, and also handle the ball and pass the ball, which we need our forwards to be able to do.”
One of the biggest concerns surrounding the big man at Texas A&M was his motor and commitment. Last week’s tardiness played into those concerns, but with veteran leaders like Al Horford in the Boston locker room, Williams says he has no choice but to fully commit to Celtics basketball. He’s already talked with Horford, and plans shadowing the 11-year veteran throughout his rookie season.
“Boston is a place that loves hard workers,” said Williams. “Dedication and doing things the right way — those are the keys.
“People question my motor a lot, and I work hard and I know I can work hard. Just being in this organization, knowing what it takes to work in this league, I’m ready to start,” he added.
Williams was slated to be a lottery pick following a stellar freshman year, but said he went back to the Aggies for another season to work on his maturity. He said that his mother told him he should stay in college and grow more, both as a player and as a person, and he’s fine with that decision potentially leading to his drop on the draft board this year.
“My mom always tells me everything happens for a reason. It’s great to be on the Celtics,” he said.
Williams will make his Celtics debut next week in the Vegas Summer League.