The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...
2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Robert Williams
School: Texas A&M
Position: Power forward/center
Age: 20 (turns 21 in Oct.)
Max vertical: N/A
2017/18 stats: 10.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.5 bpg, 63.2 FG%, 0.67 3PT% (0.0 3P/0.4 3PA), 47.1 FT%
Player comparison: Clint Capela
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 12th, NBADraft.net 14th, Bleacher Report 13th, Sports Illustrated 14th
5 things to know:
*A big-time shot-blocker in college, Williams projects as a defensive specialist early on in his NBA career with the potential to develop as an offensive player. He averaged at least 2.5 blocks each of his two seasons in College Station. There were some games that he completely dominated around the rim. He had four blocks or more in 17 college games, including seven blocks against Alabama in the SEC Tournament in March. Williams seems to have good instincts for blocking and altering shots, but he will need to use his length effectively when guarding taller players in the pros.
*Williams didn't participate in the NBA combine in May, but by all accounts has impressive measurables. He is listed at 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds and has a huge wingspan. Most sites list Williams' wingspan around 7-4 or 7-5, though some have it at 7-6. Either way, that's a huge asset for a guy who will be tasked with protecting the rim.
*Williams was a very good rebounder in college, averaging at least 8.0 boards per game in his two seasons. He grabbed 10 rebounds or more 24 times in college. His career-high was 16 rebounds, which he accomplished twice. Rebounding translates pretty well from college to the pros, so that's a nice selling point for Williams.
*A big weakness for Williams is his free-throw shooting. He shot 54.1 percent for his career and could very well end up being an Andre Drummond or DeAndre Jordan-type where he is a liability at the end of games. That is definitely a consideration for teams for that reason and because it does not bode well for his ability to develop a jumpshot.
*What Williams can become offensively is a question. He doesn't have a developed skillset or an outside shot. He was very good at throwing down lobs and putback slams in college, but that is much harder to do at the NBA level.
Fit with Wizards: Williams checks off a few boxes for the Wizards in terms of positional needs. He would give them some athleticism in their frontcourt and could someday fill a role similar to Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets. He has become a very good NBA player and works perfectly as a complement to James Harden and Chris Paul. They don't need to run plays for him, as he makes his money rim-running and cleaning up the leftovers around the rim.
Williams could do the same things for the Wizards and help them protect the rim on the other end. John Wall, a point guard, was the Wizards' best shot-blocker in the 2017-18 season. That is not ideal and they need help in the middle. Williams could provide that.
The question is whether Williams is big enough to play center and therefore replace Marcin Gortat either immediately or a year down the road. If he isn't, and Williams is more of a power forward, the Wizards would need to figure out a way for him to fit long-term. Maybe that means replacing Markieff Morris or co-existing with him in a starting frontcourt that would be a bit on the small-side.
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