Why Clippers Should Avoid Robert Williams in the NBA Draft

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18: Robert Williams
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18: Robert Williams /

He’s an elite physical specimen, a stickler on defense, and a tremendous lob target. However, the Clippers would be better off passing on Robert Williams.

Texas A&M’s Robert Williams is a projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and rightfully so. The sophomore big has earned all the recognition he’s getting, and any team that selects him will be overjoyed with what he’s capable of. With a strong, 6-10, 240-pound frame, Williams is a bully, and could be the next DeAndre Jordan. The two have very similar games, and like Jordan, Williams is a bit of a liability on offense.

One of the biggest reasons why teams will pass on players is because they don’t know what they’re getting. For Williams, though, it’s the other way around. The Clippers should pass on Williams because they already have two players who match his ceiling, in both Jordan and Montrezl Harrell.

By the numbers

In two seasons at Texas A&M, Williams had shooting splits of .591/.067/.541, which speaks volumes about his offensive game — or lack thereof.

Outside of finishes in the paint and at the rim, Williams was a non-factor. His jump shot is seriously lacking, and hopes aren’t high that he develops one. Harrell possesses better range right now, if that tells you anything. Williams also attempted 30 threes in his career and connected on two, for what it’s worth.

Deep-ball shooting bigs are becoming more and more common in today’s NBA, and we’ve seen Jordan and Harrell struggle to cover them. Because of his limited mobility, Williams will likely follow suit. However, he does sport a 7-5 wingspan, and has shown the ability to get ahead in open space. This is one area of his game that could really expand, and he could become a better defender than Jordan in time.

That being said, there are bigs in this class that are already better at closing out than Williams could be. Mitchell Robinson is one that comes to mind, and one that should still be available come time for the Clippers to make their picks. He didn’t play college ball though, so it’s impossible to evaluate how he’d handle better talent.


Williams is an energizer, and he’s capable of taking over games and dominating his opposition. Think what Trezz was able to do down the stretch last season — using his athleticism and physicality, Harrell punished people in the paint. This is exactly what Williams will give you, although there are questions about how often he’ll bring that energy.

Scouts have cut on Williams for disappearing in big games and for letting smaller opponents get the best of him. That’s worrisome for plenty of teams, considering Williams won’t always be the biggest guy on the floor.

Why LA should pass

The thing is, really, that there’s nothing he does better than Harrell, let alone Jordan. He’s a clone of the two. And ultimately, he doesn’t fit the new Clippers mold of long, two-way players.

He’s not quick enough to guard multiple positions, will probably be limited to playing the 4, and doesn’t provide any offense outside of poster dunks. And while that’s all good and fun, that’s not the direction the NBA is going.

Each of the top big men in this class all have something of an outside shot, and can play outside of the paint with ease. They’re playing position-less basketball, while Williams can’t. So although he may be the best player available, it’s in the Clippers’ best interest to take another look around.