Grant Williams: breakout rookie?

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
3,827
This seems like it could be one of the big battles for playing time on the roster. Semi has been a fan favorite for a few years now because of his legendary weight-room heroics. But, in my opinion, we are all still waiting for him to become the 3 and D player we thought he'd become (son of Marcus).

It's of course super early, but it's hard for me to see what Semi brings to the table that Grant Williams does not, and it seems like Grant has a much bigger upside and brings more to the table even now. GW's passing is much better than Semi, and GW's offensive game is far superior. Bottom line, it's hard for me to see why Semi should play over GW.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
18,673
Semi has preternaturally quick feet that, with his strength, allows him to guard a variety of positions. From what I have seen over the first two games, while GW's feet isn't quite as quick, he has been doing a credible job on most everyone he guards (except Siakam shot a couple of three pointers right over him).

Here's one thing that is beyond dispute: GW is a much better basketball player than Semi so if Semi is going to get minutes over GW, he's going to have do something like shoot 45% from 3P.

I really like Semi but I think GW is going to get a consistent 15-20 minutes this year. At some point, knowing how to play the game really counts. I mean the offensive foul he drew from Gasol in the 4th quarter - can't remember the last time I saw a rookie get that call in that situation.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
15,692
They play different roles really. Williams despite being 6'6" isn't a wing, Semi isn't really a post player.
So for example... Semi isn't an option on Gasol who GW was matched up with tonight.
On the flip side, Semi played on Ben Simmons game 1, and on guys like Giannis last year, GW isn't guarding either of them.

I expect GW to be in the big rotation with Kanter/TL/Theis, while Semi is likely here to be a defensive sub for particular matchups.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
It's early and would not want to cap what Grant can or can't do. Brad is going to start playing him more because he constantly makes the right basketball decision whether its a charge, a pass, rotating on defense, positional defense, offensive boards, etc. He'll make mistakes but his upside is high and we know what Semi's upside is after 2 years.

At this point, I expect we'll see Grant play the 4 or small ball 5 against perimeter centers. Semi should be one of the 11th, 12th or 13th man on the deep bench, not in the main rotation. I'd rather see Grant on the floor w/ Giannis and Simmons.

Plus Grant is 4yrs younger with more years of team control.
 
Last edited:

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
OK, well, apparently second game rookie Grant Williams can unlock the Celtics death lineup.
not sure we should anoint him to that level just yet:D

BUT it's not altogether shocking that a 1st round pick, 2X SEC Player of the Year that showed us a lot in both SL/pre-season is providing better rotational depth now than Semi Ojeleye. Without a doubt, he's worth giving minutes to.

Weren't you driving the cut Semi and develop Strus train a few weeks back?

Just need Brad to get Carsen into the mix
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
6,313
Kiev, Ukraine
not sure we should anoint him to that level just yet:D

BUT it's not altogether shocking that a 1st round pick, 2X SEC Player of the Year that showed us a lot in both SL/pre-season is providing better rotational depth now than Semi Ojeleye. Without a doubt, he's worth giving minutes to.

Weren't you driving the cut Semi and develop Strus train a few weeks back?

Just need Brad to get Carsen into the mix
Haha, not anointing him--but Toronto, even without Kawhi, is a very good team. They have Anunoby back, and Siakam seems to be taking yet another leap. They probably would have been title favorites if Kawhi had stayed. And Grant did great.

With what I saw last night, I'd like to see Grant play more against basically any center without an elite faceup game (AD, Embiid and not tons of others). He's ridiculously strong, and big guys shooting over him from 10-14 feet just isn't a good enough shot to make it an exploit.

Re the bolded: I definitely wanted to cut Semi, and keep Strus, and I haven't seen anything to change that. He's blocked by 5 guys now (Smart, Jaylen, Tatum, Hayward, Grant), and I think Grant should be able to do at least as well on Giannis.
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
22,886
Last night was pretty much the best-case scenario from the Williams draft discussions---pesky and versatile defender whose strength partially compensates for lack of height, effective passer and screener who knows how to play team ball at both ends.

Cautiously optimistic he's a legit rotation guy this year with some upside as that jumper improves.
 

Montana Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 18, 2000
8,250
Twin Bridges, Mt.
I expect Grant to get 15-25 minutes tonight with Theis out and Portis the only real size on the Knicks. He should be the first big off the bench with RWIII starting. Imagine Semi will get some minutes too. Semi looked OK in the past because Yabu also occasionally was on the floor and was so lost he made Semi look like he had a clue. Comparing Semi to Grant is no comparison, Grant looks like a well schooled vet and as the 2 time SEC player of the year, he is. Semi looks like a great athlete who wasn't going to get any PT at Duke, knew it and then left. He will strictly be a situational player for these Celtics.
 

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
42,994
deep inside Guido territory
I think this isn't much of a discussion to be honest with everyone. Grant Williams was the 2-time SEC Player of the Year for a reason. He affects the game in so many areas. I really think he could be the next Draymond Green.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
15,692
This thread is so weird. They don't play the same position, or the same role. It would be like a Tacko Fall vs. Carsen Edwards thread.
 

Devizier

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 3, 2000
11,227
Somewhere
Grant has a much, much, much better feel for the game.

But I do love the Tracy Chapman look that Semi is rocking this year.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
This thread is so weird. They don't play the same position, or the same role. It would be like a Tacko Fall vs. Carsen Edwards thread.
They are both 6'6" 235 lbs, are built like tanks and play the big wing role for the Celtics other than that they have nothing else in common.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
15,692
They are both 6'6" 235 lbs, are built like tanks and play the big wing role for the Celtics other than that they have nothing else in common.
Williams hasn't played any wing, he's primarily played center, and a bit of PF. He's been used to match up with mostly low mobility bigs. Semi has played mostly the 3 and matched up with big wings. There may be a slight overlap on certain PFs, or when they're just desperate for a body, but their roles are different. Williams is here to be a backup big (PF/C) and Semi is here to be a body to throw out there to defend guys who have size and quick feet, mostly at SF (Giannis, Simmons, etc.)
 
Last edited:

HowBoutDemSox

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 12, 2009
4,938
They’ve got the Bucks up next, where Semi has gotten some playing time in the past trying to slow down Giannis. Will Brad try GWill in that role?
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
6,313
Kiev, Ukraine
I assume we're just using this as the Grant thread now?

He completely changed the Knicks game when he came in, and had zero issues playing Robinson. We know about his defensive smarts, but his offensive fit is ridiculously good. He and Jaylen were working really well together. The offensive rebounding seems to be for real too.

Honestly, I'm in shock at how good he is this early.
 

slamminsammya

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
3,152
Palo Alto
Can we make this a dedicated Grant Williams thread? The giy is already a solid player. Damn he was fun to watch against the Knicks. And his screens are conspicuously good.
 

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
3,827
The one negative in the first half of the Knicks game is I feel like the Celtics were getting killed on the defensive glass. They were playing great team defense, but had a very hard time getting the rebound. I'm not sure what the adjustment was in the second half - maybe just boxing out more, I have no idea.

When Kanter is back, I expect we'll see less of GW at the 5. But, we'll see.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
The one negative in the first half of the Knicks game is I feel like the Celtics were getting killed on the defensive glass. They were playing great team defense, but had a very hard time getting the rebound. I'm not sure what the adjustment was in the second half - maybe just boxing out more, I have no idea.

When Kanter is back, I expect we'll see less of GW at the 5. But, we'll see.
plus Theis was out...when they all return GW will primarily play the big wing, like Brad originally planned. Maybe some small-ball 5, but Brad wants to rotate Theis, Kanter, TL, VP at the 5

Grant might be that missing piece against bigger lineups (see Philly, Lakers, Mil) at the 4. Regardless he should play 25-30mpg. Credit to Max Carlin who had Grant Williams #4 on his draft board.
 

chilidawg

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 22, 2015
1,914
Cultural hub of the universe
The one negative in the first half of the Knicks game is I feel like the Celtics were getting killed on the defensive glass. They were playing great team defense, but had a very hard time getting the rebound. I'm not sure what the adjustment was in the second half - maybe just boxing out more, I have no idea.

When Kanter is back, I expect we'll see less of GW at the 5. But, we'll see.
Seemed they were getting a good number of blocked shots but then not coming up with the rebound. That's partly a result of the big rotating to contest and no one else coming in to help out, and partly bad luck as blocked shot outcomes would seem to be kind of random. Also playing without your best rebounder who isn't really a shot contester.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
3,669
around the way
plus Theis was out...when they all return GW will primarily play the big wing, like Brad originally planned. Maybe some small-ball 5, but Brad wants to rotate Theis, Kanter, TL, VP at the 5

Grant might be that missing piece against bigger lineups (see Philly, Lakers, Mil) at the 4. Regardless he should play 25-30mpg. Credit to Max Carlin who had Grant Williams #4 on his draft board.
I still think that TL belong in Maine some more. I'm loving the progress, but he's still Bambi at times out there. And the rotation can only realistically be so big.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
I still think that TL belong in Maine some more. I'm loving the progress, but he's still Bambi at times out there. And the rotation can only realistically be so big.
IDK, TL has been OK. He'll make mistakes and get lost, but TL kind of needs to work them out at the NBA level (same applies w/ Carsen Edwards). TL and Arsen have so much upside that it's worth it. I think by Dec 15th Brad/Danny will know what they have at the 5 and what they'll need. PLUS with the modern style of play NBA centers are beaten up nightly, so rotating four helps them stay fresh.
 
Last edited:

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
15,295
I still think that TL belong in Maine some more. I'm loving the progress, but he's still Bambi at times out there. And the rotation can only realistically be so big.

He is not going to get much better playing in Maine, imo. He is past that level. He needs to see if he can stick at the highest level. I like his progress so far.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
6,313
Kiev, Ukraine
He is not going to get much better playing in Maine, imo. He is past that level. He needs to see if he can stick at the highest level. I like his progress so far.
Yeah, the team clearly agrees with this too. They've been making a point since the preseason of getting him 10-15 mins a game, even when someone like Poirier is probably a more polished defensive option at the moment.

As for Grant, I don't care whether he's playing the 4 or the 5 (that's matchup and rotation dependent, and as benhogan said, centers get hurt), but the dude needs to be on the floor as much as possible.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
24,359
Melrose, MA
He is not going to get much better playing in Maine, imo. He is past that level. He needs to see if he can stick at the highest level. I like his progress so far.
Disagree. He (TL) is inept at certain basic skills (like lateral movement to keep his man in front of him) that he could certainly work on in Maine. He's actually a great candidate to go down there and actually benefit from it.
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
Disagree. He (TL) is inept at certain basic skills (like lateral movement to keep his man in front of him) that he could certainly work on in Maine. He's actually a great candidate to go down there and actually benefit from it.
It's early but I think Brad has TL (#3 depth) higher on the depth chart than VP, so wouldn't he send VP down before TL? Plus we saw Theis/Kanter injured and the Celtics immediately activated Tacko. So even though Grant is flexible enough to play the 5, they plan on having at least 3 Centers dressed.

I get that you probably want TL to get major minutes at Maine to develop his lateral movement, but 25mpg down there would probably be less helpful in his development than 10-15mpg at the NBA level. With so little preseason and many new faces we need patience on letting this group develop on-court chemistry/timing together. TL rawness is just going to take longer than the more refined players.
 

OurF'ingCity

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 22, 2016
4,083
New York City
I know this is a lazy comparison to some degree but Grant is already starting to feel like the "big" version of Smart - a guy with certain limitations who won't ever necessarily turn into a "star," but who just does all the little things so well that his value goes well beyond what shows up in the statsheet. And having that kind of player on a rookie salary is, needless to say, immensely valuable.
 

sezwho

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
525
Brooklyn by way of Orono
To my lyin' eyes Grant leads the team in positive plays that don't make the box score: hockey assists, screens that occupy 2+ players, boxing out a big so another C gets the board, deflections, etc. I just love watching him play and when combined with Tacko time this year has provided such unexpected joy already.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
24,359
Melrose, MA
It's early but I think Brad has TL (#3 depth) higher on the depth chart than VP, so wouldn't he send VP down before TL? Plus we saw Theis/Kanter injured and the Celtics immediately activated Tacko. So even though Grant is flexible enough to play the 5, they plan on having at least 3 Centers dressed.

I get that you probably want TL to get major minutes at Maine to develop his lateral movement, but 25mpg down there would probably be less helpful in his development than 10-15mpg at the NBA level. With so little preseason and many new faces we need patience on letting this group develop on-court chemistry/timing together. TL rawness is just going to take longer than the more refined players.
If, with everyone healthy, Brad wants to have TL on the floor for 10-15 minutes, then obviously he stays.

I honestly doubt he will, though, unless Williams moves ahead of Theis and Kanter for minutes.

The guy who has made the strongest case of anyone for minutes at C is, despite his limitations, Grant.

If you figure that Theis will get 12 minutes, Kanter 22, Grant 10... then you have ~4 left for TL. In that case he’s better in Maine.

In the Knicks game, Mitchell Robinson scored 17 points on 7-7 shooting from the field, a lot of that against TL.

As a general matter, I don’t think fringe NBA bigs benefit much from time in the G League. We saw, not that long ago, the likes of Fab Melo and Jordan Mickey put up some decent G-League stats, but that didn’t make either one a legit NBA player.

I think a guy like TL is an exception to that. What he lacks is some basic fundamentals, as opposed to lacking talentand getting reps in a different setting (and without the pressure of needing to produce) might just be the best thing for him.

I could see him shuttling back and forth with Poirier, though, as both could probably use the more regular reps.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
34,117
I think TL will shuttle back and forth a decent amount. There will be injuries (looking at you, Theis) that impact the roster decisions. Good luck to G League guards once Tacko and TL join forces.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
6,313
Kiev, Ukraine
I know this is a lazy comparison to some degree but Grant is already starting to feel like the "big" version of Smart - a guy with certain limitations who won't ever necessarily turn into a "star," but who just does all the little things so well that his value goes well beyond what shows up in the statsheet. And having that kind of player on a rookie salary is, needless to say, immensely valuable.
The thing is, a big version of Smart is WAY more valuable than Smart himself. Draymond and Smart have very similar skillsets and intelligence, but that extra 3-4 inches and extra pounds completely change Draymond's impact, since you can put out super-spaced/fast/switchy lineups that still have the ability to bang with the other teams big and not give up much on that end. If Grant has anything qualitatively like that ability, it's a real game-changer, even if his mentality and skills are similar to Smart's.

tldr; it sucks for Marcus Smart that he wasn't born a bit taller.
 

Koufax

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,508
Yes, a bigger Smart would be way more valuable. I don't see WIlliams as being that, or really resembling Smart much at all. Does he have Smart's intensity? His quick hands? What exactly is the similarity?
 

benhogan

Baynes Hogan (pending trade)
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
8,598
Santa Monica
I know this is a lazy comparison to some degree but Grant is already starting to feel like the "big" version of Smart - a guy with certain limitations who won't ever necessarily turn into a "star," but who just does all the little things so well that his value goes well beyond what shows up in the statsheet. And having that kind of player on a rookie salary is, needless to say, immensely valuable.
I see bits of Marcus Smart and Draymond Green in Grant but he mostly reminds me of PJ Tucker. He's definitely less emotional then Dray/Smart (in a good way) and I believe he will develop into a consistent spot-up 3pt shooter (82% FT shooter last year). His college, SL, pre-season performances have translated very quickly to the NBA game. His play on Gasol and Robinson have been eye-openers. What he lacks in height he clearly makes up in raw strength/power (see below) and is able to move tall guys down low with his chest while showing his hands (ala Aron Baynes)

View: https://twitter.com/sam_vecenie/status/1139560922647654400?lang=en
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
6,313
Kiev, Ukraine
Yes, a bigger Smart would be way more valuable. I don't see WIlliams as being that, or really resembling Smart much at all. Does he have Smart's intensity? His quick hands? What exactly is the similarity?
I know tone is hard to convey on the internet, but I mean this in the nicest way, with no sarcasm at all...have you watched the last two games?
 

128

lurker
May 4, 2019
770
Yes, a bigger Smart would be way more valuable. I don't see WIlliams as being that, or really resembling Smart much at all. Does he have Smart's intensity? His quick hands? What exactly is the similarity?
He makes winning plays that don't necessarily show up in the box score. That's a gift not all players have.
 

Koufax

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,508
Yes, that' true. It is true of Al Horford as well, but I don't think of Grant Williams as a smaller Al Horford. Their playing styles are so different.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
3,669
around the way
Yes, that' true. It is true of Al Horford as well, but I don't think of Grant Williams as a smaller Al Horford. Their playing styles are so different.
Grant has a few of Horford's good qualities too, but he's not the same style. I do see a lot of Smart/Green. Very physical. Slightly more physical than he needs to be, by just a hair. Loves defense, particularly taking charges. Very switchable. Does all of the little things, like all of them. Intense and smart.
 

lovegtm

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2013
6,313
Kiev, Ukraine
The main similarity between him and Smart (there are others, but this is a big one), is the preternatural anticipation on defense. They basically live 3 seconds in the future.
 

Koufax

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,508
Well I'll just have to look more carefully. Thanks for the tips.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
Yes, a bigger Smart would be way more valuable. I don't see WIlliams as being that, or really resembling Smart much at all. Does he have Smart's intensity? His quick hands? What exactly is the similarity?
He’s going to drive opponents bug fucking insane.
 

Reverend

for king and country
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jan 20, 2007
45,086
I see bits of Marcus Smart and Draymond Green in Grant but he mostly reminds me of PJ Tucker. He's definitely less emotional then Dray/Smart (in a good way) and I believe he will develop into a consistent spot-up 3pt shooter (82% FT shooter last year). His college, SL, pre-season performances have translated very quickly to the NBA game. His play on Gasol and Robinson have been eye-openers. What he lacks in height he clearly makes up in raw strength/power (see below) and is able to move tall guys down low with his chest while showing his hands (ala Aron Baynes)

View: https://twitter.com/sam_vecenie/status/1139560922647654400?lang=en
I love the repeated emphasis on how 96th percentile is actually quite uncommon.