2018 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Robert Williams

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This is the eighth installment in a series of regular postings on draft prospects. This series will take a look at the top draft prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft in June. The plan is to have one or two a week, leading up to a flurry of activity the week of the draft.

Robert Williams

School - Class

Texas A&M



Age at time of draft





6’9" (with shoes)


240 lbs



Average Mock Draft rank


Pro-player comparison

Shawn "The Reignman" Kemp

(6'10", 7’2½" wingspan, 240 lbs, 40" max vertical)

Robert Williams has all the physical attributes to eventually become a big time NBA center, defensive anchor and rim protector. Although he stands only 6'9", he has an impressive frame, huge hands, and a reported 7'5½" wingspan. He is very fluid, mobile and quick. He's an effortless leaper with tremendous verticality off either one foot or two. That freakish wingspan, along with an awesome 40-inch vertical, allows him to play much, much larger than his 6'9" listed height. His length and vertical jump are ridiculously impressive, even by NBA standards. He is mostly known for his explosive, monster finishes in college.

This season, Williams averaged a very respectable 12.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. He has all the tools needed to become a very good rebounder. His elite length and leaping ability allows him to rebound in traffic. He is quick off his feet with impressive verticality, and he reacts quickly to the ball. He rebounds outside his area and he's got great hands. The problem is that he rarely boxes out. He tends to forget about fundamentals (like boxing out, keeping the ball high, etc.) and relies more on his physical gifts.

Having said all that, he still has a very high upside as a defensive anchor and rim protector. He averaged 3.7 blocks per 36 minutes. Like all young big men, he tends to chase blocks and bites on too many pump fakes; but he has excellent timing. His length, leaping ability and quickness will help in this area. Eventually Williams should be able to guard Centers and Power Forwards at the next level. He's got good lateral agility and can cover a lot of ground quickly. He's even quick enough to switch off on guards for brief periods.

Williams will close out on shooters (and block or bother perimeter shots). Sometimes he is not disciplined on defense, and can get blown by on the perimeter chasing a block. Too many times I saw him get beat and go for the recovery block. As I said, he needs to learn some fundamentals. He plays too upright and can get pushed around in the post. By playing in a proper stance, he could hold his ground better. Also he tends to reach rather than play positional defense. His awareness could stand some improvement as he stands and watches the ball too often. These are all things that can improve with good coaching and with more experience.

Williams is very raw offensively but has shown glimpses of offensive potential. He's always a threat for back door lobs and although Texas A&M didn't run enough pick-and-rolls to make a definitive judgement, he should be a tremendous lob target off of pick-and-rolls just because of his athleticism. I saw teammates throw passes that I thought for SURE were too high, but Williams was able to soar above everyone, extend, catch and dunk. He is speedy and gets out in transition like a guard, and there isn't a better finisher on the break.

He has flashed some passing ability out of double-teams, but also has thrown some terrible passes resulting in bad turnovers. Hopefully his awareness and decision-making will continue to evolve. His basic ball handling is mediocre and he lacks any advanced dribbling techniques. Sometimes he plays a bit out of control, seemingly playing too fast. He should get better as the game slows down for him.

Williams' leaping ability allows him to get his shot off in the lane, even against taller defenders; although he has only average touch around the basket. He has very limited post moves, but pretty decent footwork. He is still very right hand dominant, and can't really turn over his right shoulder in the lane. He does show a nice right-handed baby hook shot when turning left, but he has little else in the way of post moves.

Williams only made one mid-range jump shot in the four games I watched, but he has decent mechanics with no serious flaws in his release or follow through. His shot is a bit slow on the release and he doesn't square up but rather shoots the ball facing a bit sideways from the basket. Right now he lacks consistency on his jumper, but with work, it could become an effective offensive weapon. It is concerning to me that his free throw shooting seems to have regressed. As a freshman, he shot an almost halfway decent 59% from the free throw line, but this year he shot only 47%.


  • Elite athlete, plays above the rim
  • Quick feet and quick second jump
  • Very good lateral quickness
  • Transition - Runs the floor like a guard
  • Uses huge 7'5½" wingspan to alter shots
  • Big, soft hands. Big frame.
  • Defensive upside - potential defensive anchor
  • Very good rebounder - Averaged 12.9 rebs per 36 minutes
  • Motor/ Energy / Passion


  • Raw offensively
  • Right hand dominant
  • Must improve court awareness and feel for the game
  • Needs more consistency on his jump shot
  • Must refine his post game
  • Turnover prone

Williams played well during the NCAA Tournament, averaging 11 points (on 75% shooting), 11 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He is a high energy player that scores mostly on hustle plays (transition, back-door cuts, offensive rebounds, etc.). If Texas A&M ran more pick-and-rolls, we might have seen a completely different Williams this year. I truly believe that the pick-and-roll, along with his ability to rebound and defend the rim will earn him a spot in someone's rotation. He sometimes plays out of control, and can sometimes fail to make the proper rotations. But he is an extremely athletic big man that can make high energy plays on both ends of the floor. At the very least he projects to be a rotation big who can rebound and protect the rim.

Fit for the Wizards

With the Wizards picking in the range of 15-18, Williams might not be available. His current draft stock is somewhere in the late lottery. However, if he is there when they pick, they could certainly use a young, athletic rim protector to groom as a replacement for Marcin Gortat.

Previous Draft Profiles

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