The Boston Celtics have put together an impressive roster. Earlier this summer, they signed Danilo Gallinari and traded for Malcolm Brogdon, and even though Gallinari got injured, the two additions signaled Boston’s willingness to go all in.
Brogdon is set to have a big-time impact for the Celtics, and other players are emerging as solid rotational pieces, too. Sam Hauser has played great basketball all preseason, Noah Vonleh looks like he could make the roster, and Blake Griffin played decently well in his debut with the team, too.
However, some of the players who could be primed for a breakout were already playing big roles on the team last year. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one player who could have a breakout season is big man Robert Williams.
“This somehow feels both boring and bold.
“The former stems from the fact that Williams seems, quite clearly, on the way up. Last season was his first as a full-time starter, and it was wildly impressive. He dominated the interior, flew around the floor defensively and made enough smart passes for opponents to have to respect that part of his game. Given his age (24) and exposure (174 career games), another step forward feels sort of inevitable,” Buckley wrote.
Williams will miss 8-12 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, so he probably won’t be back until late December or early 2023. However, Buckley still thinks he can come back and take another leap.
He noted this hurdle when arguing the case for Williams.
Injuries Have Held Williams Back
This is far from the first injury Williams has dealt with in his career. In fact, he’s been plagued by injuries since before he entered the league. But when he is on the court, he’s extremely impactful.
“Then again, injuries have always held him back, and he’s already battling them,” Buckley explained. “He had knee surgery in September, and it will keep him out for at least the start of the season. So, rather than leaping forward, there’s a chance he spends a lot of this season simply getting his rhythm back and re-establishing the foundation he set in 2021-22.”
Buckley even went as far as pinning some high expectations on the young big man.
DPOY and All-Star Game on the Table
Up to this point in his career, Williams has been nothing more than a high-level role player. However, he made the All-Defensive Second Team last year and could have been further engrossed in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation if he didn’t get hurt.
Buckley believes that he could be in DPOY talks again this year and should even have a chance at making his first All-Star Game.
“If he’s healthy more often than not, though, he’ll have a chance to make a big leap forward,” Buckley argued. “As long as his games don’t torpedo his argument, he’ll be firmly in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion. His first-ever All-Star invitation could be on the table, too.”
Again, all of this will depend on if Williams can return quickly and stay healthy. But if he does both of those things, he could have an even better season than last year.