Aprils fools day and the NBA have a peculiar relationship. On social media, players, teams, and fans all partake in elaborate pranks, aiming to pull the wool over thousands of people’s eyes at the click of a button.
But, it would seem that the Boston Celtics roster had their own pranksters to deal with, as Ime Udoka and Grant Williams decided to fake a fight. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, as none of the Celtics roster came over in an attempt to stop the pair from coming to blows, with most standing on the sidelines watching how things played out.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, April 2, Marcus Smart shared his view on why no Celtics player intervened in what they thought was a genuine confrontation between player and coach.
“When I first saw it, I didn’t think nothing of it. Just two guys who are very passionate going at it. But then when Grant started to come back, I was like ‘something’s not right,” Smart said, “I called them two Walruses going at it, it’s two big guys, man. They’re two big guys, and I don’t think nobody wanted to step in that if it was real. They were going to have to figure things out on their own.”
Udoka: ‘Some Players Wanted Williams to Get A** Kicked’
Williams is known as a talkative member of the Celtics locker room and is often the class clown. Recently, we saw the lighter side to the third-year combo big as he decided to compare each member of the Celtics roster to a Marvel Superhero.
“Grant is the most talkative rookie I’ve ever been around, by far,” Gordon Hayward said during an interview on the CelticsBlog podcast when Grant Williams was in his rookie season.
Ime Udoka was the one to reveal the prank with him and Williams. During a segment on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand”, however, the Celtics head coach elaborated further during an April 1 press conference.
“It was a good one, I got everyone, literally. Got the coaching staff and the players, just whispered to Grant – we butted heads a little bit last game, had a few discussions. And this was kind of my way of making things up to him in front of the team I guess. We got into a fake argument, and Grant likes to talk back, so it wasn’t unexpected that he had something to say back.
We started chirping and walked toward each other, I expected a coach or two to get in the middle, or a teammate, but nobody got in the way. We kept going and people started to think things were very serious…I heard later that three or four players said they wanted to see Grant get his a** kicked,” Udoka said when discussing the hilarious prank.
Williams is Having Breakout Season
Williams began this season with a point to prove. The third-year combo big struggled mightily last season, as he was deemed too small to play center and too slow to operate on the wings. However, after putting in the work over the off-season, a sleeker version of Williams took to the court this year, and the results have been amazing.
Williams currently sits 16th in three-point percentage and according to Cleaning The Glass is currently in the 91st percentile of bigs for his accuracy from deep. The 23-year-old has also proven to be a valuable defender, with his ability to switch onto smaller or bigger players making him a vital cog in Udoka’s switch-everything defensive system.
Comparisons are inevitable when discussing young players and what their potential ceilings are, and it’s no different for Williams. Right now, the two most likely comparisons are Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and PJ Tucker of the Miami Heat. If the Texas native can reach the heights of those two former NBA champions, then the Celtics got a steal with the 22nd pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Williams will be entering the final year of his rookie deal next season and becomes extension eligible this summer. If the third-year big can continue to impress throughout the post-season, he should expect a new contract to be extended that will keep him in Boston for the foreseeable future.