The Celtics will look a bit different entering the 2019-20 season.
Following the departures of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Aron Baynes and Terry Rozier, Boston brought in some new faces, but its transactions also placed some added responsibilities on the returning reserves.
Although Irving likely is the biggest name of the exiting bunch, Horford’s void creates the biggest hole. The veteran big man was at the center of Boston’s scheme on both sides of the ball. Kemba Walker is a great replacement for Irving, but the Celtics weren’t able to find an all-around replacement to follow Horford.
Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier will provide Boston with plenty of offensive upside, that much we know. Defense on the other hand remains a question. That means second-year center Robert Williams III will be looked upon to bulk up the Celtics’ interior rim protection. Head coach Brad Stevens highlighted the Texas A&M product’s offseason when speaking at the ABCD Hoop Dreams event Tuesday night at the Auerbach Center.
Stevens said Williams has had “as good a summer as anybody,” per The Athletic’s Jay King.
Williams gave Boston some quality minutes when its depth was tested due to injuries last season, but still presented a raw big’s game. That was expected, though, as the 21-year-old was drafted with the expectation that he’d take a few years to fine tune his game. His athleticism, shot-blocking and rim-running ability all are there, now it’s time to tune up areas like pick-and-roll defense for the Shreveport, La. native.
In 32 games during his rookie campaign, Williams averaged 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds on 70.6 percent shooting.