Footey and Monkhouse ...
My thoughts on him were mostly positive. He was the most athletic player on the court -- he was an explosive leaper, he had really quick feet, and he is much stronger than you first think (he bodied up Ayton several times). He wreaked havoc defensively. He made Ayton look passive. He was much more competitive and active than Ayton. He didn't dominate the entire game, but there were definite 2-3 minute stretches where he made offensive and defensive plays back-to-back-to-back-to-back. In those stretches, it felt like he was dominating. If that could be leveraged over a full game, there is extremely high level defensive potential in him.
I also have higher hopes for his ability in a good system, because the Texas AM system looked awful. It honestly looked like their coach had no idea how to use a player like Williams. Williams didn't help his case (he lacked assertiveness at times), but part of the coach's job is to put his players in a position to succeed.
If he accepts the challenge of the Celtic culture, of being picked later than expected, and of the higher level of competition, I think he'll do well. The fact that he clearly accepted the challenge of playing against the top player in this draft -- that bodes well for his future competitiveness.
His role is exactly what you would think. I think he could be a really high level defensive player and a rim runner. I have high hopes for his passing in high-lows and handoffs.
Past that, I've seen enough of his athleticism and shooting form to be open to the possibility that he could develop as an offensive player -- BUT I'M NOT HOLDING MY BREATH. He doesn't look as raw as a dribbler or shooter as Capella or Jordan at the same age, but its not like he is really far along. I think this could play out where, in the Celtics culture, he figures out how to be a comparable player to Jaren Jackson or Serge Ibaka. There is a possibility that he didn't develop because the Texas AM coached didn't know how to develop him and he didn't have a defined role that fit his offensive abilities.
We know that defense gets you on the court in CBS system. I already expected Horford as he ages to get less minutes. With Theis, Morris, and Yabu coming back, and the propensity of CBS to play small with Tatum, Brown, Hayward, and/or Smart at the 4, there aren't a lot of minutes. If they resign Baynes (a must for an impending Sixer matchup in the playoffs), there are even less minutes.
I expect him to get the first-year Rozier/Yabu treatment.
I could easily see Williams being the starter next to Horford in 2019-2020 (if he develops). Theis and Morris will likely be gone. Baynes will be older and may be gone.
In other words, 2018-2019 is a great opportunity for him to learn and develop under the best coach, in the best culture, with the best assistant coaches, and next to the smartest big men in the league.
This is 100% exactly what I was thinking.
I wasn't sold on Williams. In fact, I disliked the pick greatly at first. I didn't think his game was going to translate anything more than a shot blocking big that can occasionally give Horford the needed 5-10 minute break. Ergo, essentially Theis. Which felt irrelevant, because I believed Tatum/Hayward could slot at the 4 occasionally to go super small ball.
But my skepticism led me to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I started researching him more in depth. I'm not going to lie. The results in terms of his character, his issues with being suspended, and not showing up to NBA Draft, combine, or being behind academically eerily reminded me of another player in Mitchell Robinson, who also had similar body/character negatives. It made me question myself, 'what the heck is wrong with this kid?'
Researching him more in detail, it's amazing that he still managed to put up numbers like he did at A&M. While he didn't blow out his freshman stats, they were pretty respectable in how he was not only playing out of position, but played in an offense that did not benefit bigs at all. As we both have said previously, his coach doesn't know how to use him. With the departure of their point guard, it also tended to give Williams the doubt that he was ever going to be used correctly. His motor seemed to fluctuate, while there were times where he was engaged in the highlights and few A&M games I've watched. He seemed to wilt when he isn't being used on offense. But he seems to be very active and hype once he delivers a powerful dunk, or block.The Fab Melo comparisons irk me greatly. I have no doubt that his handles will improve. He clearly needs a lot of work, and will need to learn how to stay engaged consistently to even prove himself ready to stay on the court.
I do agree with your assumption. I see him ending up in Maine for about 4-5 months like Yabusele. I think if everything pans out well, he'll be seeing solid 15-20 minutes by 2018-2019.
I also think Yabusele and Williams will develop some great chemistry playing together. Williams does have that ability to make the smart pass, and will excel in a give go where he sets a quick screen and roll out for the lob. He needs to learn how to not only create mismatches, but he needs to learn how to pass it out of the post quicker.
The one thing that surprised me the most is how long his arms are. We were gushing about Bamba's, and clearly his extra few inches provide him the necessary recovery when getting beat. But Williams came at half the fraction of price, and seems like he is embracing the culture, and saying the right things. He also seems like a rugged guy from his interview and his environment. Sort of like an enforcer, also the guy just looks like someone you don't want to mess with. Which is exactly what we need, to slot alongside Smart. His mid range jumper looks okay, and definitely could improve well enough to stretch past 18-20 feet.
We didn't do a work out with him, but as Stevens/Ainge have stated numerous times. The workout is simply a 'formality.' They know what he brings to the table, and his strengths/weaknesses. I do hope he figures out how to fix his FT%, and improve his shooting/passing/ball handling.
Ultimately, it is on him to prove that he can flourish and rise above the doubters and negative trademark association that he has undoubtedly brought. As many others have said, this is the 27th pick that became a steal. Expectations shouldn't be too high, but if Ainge is completely confident in his pick and choice, then I will without a doubt have 100% complete faith in him that he did enough due diligence to prove my doubt to rest.
Anyways TP to you DefenseWinsChamps, I always find your thoughts extremely informative and well written, even if at times, I don't agree with them.
There is literally no one else better than Horford, to teach Williams how to develop his game.