The Boston Celtics endured a brief roster blow amid Tuesday’s health-related news of center Robert Williams, who is slated to reportedly be sidelined for four-to-six weeks in order to address a left knee injury.
Williams, a centerpiece in the Celtics defense, earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors last season — averaging 2.2 blocked shots per game, which was second best in the NBA.
Did that have a drastic impact on Williams’ chances of being the second consecutive Celtics player to take home the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award? Well, not exactly.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Williams has the second-best odds of taking home Defensive Player of the Year honors next season at +700. The Celtics young center, who will be turning 25 in October, only trails Minnesota Timberwolves big Rudy Gobert, a yearly favorite. Gobert, a three-time All-Star, has won the award in back-to-back seasons and three times entirely (2018, 2019, 2021).
Last season, much credited to Williams, the Celtics led the NBA in defensive rating (106.2) while finishing second in the league in blocks (6.5).
During his fourth NBA campaign last season, Williams averaged 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 73.6% from the field on six attempts per game — all career-highs.
Should Williams come back from his injury and clinch the annual defensive honors, he would become the first Celtics center to do so since Kevin Garnett in the NBA Finals-winning season of 2008.