Celtics first-round draft pick Robert Williams understands there were questions about his accountability and work ethic before his NBA career even began, and he also understands that over the past two weeks, he has not done much to quell those concerns.
He slept through his introductory conference call with the media the day after Boston selected him with the 27th pick, and then on Sunday he missed the team’s first summer league practice after he missed his flight from Texas to Boston.
“It was more of a self-upset, because people have a bad image of me, I guess you could say,” Williams said. “So just missing my flight didn’t help but, like I said, just looking to strive past that.”
Williams’s introductory news conference was held on Friday morning at the Celtics’ new practice facility in Brighton. The former Texas A&M star then did a community appearance for the team before flying back to College Station, Texas, on Friday evening.
“I went home, did a couple of things, then just a missed flight, missed communication by me,” Williams said. “It’s all on me. So we’re going to push forward and move past that.”
Williams said the Celtics hammered home the importance of accountability after they drafted him, and he said they have continued to harp on that in the wake of this recent slip-up.
“And just stressing that this is a job,” Williams said. “Things are different in college, so just knowing what you have, and that the opportunities are limited.”
Williams said the Celtics coaches disciplined him “with words,” and that he was expecting to have to run some extra wind sprints, too. But president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Monday that he was moving on, and on Tuesday assistant coach Jay Larranaga had a similar refrain. He said he has been wowed by Williams’s athleticism over the past two days of practice, watching him “dunk with his elbows” and “volleyball spiking” shots.
“He’s been really, really good,” Larranaga said. “Really focused. Picked up the points of emphasis that we had yesterday in practice really well. Seems very coachable. Like we said, this is the beginning of the process for him and for the summer league team.”
More from Williams’s meeting with reporters on Tuesday:
ON WHETHER THIS EXPERIENCE WAS A WAKEUP CALL: “Definitely. Definitely. I talked to Coach [Brad] Stevens when I got back and he obviously explained to me about the opportunity, there’s not that many so, definitely a real wakeup call.
ON WHETHER HE’S RECEIVED A PLAYBOOK: “No, not yet.”
ON HOW BOSTON’S DEFENSE DIFFERS FROM TEXAS A&M’S: “At A&M, I feel like it was a selective few of people who wanted to strive on defense and wanted to give 100 percent on defense. With this team I would say it’s strictly on defense. You start there. You start on defense, the offense will come. We do defensive drills repeatedly every day, every drill is a defensive drill. That’s what we like, that’s what we thrive off of, like I said. We’re going to excel off of that.”
Watch Williams speak with reporters: