Draymond Green shares why guarding Robert Williams is so difficult

"Y’all have to understand, if you are even with Robert Williams, he is going to dunk on you."

Robert Williams
Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III during an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Draymond Green saw the play coming, but even the former Defensive Player of the Year couldn’t stop Robert Williams from catching a lob.

In December, when the Warriors visited the Celtics, Green tried to contain a pick-and-roll with Jaylen Brown and Williams, but instead he got himself stuck in between the two. Sure enough, Brown tossed a lob high in the air to Williams, who went up and smashed it through the rim with his left hand over Green.

On a recent podcast with Jayson Tatum, Green chuckled about the incident. He said he watched Williams catch several lobs over Lakers star Anthony Davis earlier in the day. Davis, as Green noted, played Williams in drop pick-and-roll coverage. In other words, when a guard circled around the big in the pick-and-roll, Davis dropped back to prevent the guard from turning the corner.


“You’re taught as the big man to never let the roller, which would be Robert Williams, get behind you,” Green said as Tatum nodded. “Once you let the roller get behind you, you’re dead.”

“It’s over with,” Tatum agreed.

So at shoot around prior to the Celtics game, Green exhorted his teammates to take care to stay low enough to contain Williams.

“I’m like, ‘Fellas, listen, y’all have to understand, if you are even with Robert Williams, he is going to dunk on you,'” Green said. “‘He will catch the lob on your head, I just watched him catch three of them on AD in one game, and that’s AD. If you’re even even with him, he’s going to catch it on your head. So you have to stay below him.”

Green said he grew animated as he spoke, and his teammates understood his point. Still, in the fourth quarter, Green found himself stuck.

“And I get in the pick-and-roll and I’m dropped, and I thought I was beneath him, and he still caught the lob on my head,” Green said.


The Warriors went on to win that game 111-107, but the Celtics exacted some revenge last month in a 110-88 beatdown — part of the team’s impressive 4-0 road trip (Williams was 4-for-5 from the floor, but he did not score out of the pick-and-roll).

The Celtics’ recent turnaround impressed Green. He expressed sympathy for Williams and wished him a speedy recovery from his recent meniscus tear.

“Robert Williams is one of the best passing big men I have ever seen and no one talks about it,” Green said. “That’s a huge loss for y’all.”

Tatum agreed.

“Man, listen,” he said. “First of all, feel terrible for Rob. Seeing him the first day he came in and how hard he’s worked and the strides that he’s made to be where he’s at, and he’s just barely scratching the surface of where he can get to. This is his first full year playing, starting, being a core part of our team, and you’ve seen where he’s taking us.

“So I feel terrible for him because I just know his confidence was at all time high, he was really feeling good about himself. And like you said, it’s not many guys like him that can pass as well as he does, extreme lob threat on offense, don’t need the ball and the best defender on our team. So you can’t replace a guy like that when he goes down with an injury.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com