Celtics Star Center Projected to Win Major Award Next Season

Robert Williams, Boston Celtics

Getty Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics.

Robert Williams is one of the best defensive big men in the NBA when healthy, and following an exceptional season for the Boston Celtics, the Louisiana native was named to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team. 

However, if he can remain on the floor for the majority of next season, analysts are starting to project that Williams is capable of winning Defensive Player of the Year honors.

“He’s hugely important to what the Celtics do, what they need to do. Look at him building the foundation from where he was to what he is now, the pieces should be in place. After this last year, he should understand how important he is to the enterprise, what he can accomplish, and he can still be better. But he has to realize, ‘Hey, I am a damn good player.’ This is a huge offseason for him in terms of getting the rest, making sure the injuries are not something that is going to linger and not become a chronic thing, and then making sure he can still go through a season,” Heavy’s Steve Bulpett said during a recent episode of Heavy on the NBA. 

Impressively, Williams wasn’t just a defensive juggernaut for the Celtics this past season, as he also provided immense value on the offensive end, primarily due to his leaping ability which allowed him to play above the rim and a lob threat. Throughout his 61 regular-season games this past season, Williams averaged 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, two assists, and 2.2 blocks per game.

Williams is the Betting Favorite

It would seem that analysts aren’t the only ones who have high hopes for Williams next season, as according to Betonline Sportsbook, the explosive center is among the bookie’s favorites to be named Defensive Player of the Year next season, sitting directly behind Rudy Gobert.

Of course, there are some other players in contention for the award, with Bam Adebayo, Marcus Smart, Draymond Green, and Giannis Antetokounmpo all expected to stake their claim throughout the season.

Unfortunately, Williams’ biggest obstacle will be his health, as the fifth-year big man has consistently struggled to remain on the floor throughout his early career, which has limited his ability to consistently show his unquestionable talent and impact.

Marcus Smart Won the 2022 DPOY

Assuming Williams does win the Defensive Player of the Year award next season, that would make him the second consecutive member of the Celtics roster to be recognized for his defensive play, following Marcus Smart’s award this past season.

“It isn’t easy playing in this league full of guys like Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen (Brown) who score the ball the way they do and getting the recognition on that defensive end and trying to guard these guys every night. This is eight years, man. Just trying to do what I do,” Smart said as he addressed his teammates shortly after winning the award.

The Celtics were ranked as the best defensive team in the NBA throughout the 2021-22 regular season, and while Smart certainly led the charge on that front, Williams wasn’t far behind. As such, it’s fair to assume that the big man could be in line for some widespread recognition – if he can replicate his dominant rim protection as the weak-side free safety.

Regardless of if another Celtic wins a defensive award next season, Boston projects to have a deep roster full of stern defenders, both on the perimeter, and the interior – and that bodes well for a team that is looking to make it back to the NBA Finals at the first time of asking.



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