Robert Williams off to a concerning start with Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely
NBC Sports Boston

LAS VEGAS – The sore left knee injury that Robert Williams III is dealing sidelined him for the second straight Summer League game on Monday, but it appears to be more of a precautionary measure than anything else.

In other words, it's not that bad.

His reputation thus far with the Celtics?

That's a different story.

Williams, selected by Boston with the 27th overall pick, hasn't had the best of starts to his NBA career.

First, he overslept for his introductory conference call the day after Boston drafted him.

And then he followed that up by being absent from his first practice after missing his flight back to Boston.

Throw in him injuring himself after just six minutes of Summer League action, and you have the makings of what is shaping up to be a career that's off to the kind of start that raises more questions than anything else.

And for a player whose draft-day stock plummeted in large part because of concerns about his maturity, Williams has done nothing to alleviate those concerns.

If anything, he's validated them in the minds of many.

Of course, the Celtics will remain supportive of the 20-year-old Williams who will likely spend a large chunk of his rookie season with Boston's Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

 A best-case scenario for Williams would have been to make a case for being Boston's fourth big man. He's currently behind Al Horford, Aron Baynes, and  Daniel Theis.

Based on what we've seen in summer league, you can put Guerschon Yabusele ahead of him as well.

Williams' early struggles and setbacks have certainly made him anything but a fan favorite.

But in the six minutes he played in Boston's summer league debut against Philadelphia, it was clear why the Celtics, warts and all, felt he was worth rolling the dice on with the 27th overall pick.

He only had four points, but he got them on a dunk in addition to a face-up jumper – a shot that you didn't see much of from him at Texas A&M.

And defensively, he altered a couple shots by simply being in good position and showed a bit of hustle on a couple other possessions.

It was a small sample, for sure.

But it served as first-hand proof that he does have some skills that one can easily envision transferring quite well at this level.

Of course, potential and actual play are indeed two very different animals.

And thus far, Williams remains a player whose potential while impressive, has a way to go before it'll be anywhere close to being fully realized.

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