WALTHAM — Celtics draft pick Robert Williams did not attend the team’s first summer league session Sunday afternoon.
Williams missed his flight from Louisiana to Boston, but is in transit to attend Monday’s practice, according to the Celtics PR staff.
“Yeah, I think everyone’s disappointed,” Celtics summer league coach Jay Larranaga told reporters after practice. “You want to get everything off to a good start on the first day, but we’ll handle that internally and move forward.”
Williams had been in Boston for his introductory press conference Friday. The 20-year-old said the visit was his first. After the presser and a community event, he flew home Friday evening and was scheduled to return for Sunday’s practice.
The Celtics’ summer league squad will have three additional practices before departing for Las Vegas Thursday. Larranaga said he hopes to use the time to “introduce the whole group to [their] system, [their] culture, [and] how [they] do things.” He called it a “great opportunity” for the players.
“We really just want to emphasize taking advantage of this opportunity,” he said.
Larranaga said he has yet to meet Williams, so he refrained from commenting on questions regarding the center’s character. There was some speculation the night of the 2018 NBA Draft Williams had fallen to the Celtics because of doubts surrounding his motor and level of motivation.
Missing Sunday’s practice was Williams’s second flub. He also overslept his introductory conference call, which was scheduled for the Monday following the draft. The call was postponed and took place later that morning.
“I think with every rookie that comes into the NBA, it’s really a race to maturity,” he said. “Some people are further ahead, like a Jayson Tatum, and a lot of guys have some more catching up to do. Robert is, like I said, when he gets here tomorrow, we’ll start working with him, and I’m just excited to get to meet him.”
Though Williams was not present, Jayson Tatum — the Celtics’ top draft pick of 2017 — participated in practice, despite not being a member of the official summer league roster. Tatum said he does not plan to travel to Vegas with the team.
“Brad [Stevens] and the coaches asked me to come back,” Tatum said. “He said mostly every second-year player is playing in summer league, but since I’m not playing, they wanted me to come back and be around the guys — [Jabari Bird], Kadeem [Allen], [Guerschon Yabusele], and [Semi Ojeleye] — because, you know, we all came in together. I was happy to come back.”