Robert Williams Deserved a Team USA Spot

Robert Williams
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Robert Williams has emerged as a very good young player. After the Celtics traded Daniel Theis to the Bulls, Williams became the go-to center for Boston. You may only know him by his nickname, Time Lord. This is because when he was first drafted, he missed his first call with the media and the plane to get to Boston. He had no concept of time.

Thankfully that is no longer a problem, and he made a lot of timely plays for the Celtics. You would think after a season where he blossomed as a player that it would lead to more attention. Bam Adebayo only just burst onto the seen, and he got the call to join Team USA. Why not Williams?

Williams Is a True Young Center

Bam and Draymond have played center, but primarily play power forward at the NBA level. New addition JaVale McGee does fit the mold of an experienced NBA center.

McGee is 33 year old go an offer. Kevin Love who is 32 and injured got one as well. Meanwhile, 23 year old Robert Williams didn’t even get a phone call? That doesn’t make sense. The center position is the weakness of this team, and Williams could have helped fill that void.

McGee and Williams are pure centers. They are both physical inside offensively and defensively. In Olympic play, you need everyone playing their natural position and playing it well.

What Team USA Could Have Done

If they really want Bam to play center, that’s fine. He’s probably athletic enough to play both. One option would have been to bring in Adebayo and Williams only as centers. USA Basketball would still have Draymond if the kids got into foul trouble or injured. Another possible outcome could have been moving Bam to forward instead of promoting Keldon Johnson from the select team, and then add McGee and Williams. McGee could have helped Williams if he got into foul trouble and could take over in a critical situation if necessary. Once again, you have Draymond in a pinch if you need it.

Brook Lopez had also been linked to the roster multiple times before eventually being left off. If Lopez was on the team, Love probably wouldn’t have made it and Williams could have at least gotten consideration. Any team would be better if they had Williams. At this point, Love makes a team worse. Lopez similar to McGee adds experience and could have helped if Williams got into foul trouble. All of this would allow Bam to play his natural position. When he does, he’s one of the best in the league.

Final Thoughts

Williams has more talent at this point of his career as a center than Love does. The same argument could be made when comparing him to Green in terms of playing center. McGee and Williams are probably about the same when it comes to skill playing the position with Williams having more speed and overall talent. All of these scenarios on paper would set the US up for success, more so than the way they’re constructed now.

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  1. jefscodav13

    I agree that the current team construction doesn’t really set them up for success and that Love isn’t quite who I would’ve picked for the role, but I’m not convinced that Williams is the right fit. I think a player like Adebayo gives them more options, which I think is likely why he was given the opportunity.
    I would enjoy, however, seeing Williams out there if he is given the shot.

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