BOSTON – There was a bit of a miscommunication on Friday which resulted in the newest member of the Celtics family, Robert Williams, speaking to Boston media via teleconference an hour later than originally planned.
That would be an omen for the conference call itself, which had its share of audio quality issues.
But there were a few themes that were crystal clear coming from Williams, who was selected by the Celtics with the 27th overall pick.
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He loves to play defense, looks forward to being part of Boston’s youth movement led by Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and can't wait for the opportunity he’ll have to learn from veteran all-star Al Horford.
“I’m happy to be around him (Horford),” Williams said via conference call on Friday.
It makes sense, considering Williams will be competing for minutes behind Horford this season.
After the Celtics drafted Williams, one of the first to reach out to him via social media was Horford with a very succinct message
Welcome! ☘️ https://t.co/OwKj1z8XZ2— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) June 22, 2018
After a roller-coaster of a regular season at Texas A&M, Williams led a surprising NCAA Tournament charge by the Aggies that included a Sweet 16 berth in which they knocked off defending NCAA champion North Carolina along the way.
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Even before that strong run, Williams was a prominent figure in the eyes of most NBA teams, including the Celtics.
Although they did not bring him in for a workout, Danny Ainge was quick to say that he was a player that both he and his staff had scouted extensively leading up to the draft.
“He’s a player we liked coming into this draft process,” said Ainge, the Celtics' president of basketball operations. “He’s a rim-protector and rebounder. He plays above the rim on both ends of the floor; we don’t have much of that. We have a little bit of that but not what he can give.”
And that is among the many reasons Williams is excited about being a Celtic.
He has seen from afar how Boston doesn’t have a predetermined pecking order for minutes played. Whether you’re a rookie or a five, six-year veteran, the guys who play the best will play the most minutes.
He saw that in Jaylen Brown who emerged as one of the better two-way players this past season following a rookie year in which he was named to the NBA’s all-rookie second team.
And this past spring, Jayson Tatum became Boston’s best scorer in the playoffs despite being the team’s youngest player.
There is an open mind to success in Boston where it doesn’t matter what you did or where you did it.
If you can play, you’ll play.
And for Williams, that is a message that came in loud and clear.