Height: 6’8” Weight: 240 Wingspan: 6’10” Age: 20 College Tennessee Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
Grant Williams is one of the smartest and most mature players in the draft. He can help a team with his defense, toughness, and IQ. He can hurt a team with floor spacing although he has shooting potential. He would best in the role of a small ball big. I know he’s short but he’s so strong so teams are not going to want to attack him in the post even with taller players. He has a great attitude, and he is very mature, tough, and competitive. He’s very good in interviews, he understands his weaknesses and sounds like he’s working very hard to improve them. Last season he was ridiculously productive and a player of the year candidate. He averaged 23.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per 40. His scoring won’t translate much in the NBA, but his passing and defense will. He is a really good decision maker, and had a very solid 1.5 A/to ratio last year.
Grants main way of scoring in college was off the post up. Based on the direction the NBA is going this will not translate. He will still be able to punish switches on the post, but he won’t be posting up his regular matchup often. To get a lot of low post touches in the NBA on a good team you have to be an elite scorer like Embiid, Aldridge, or Towns, and Williams is not on those guys level. He still could be a very good passer out of the post like Draymond is, and a lot of teams are throwing it inside now to a good passer to look for cutters. Williams could be great in this role. I imagine most of the time on offense Williams will spend in the dunkers spot. He’s very good at being in the right spot at the right time when guards drive. He’s always attacking the offensive glass also. He’s a good finisher and was in the 93rd percentile last year as a finisher. He’s not as good of a finisher as the number suggest, but still solid. Part of the reason the number was so high was because he always gets in the right spot so his finishes are so easy. He has good touch, and is great at dealing with contact because of his strength. His weakness finishing is that he only uses his right, he needs hours in the gym increasing his confidence with his left.
Another role Williams can fill on offense is setting a lot of ball screens. He was solid as the roll man this year and was in the 73rd percentile. He doesn’t have great roll gravity because he’s not a huge lob threat, but he is smart and a good finisher. He also has a very good short jumper and had 1.064PPP on it. That is very good efficiency for a shot that is typically inefficient. He also has potential as a great short roll man because his vision. If someone doubles the ball screen and he rolls short he will be a great decision maker in the 4 on 3 situations. He was in the 58th percentile in spot up situations last year, but I don’t think he should be used there early in his career. He is not that confident in his three yet, so there is no reason to closeout hard on him. He does have solid form, and has improved his shot every year though so he does have some potential in this area. If he improves his shot it will unlock a lot more opportunities offensively.
Some of Grants offense won’t translate to the NBA, but all of his defense will. He can guard 3-5 well, and some 1’s and 2’s. He is the smartest and most instinctive help defender in the draft, which is a very underrated skill to. He doesn’t block a lot of shots from the weak side because he is not a great jumper, but he changes a lot of shots or prevents them from being taken because of how early he gets to the right position. He makes up for all his teammates defensive mistakes. Despite him being a great defender he needs to work on his lateral speed to take it to the next level. He gives guards too much space sometimes, and they get good looks from three because of how much space Williams gives them. If he gets quicker he won’t need to give them the same space, and some day could guard 1-5 consistently.
If Grant is used right he could be a very solid player with an average ceiling. If used wrong will be no better than a role player off the bench, but will always remain on a roster because his attitude and toughness. By using him wrong I mean a coach looking at his short height and playing him at a position that doesn’t play the best to his strengths. Coaches need to always let their players play to their strengths if they want to get the most out of them. If Grants coach doesn’t let him play to his strengths he’ll be a solid player that plays 10 minutes a game and is known for his toughness. If Grants skill stays similar and his coach plays him more out a big man role, he could be an average starting big that is a good defender and passer, or a great role player off the bench that plays a ton for his defense. If he improves his shooting and lateral speed, he still doesn’t have an all star ceiling, but will be one of the better small ball bigs in the league.