Second-year Celtics center Robert Williams picked up some skills from former teammates Al Horford and Aron Baynes during his rookie season, as he explained in a recent interview with Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.
“Al isn’t the fastest person, but one thing that always amazed me about him was any time he got the ball, even if you knew what he was doing, it’s effective as hell,” Williams said, as relayed by Himmelsbach. “I kind of took to that. He taught me how to really put an emphasis on my moves.
“And watching Baynes showed me the importance of just going straight up on defense instead of swiping down. Honestly, I don’t even always have to block it. Making them alter it is a great solution too.”
Williams, 21, is expected to see more playing time entering next season with Horford leaving Boston in free agency and Baynes being traded to Phoenix. He appeared in 32 games with the team last year, averaging just 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 8.8 minutes per contest.
The Celtics also signed eight-year veteran Enes Kanter in free agency, one of the league’s most skilled players on the low block and another player Williams could learn from.
Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division today:
- The Knicks’ brass has been noticeably quiet since missing out on several top free agents in early July, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. New York was exceedingly confident that it could land two superstar talents on the open market this summer, but fell short to rival Brooklyn in pursuit of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
- Veteran center Al Horford broke the hearts of Celtics fans by choosing to sign a four-year, $109MM deal with the Sixers in free agency. “It feels right,” Horford said while wearing his new jersey in a video posted to the team’s social media this week. Horford will help make up a deadly 76ers frontcourt that includes the likes of Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.
- R.J. Barrett ended summer league exactly the way the Knicks hoped, Berman writes in a different article for The Post. Barrett tallied 21 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists during a 103-87 win over the Wizards on Saturday, showcasing his talents on both ends of the floor.