Boston Celtics veteran big man Al Horford’s greatest value in 2018-19 will be mentoring first-round pick Robert Williams III.
On Sunday, the athletic big man missed his flight and therefore his first Summer League practice. This follows the Texas A&M product oversleeping his original introductory conference call following the draft.
Labeling himself a hard worker, Williams definitely has some proving to do. This is where veteran big man Al Horford comes into play. Following the draft, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talked about the importance of Horford in the young rookie’s development on the court, but it will be off the court where Horford may make his biggest impact.
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The All-Star big man showed his leadership last season with the Celtics. When both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving went down, it was Horford keeping the team together and leading by example. That will be huge this season with Williams, as the No. 27 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft seems to already have a problem adjusting to the pro level.
Just seeing how professional Horford is and witnesses how he approaches each game should be a positive influence on Robert Williams. He, himself, has lauded Horford’s game said in his introductory press conference last Friday that he definitely looks up to him.
"“Horford, the guy has had a great career,” Williams said, as transcribed by MassLive.com. “Eats right, works out right, he does everything he needs to do on a day-to-day situation, so I feel like following his every footstep will just give me the keys to success to be in this league.”"
That also includes being punctual, which is something Williams has already learned as an NBA player. But, he will really learn that once he is around veterans like Al Horford and the rest of the Boston Celtics team.
As of right now, although the team is still excited about the prospects of Williams, his work ethic and reliability is in question like it was in college. Until he proves otherwise, those traits (fair or unfair) will be there. He knew it before he missed Sunday’s practice. He really knows it now.
"“People question my motor a lot, but I work hard and know I can work hard,” Williams said during his press conference. “I’m a hard worker. Just being in this organization, knowing the morals of this organization and knowing what it takes to be in this league…I’m ready to start.”"
Well, it’s time to prove it. Playing under a coach like Brad Stevens and with a professional such as Al Horford should help immensely.
If it doesn’t, there may not be a lot of hope for Robert Williams III in the NBA. He certainly won’t last too long with the Boston Celtics.