Report: Celtics give C Robert Williams 4-year, $54 million extension despite 16 career starts

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The Boston Celtics are locking down their center of the future.

Center Robert Williams has agreed to a four-year, $54 million deal to remain in Boston, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will reportedly put Williams among the top half of centers in the league in salary.

The Celtics drafted Williams with the 27th overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft. In three years, Williams has played in 113 total games and started only 16 games. In those games, he has averaged 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. His main source of notoriety among basketball fans might be his nickname "Time Lord," a moniker bestowed due to his habitual lateness as a rookie.

If you're wondering how a player with the above background got a $13.5 million per year salary, here's how Williams' numbers look much better when you go deeper.

Why the Celtics gave Robert Williams $54 million

The 23-year-old Williams saw minor action in his first two seasons, averaging 11.0 minutes per game, but he saw a mini-breakout last season when the Celtics expanded his role alongside big man Tristan Thompson.

In 52 games (13 starts), Williams averaged 8.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game while shooting 72.1 percent from the field (with negligible 3-point shooting). Those numbers look even better when you adjust to a per-minute basis, as his 13.9 rebounds per 36 minutes puts him ahead of players like Joel Embiid and Nikola Vucevic.

Williams' 72.1 percent shooting and 71.9 percent true shooting last season would have also put him ahead of every player in the league had he registered enough minutes to qualify. His 20.2 total rebounding rate also puts him smack dab between Rudy Gobert and Deandre Ayton on the leaderboard, while his 8.6 block percentage would put him third in the league.

When Williams is on the floor, he's among the most efficient shooters and effective rebounders in the league. Of course, one of his main problems has been staying on the floor due to injuries and conditioning. He was diagnosed with popliteal artery entrapment syndrome and sustained a bone edema in his hip in the 2019-20 season. He also dealt with a turf toe injury during last season's playoffs.

There are clearly risks to signing Williams long-term, but the Celtics seem to believe in his potential.

Celtics continue busy offseason

Williams is the second young Celtic to get a long-term extension, joining Marcus Smart and his $77 million deal. The pair figure to join Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the team's core for the foreseeable future.

The Celtics have been busy outside of that group as well, signing players like Enes Kanter and Dennis Schroder and trading for Josh Richardson after their front office shuffle around Brad Stevens.

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