Grant Williams Has A Long Career Ahead Of Him
Grant Williams might not be a star, but his blend of strength, intelligence and defensive awareness will endear him to many NBA teams for years to come.
F, Junior, Tennessee
6’7, 240 lbs
Stats in 2018-19:
37 games, 31.9 MPG, 18.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 56.4 FG%, 32.6 3P%, 81.9 FT%
Where he’ll go:
Williams will be a first-round pick.
There are a lot of teams who could use a player like Williams. A hard-nosed, defensive-minded forward with a great understanding of the game and great instincts will always have a place in the NBA.
Williams is one of those “does all the little things” guys. He plays extremely hard, sets great screens and has the potential to really lock guys down on the defensive end. Though he wasn’t a great three-point shooter in college, it’s more of a range issue than a form one—and that can be fixed. He shot well from the field overall and he’s a productive free-throw shooter. That tends to bode well. He didn’t shoot well at the combine, but he said he wasn’t too concerned about it.
“I think I’ve shown my competitive attitude,” he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball well today, but it happens. Can’t really focus much on it, just have to go to the next day, but for myself it was just about showing on the defensive end that I can guard and also showing that mentality of doing whatever it takes—screening, rebounding, whatever.”
Williams is probably a power forward in the NBA, and though he’s slightly undersized for that position, with the trend towards smaller lineups and Williams’ strength, he should be able to hold his own. He’s also a great team defender who will commit wholeheartedly to schemes and do what coaches ask of him. He’s also a great rebounder and strong enough to box out bigger guys, so there shouldn’t be any issues on that front.
“A competitive mindset, a person that’s going to do whatever it takes to win, a person that brings value as a teammate and also whatever a coach asks me to do, I’ll do,” said Williams at the combing when asked to describe what he brings to a team.
The questions about Williams are not really centered on his ability to play a role in the NBA, but on his ceiling. While he could be a glue guy for many years, he doesn’t have the elite explosiveness that many teams value so highly and he probably won’t become a go-to scorer. He isn’t great at getting his own shot, and his three-point shooting needs a bit of work.
That being said, at some point in the draft it becomes valuable to draft a player you know can be trusted to play NBA minutes—Williams is certainly that. He won’t make stupid mistakes and he has the strength and size to play right away. He’s also a great worker and was a great culture guy at Tennessee where he led the team and facilitated a lot of the offense despite being a post player. Williams will have a long career.