Sports

NBA DRAFT

Celtics draft forward Robert Williams with 27th overall pick

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: Robert Williams #44 of the Texas A&M Aggies with the ball in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at Staples Center on March 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Robert Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE

■ The Celtics see Robert Williams as a high-flying bundle of athleticism with defensive prowess. Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens talked more about the first-round pick on Thursday night. (Read more.)

■ Gary Washburn: The Celtics’ patience paid off. They wanted an athletic big man who can develop into a rim protector and defender. (Read more.)

■ From a chance meeting with his new Clippers teammate, to BC coach Jim Christian serving as a happy cameraman for Jerome Robinson’s parents, the scene from Brooklyn after the Boston College guard was drafted 13th overall. (Read more.)

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■ Boston native Bruce Brown thought he might go to the Celtics at 27. Instead, the Pistons picked him up at 42nd overall. (Read more.)

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■ ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski became a master of synonyms with his draft night “Woj Bombs.” (Read more.)

■ Full list of draft picks. (Read more.)

Below are our live updates from during the draft:

The Celtics used their lone 2018 NBA draft pick to select former Texas A&M forward Robert Williams 27th overall.

Williams, who stands at 6 feet 10 inches and weighs 237 pounds, played two seasons for the Aggies, averaging 11.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. As a freshman, he was named Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year and earned All-SEC second team honors.

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In his sophomore campaign, the 20-year-old played in 30 games, grabbed 9.2 rebounds, scored 10.4 points, and blocked 2.6 shots per game en route to being named co-SEC defensive player of the year and leading the conference in rebounding.

“Right now he is an elite athlete, with incredible length,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “And he plays well above the rim. Obviously, if you can have four shooters in the game and a guy like that rolling to the rim, you can just throw it into the air and he can go get it.”

“We thought that he was the right pick for us, and we felt very fortunate to be able to get him.”

Stevens said the Celtics started thinking about Williams at pick No. 17.

“Each pick, we were hoping more and more that he would be available at 27,” he said.

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On Thursday, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he realized before the draft that the price was way too high to trade into the lottery. Ultimately, the club was content with staying put at 27.

Here is the Stats Inc. scouting report on Williams: Williams made a risky decision to return to Texas A&M despite being projected as a possible top-10 pick after his freshman season. Though an uneven follow-up campaign failed to raise his stock, his combination of athleticism and defensive versatility should still be quite appealing to teams selecting in the late lottery. Despite usually being deployed at power forward in the Aggies’ big-heavy lineup, the Louisiana native is in many ways a prototypical modern NBA center. Sporting an impressive 7-5 wingspan, Williams is capable of altering shots, consistently crashing the glass, and switching out to guard the perimeter due to his excellent length, agility and explosiveness. Offensively, he’s a potential asset as a pick-and-roll finisher but was never an elite scorer at the college level, and probably won’t be in the pros when matched up more frequently with players he won’t have a pronounced physical advantage against. Williams’s shooting range remains limited, as evidenced by his 2-for-30 success rate on 3-pointers over his college career, and his assertiveness on the offensive end can be questioned after finishing fourth in scoring as the most talented member of last season’s Texas A&M team. Centers that can protect the rim and run the floor still have value in today’s NBA, which is why Williams is viewed as a future starter despite his up-and-down tendencies and offensive shortcomings.

Pistons draft Boston native Brown

NEW YORK — Boston native Bruce Brown was called back to complete a second workout with the Celtics on Wednesday, and when the Celtics’ 27th pick of the NBA draft approached on Thursday night, the former University of Miami point guard thought there was a chance he could be tabbed by his hometown team.

Instead, the Celtics opted to take Texas A&M big man Robert Williams, and Brown ultimately fell to the Detroit Pistons, who took him with the 42nd overall choice.

“I was very nervous,” Brown said. “Definitely when it got toward the Boston pick there was a possibility I was going to go there. But they got a good pick in Robert. He was on my team at Adidas Nations. But I’m happy to go to Detroit and can’t wait to get there.

“I kind of wanted to cry [when I was picked], but I held it in a little bit. Maybe when I get back to the hotel by myself I’ll let it all out. But I’m happy, man. I’m not supposed to be here, a kid from Boston and I made it.”

Brown grew up in Dorchester and attended Wakefield High during his freshman and sophomore years before transferring to Vermont Academy for his final two years of high school. He left the Miami after his sophomore season.

He was viewed as a likely first-round pick at the start of the year before a foot injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. The 6-foot-5-inch guard has great defensive versatility and is a strong rebounder and playmaker.

“I’m just going to keep continuing to work hard,” Brown said. “I definitely want to prove myself. I think the teams that passed on me will know during my career that they had a miss. So I’m ready to work hard.”

Adam Himmelsbach

Here is Himmelsbach’s pre-draft feature on Brown.

BC’s Robinson drafted 13th overall by Clippers

Former Boston College guard Jerome Robinson was selected by the Clippers with the 13th overall pick. He’s the highest BC pick since John Bagley was taken 12th in 1982.

Here is Adam Himmelbach’s feature on Robinson and how he went from little-known recruit to a first-round pick.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

“I am incredibly proud of Jerome and thrilled to see him fulfill his dreams as he takes his next step as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers organization,” BC coach Jim Christian said in a news release. “As a coach, and as a coaching staff, we want to do our best to help every one of our players grow in every way and live out their dreams. It is so fulfilling to see how Jerome has matured and grown both as a player and a person.”

Ayton goes No. 1 overall to the Suns, Bagley goes No. 2 to the Kings

As was largely expected, former Arizona center Deandre Ayton was first off the board in this year’s draft, followed by Marvin Bagley III going No. 2 to the Kings.

Here is the Stats Inc. scouting report on Ayton: The 7-footer finished his lone college season with averages of 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds pre game but Arizona fizzled out in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The native of the Bahamas has a game that may align more with a recent No. 1 pick, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns. He’s effective around the rim using both hands and has excellent footwork on the block, can put the ball on the floor a bit when facing the basket and is quickly developing range from the perimeter. The question marks kick in on the defensive end. Despite his physical prowess, Ayton doesn’t seem to have very good defensive instincts. Given the tools, Ayton is a moldable player who just needs a little coaching to reach his peak potential. And that peak is likely higher than any prospect in this draft class. He could ultimately wind up as both an excellent rim protector and a player who can switch onto wings and guards on the perimeter, and there isn’t an executive in the league who doesn’t expect his offensive game to do anything but grow.

Commissioner Adam Silver with Deandre Ayton.
Kevin Hagen/AP
Commissioner Adam Silver with Deandre Ayton.

And here is the Stats Inc. scouting report on Bagley: The AP All-American and ACC player and rookie of the year became the first person to lead the conference in scoring (21 ppg) and rebounding (11.1 rpg) since North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough in 2007-08. As one of only four Division I players to average 20 and 10, Bagley established nine Duke freshman records, including scoring average, rebounding average, and double-doubles (22). An athletic big man who runs the floor well, Bagley’s game looks like it will transition seamlessly to the NBA. His 39.7 3-point percentage was third in the nation among players 6 feet, 11 inches or taller who attempted at least 50 from deep, and his 64.0 effective field goal percentage also ranked third by someone from a power conference. The lefty handles the ball well for a big man and despite his size, he can create off the dribble while facing the basket. He’s nimble and crafty but isn’t afraid of getting physical, as he can finish at the rim as well as fight for a rebound — his 132 offensive boards were fifth most this past season. While it looks like he’s ready to step in right away offensively, his defense needs some work. But despite deficiencies on that end of the court, his size, athleticism and offensive prowess has him ready to make the jump to the NBA and he will almost certainly be drafted in the top four.

Two prospects with Boston ties in attendance

Miami guard Bruce Brown, a Boston native, and Boston College guard Jerome Robinson are among the prospects at the Barclays Center for the draft.

BC coach Jim Christian is also in attendance.

Where the Celtics stand as of Thursday morning

It is unlikely there will ever be a time that this Celtics front office is not looking at options to trade up or down in a draft, and this year is no different.

Several reports Wednesday night indicated that Boston was among a large group of teams seeking to acquire either the No. 3 pick from the Hawks or the No. 4 pick from the Grizzlies. The Celtics have had discussions with numerous teams about moving up — just as they have in most other recent years.

But according to a league source, the growing belief was that the Celtics would ultimately stand pat and select a player with the 27th overall choice.

It is impossible for the Celtics to nail down their choice for the 27th pick because they do not know what players will be available at that point. One league source said there is a growing belief that if Duke’s Grayson Allen falls to that spot, he will be Boston’s selection, but there is no telling who else might fall to that spot.

If the Celtics do trade up to the top of the first round, they would do it with a particular prospect in mind. That player, if there is one at this point, remains unclear.

Whatever happens, it is extremely unlikely there will be any major trades until the draft actually begins, partly because teams make their best pitches when the situation is most urgent, but mostly because teams will not make offers if the player they are hoping to acquire is no longer available. Until then, rumors and smokescreens will continue to swirl, as always.

Adam Himmelsbach

Here is some Celtics-centric predraft reading

There’s a growing belief the Celtics will stay where they are in the draft.

Gary Washburn’s mock NBA draft.

■ Washburn: The Celtics can afford to take a chance at No. 27.

■ Chad Finn: The Celtics can do almost anything in the draft, but they shouldn’t.

■ Christopher L. Gasper: The Celtics will be a contender no matter which direction Danny Ainge goes this offseason.

Once a little-known Boston College recruit, Jerome Robinson’s draft stock is skyrocketing.

Even in the down years, Bruce Brown was a Celtics fan. Now he’s on their radar.

The NBA Draft could be one big Villanova talent show.

Grayson Allen says he’s ready for the NBA, and the Celtics are taking a look.

The scene at the Barclays Center

Here are a few photos from the draft in Brooklyn:

From left, Donte DiVincenzo, Jerome Robinson, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wendell Carter Jr., Collin Sexton, Marvin Bagley III, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Miles Bridges, Michael Porter Jr., Lonnie Walker IV, Jaren Jackson, Aaron Holiday, Chandler Hutchison, and Zhaire Smith pose for a photo before the start of the draft.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
From left, Donte DiVincenzo, Jerome Robinson, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wendell Carter Jr., Collin Sexton, Marvin Bagley III, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Miles Bridges, Michael Porter Jr., Lonnie Walker IV, Jaren Jackson, Aaron Holiday, Chandler Hutchison, and Zhaire Smith pose for a photo before the start of the draft.

Commissioner Adam Silver (center) poses with prospects Trae Young, Marvin Bagley III, Deandre Ayton, and Luka Doncic.
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Commissioner Adam Silver (center) poses with prospects Trae Young, Marvin Bagley III, Deandre Ayton, and Luka Doncic.

From left, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wendell Carter Jr., and Collin Sexton share a laugh on stage before the start of the draft.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
From left, Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Wendell Carter Jr., and Collin Sexton share a laugh on stage before the start of the draft.

Deandre Ayton, Trae Young, and Mohamed Bamba look on before the draft.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Deandre Ayton, Trae Young, and Mohamed Bamba look on before the draft.

Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.