While he may be having a bit of a slow start to his preseason, Boston Celtics starting center Robert Williams III is a big part of the team’s future. The franchise invested in him with a hefty contract extension this offseason, fully aware of how his hyper-athletic play can transform the tenor of a game almost from the instant he steps on the court.
And Timelord isn’t just turning the heads of his fans, with analysts who cover the whole league taking note of his gravity-warping presence. Some even see the Texas A&M product as poised to make a significant leap forward beyond the already intimidating impact he has on play.
One such analyst is The Score’s Chico Nacion, who puts Williams among his five players poised for a breakthrough season in a recent piece titled as much.
“The Celtics made Williams their starting center after dealing Daniel Theis at last season’s trade deadline,” writes Nacion. “Boston doubled down on that commitment in the offseason by handing Williams a four-year, $54-million contract extension.”
“It’s a hefty amount for a player who struggled to stay healthy early in his career, but the big man has shown promise whenever he takes the floor.”
Of course, he needs to actually be on the floor to have that promise blossom into something more than just upside.
But, he has already shown growth in terms of keeping himself healthy after having been available for roughly 70% of his last season with Boston — the most of his career to date.
“Williams averaged 9.5 points, 8.3 boards, 3.1 assists, and 1.8 blocks in just 23.7 minutes per contest over 13 starts during the 2020-21 campaign,” relates Nacion.
“He also registered a team-record nine swats in the Celtics’ playoff opener against the Brooklyn Nets. Williams adds another dimension to Boston’s offense with his passing out of the post and superb finishing above the rim.”
“Expect Williams to make further progress in his first year as the full-time starter, especially if he avoids injuries,” keys in the Score analyst, putting their finger on the critical issue for Williams to realize that often-mentioned potential.
And while his 0-for-7, scoreless start to the preseason against the Orlando Magic might make some fans nervous given he only logged 2 points in the next tilt against the Toronto Raptors, Timelord played something much closer to his usual game to a team-high +22 result.
Once he gets his legs in this new system, it would not at all surprise if the stage were set for Nacion’s envisioned breakout season.
Source: Yahoo Sports