Some of us here at Basketball Society were concerned with how Grant Williams was going to translate to the NBA. It wasn’t his size at all (he’s one of the strongest prospects after all), but rather it was his height. With him having measured in at just 6’6 at the NBA Draft Combine, it was a little concerning how he would deal with the NBA length.
If the first game for him with the Celtics was any indication, it’s pretty clear that the height won’t stop him from contributing.
For Grant, it’s always been about the intangibles. Fellow teammates always say that he works harder than anyone else and he proves it time and time again on the court.
Today, against the Philadelphia 76ers, Grant Williams actually came off the bench as the Celtics favored Guerschon Yabusele at the power forward position alongside Robert Williams down-low. Yabusele struggled immediately and the Celtics followed suit as the 76ers got off to an early lead. Then they subbed Grant Williams in and the tides began to quickly turn.
Grant Williams was grinding in the paint and actually showed a nice touch on his floater during the game.
The best part of Grant’s game is his help defense. He’s intelligent and makes up for defensive lapses from his teammates. He isn’t going to block too many shots (even though he did have 2 today), but he will cause turnovers by cutting off passing lanes or by just being the brute force that he is.
Early on in the game, Grant did get a shot blocked at the rim and it caught our attention immediately, but he adjusted. That’s what high IQ players do and that’s why you generally shouldn’t bet against them. We don’t think he was blocked again all day.
Grant Williams shot extremely well from deep too which was something you could’ve been concerned about given that he wasn’t really a perimeter player at Tennessee. Williams shot 2/4 from deep and they weren’t just from the corner.
Williams was grabbing rebounds and making passes that no one at his stature should be able to do. What Grant does, does not always show up on the stat sheet. He had 12 points on 4/8 shooting, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks as mentioned. The contributions he made on the floor go far passed those stats. He was communicating to his teammates, hustling hard, and didn’t turnover the ball all game. Grant’s like an on court coach out there.
The one last stat that we’ll point to that shows how great he was is that he was a +21 when on the floor tonight in just 19 minutes of action. Grant Williams was stellar for the Celtics tonight and we expect that to continue into the season.