Celtics Grant Williams Challenged to Become More Like Draymond Green

Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

Getty Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics benefitted from numerous members of their roster taking a developmental jump last season.

Jayson Tatum went from All-Star to All-NBA, Jaylen Brown operated at an All-Star level but struggled with injuries to begin the year, Al Horford rolled back the clock, and Robert Williams became one of the most dominant centers in the entire league. However, no one took a jump like Grant Williams – who went from struggling bench player to elite three-and-d wing/forward in the space of a summer.

Yet, an Eastern Conference coach, who spoke to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, believes there is still one glaring weakness that is holding Williams back from reaching the level of other smaller wings like Draymond Green: his passing.

“Passing is one. People compare him to Draymond but it is not a very good comparison other than they are very good defenders and they’re undersized. Grant finally shot the ball the way we all thought he could come out of college — he should be a 40% shooter from the 3-point line every year with that team. Draymond, you just hope he hits the league average on 3s. But Draymond is a brilliant passer, he sees the floor, and he does not telegraph what he is doing. Williams will never be that level of passer. But he can get better, he can be a very effective high-post passer. He did it a lot at Tennessee, we’ve just not seen it go through him in the NBA,” The coach said.

When looking at the role Williams played last season – a floor-spacing big who would attack close-outs and sometimes work from the post, seeing him develop a passing game would certainly raise his floor, as defenses couldn’t help off his teammates in order to pressure his shots in the way they were to end last season.

Williams Working on His Floater Game

During an exclusive interview with Heavy.com’s Jack Simone on August 10, Boston’s fourth-year forward discussed what aspects of his game he’s been working on throughout the off-season – and passing didn’t make the top of the list.

“Shooting on the move, that’s the big one. Not necessarily like Duncan Robinson shooting on the move, but more so pick-and-pop. Just make sure like the shots that I am gonna have to make this upcoming season, because teams are going to run me off, teams are going to be heavily contested, so, that’s one.

Defensively, I want to improve on guarding actions, like screaming actions. Whether that’s off-ball or on. Because I do a great job in isolation, I want to improve, say I’m guarding Steph [Curry] or Trae Young coming off the screen and be able to negotiate and navigate those screens. And then the last thing is my finishing at the rim, whether that’s through floaters or touch shots, you know. Where, those in between shots so if I’m not getting all the way to the rim for a layup, being able to have that in my arsenal,” Williams said.

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Throughout 77 regular-season games last season, Williams averaged 7.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and an assist, while shooting 41.1% from deep and 56.9% from two-point range – while the Texas native’s defense also took an enormous jump and saw him provide the Celtics with integral contributions on some of the NBA’s elite players throughout the post-season.

Grant Williams Waiting on a Contract Extension

As we head towards the new season, one of the Celtics’ biggest unanswered questions is whether they’re going to extend Grant Williams’ current contract – which is due to expire next summer.

According to Deveney on a recent episode of The Celtics Collective, Williams’ agent, Billy Duffy, is well-known for liking his clients to accept their rookie extension, should their team make an offer – and we should expect to see some movement on those negotiations before the season gets underway.

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“Getting that third-year extension is a very important thing, it’s a way of generating generational wealth for the young man’s family forever. If you get the opportunity to get that, you make sure they take advantage…Bill Duffy is also RJ Barrett’s agent, and we saw RJ take an extension rather than push for the max extension. Bill Duffy has a long history of approaching things this way,” Deveney said when discussing a potential Grant Williams extension.

In fairness, Williams’ developments have certainly proven he’s worthy of a new deal, although the Celtics front office may wish to see him replicate last season’s form before making a final decision. Either way, we should know more in the coming weeks.

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