BOSTON -- There’s no telling what impact Grant Williams will make on the Celtics after he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft.
But he has a growing fan base, one that includes former Celtic Kendrick Perkins.
“On the defensive end, this guy, I coached him at the [pre-draft] combine, he literally can guard one [point guard] through five [center],” Perkins said on ESPN’s The Jump. “He does it all. His shot has gotten better; he scores. He’s got a nice mid-range, he finishes around the rim, he’s very athletic. And he’s an under-rated shot blocker. He reminds me of a poor man’s Draymond Green.”
And while some might see it as being a bit early to compare him to such a proven talent as Green, the numbers put up by both coming into the NBA are pretty similar.
While Green came into the league with a significantly larger wingspan (7-feet, 1 1/4 inches compared to Williams’ 6-9 3/4 inches), the two are actually the same height (6-7 1/2) with a similar girth (Williams weighs 240.2 pounds, Green came in at 235.6).
They have an identical hand length of nine inches, with Williams having the wider hands (10.5 inches versus Green’s 9.5).
While the Green comparisons are nice, one of the biggest selling points when it comes to Williams is his high basketball I.Q.
Yes, the two-time SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee has legit basketball smarts.
But Williams’ book smarts are on par with his basketball prowess, evident by him being recruited by Ivy league powers such as Harvard coming out of high school.
“He is a special kid,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker told NBC Sports Boston. “Hard-working, smart, driven, everyone really likes him. We wanted him here at Harvard.”
“Super smart” were two of the first three words uttered by Celtics coach Brad Stevens when asked about Williams who was selected by Boston with the 22nd overall pick Thursday night.
Stevens went on to add that Williams, “is a guy that I kind of looked at as a guy with a point guard’s mind. You can run the offense through him at the elbows, at the block, at the top of the key … he just thinks the game. He’s a tough, tough guy and he’s a versatile player who can shoot the ball.
It’s way too soon to gauge exactly where he’ll fit in rotation-wise with the Celtics.
Still, listening to Stevens, it sounds as though the 20-year-old will have a role sooner rather than later.
“Again, very intelligent and we’re looking forward to having him,” Stevens said. “We think he translates well and you couldn’t be more impressed with the kid when you sit down with him.”
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