WALTHAM, Mass. – The rocky start continues for Boston’s newest Celtic Robert Williams.
After oversleeping which delayed his introductory conference call on June 22, Williams was a no-show at practice on Sunday after missing his flight.
“Everyone’s disappointed,” said Celtics summer league coach Jay Larranaga following a 2 ½ hour practice. “You want to get off to a good start the first day. We’ll handle that internally and move forward.”
Moving on is a lot easier said than done in this matter, especially for a player who has acknowledged in the past that he needs to develop into being a more mature person on and off the court.
Following his freshman year at Texas A&M, Williams was a virtual shoe-in lottery (top-14) pick but elected to return to the Aggies for one more season. At the time and afterwards, he cited a need to grow and mature as both a basketball player and as a person among his reasons for staying in school.
Williams had a strong sophomore season, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second year in a row as he ranked among the conference’s top rebounders and shot-blockers.
The talent isn’t an issue.
It’s the seemingly never-ending questions about maturity and responsibility that Williams just can’t seem to shake.
When he arrived in town last week, one of the first Celtics he met was Al Horford.
Williams pointed out Horford as someone he plans to try and learn as much from as he can, to become a more mature, more responsible basketball player.
Missing a flight to your first summer league practice?
That’s not how you do it.
Making for an even worse look was the fact that Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was in town working out with the team but will not travel with the team when they head to Las Vegas for the start of summer league play on July 6.
Tatum, who finished third in the NBA’s rookie of the year voting this season, is basically around for conditioning and to provide support for his fellow teammates like Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Bird and the new guy, Williams.
When asked about Williams being a no-show on Sunday, Tatum had little to say on the subject.
“I don’t know the details about it; the coaches know,” Tatum said before adding, “see him tomorrow.”
Boston selected Williams with the 27th overall pick in the June 21 NBA draft, a player many projected would go significantly higher because he’s viewed in this draft (and last year’s for that matter) as a player with lottery pick (top-14) talent.
His deeper-than-expected drop on draft night was in part because of concerns about his maturity, raising the kind of questions that less than two weeks into his pro career he has done nothing but validate by his absenteeism.
He's developing habits; the kind that reminds us all why he was available to the Celtics with the 27th overall pick despite being one of the more talented players in the entire draft.