NBA Analyst Compares Celtics Center To Bill Russell

Getty Images Robert Williams III of the Celtics looks to pass against the Denver Nuggets

It’s not every day you hear one of today’s NBA centers being compared to Boston Celtics Hall of Fame legend Bill Russell, much less, one of the Celtics’ very own.

But that’s precisely what Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan, co-host of CLNS Media’s Bob Ryan & Jeff Goodman Podcast, did in his passionate and extended diatribe over how physically gifted Celtics center Robert Williams is.

The NBA’s center position has evolved over the years. A renaissance to the days of uber-rim protection on one end of the floor and high-flying finishes on the other; Williams is a rare breed.

He doesn’t have an outside touch — which is almost deemed necessary for a center in these modern times — but instead, he can jump out of the gym, sprint the floor, and create all kinds of issues.

Bob Ryan Calls For Bill Russell To Mentor Celtics’ Robert Williams

Averaging 6.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 16 minutes per game, this season, Williams has been arguably Celtics head coach Brad Stevens’ best secondary weapon.

Transition alley-oops and soul-snatching blocked shots are Robert’s specialties but what Ryan sees in Williams is a pure gifted talent that is not only reminiscent of the Celtics 11-time champion but, also, a skill set that could be augmented and honed by only Russell, himself.

“I wish Bill Russell would teach him the nuances of how to take full advantage of this great ability,” Ryan said, via CLNS Media. “The question arose on Twitter; when’s the last time the Celtics had anybody like Robert Williams? And the answer is they’ve never had anybody, in my experience, quite like Robert Williams and you’d have to go all the way back to Bill Russell.”

Bob Ryan On Bill Russell, Robert Williams: ‘Some People Are Just Ahead Of Their Time’

According to Ryan, Williams has “It” — the intangibles at the center position that can’t necessarily be measured by statistics.

“I know it’s a hard concept for anybody under 50 (or) 60 (years old) to understand that some people are just ahead of their time,” Ryan added. “Bill Russell was an athlete ahead of his time. He put the blocked shot into the game of basketball. He did it. One person did it, it started with Bill Russell. They have to understand this and he did it because he was an extraordinary athlete with incredible timing — something that is unteachable.”

As for the inner workings of manning the floor on both ends; Williams would learn a lot under the tutelage of Mr. Russell.

“The timing, the instinct, and the psychology, he was the master of the blocked shot unlike anyone who’s ever lived,” Ryan said. “If he could (just) impart some of that wisdom into the most extraordinary physical being at that position that the Celtics have ever had (since Russell); into Robert Williams.”

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