He’s a gritty defender with a team-friendly contract who manages to make an impact despite limited playing time. And he’s only getting better.
The story of Grant Williams is still being written, but the 23-year-old is already making quite the name for himself in the National Basketball Association.
A first-round pick (No. 22) in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williams is only in his third year in the league but has already proven himself to be a pivotal role player on a Boston Celtics team propelling itself toward a potential deep run in the playoffs.
Coming off the bench, Williams has demonstrated he can perform both as a capable scorer and a shutdown defender.
In the locker room, Williams has shown he can be a great teammate — as evidenced by him being a finalist for the 2021-22 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. Jrue Holiday ended up walking away with the award, but some of Williams’ teammates insist he “got robbed.”
And in his community, the young baller is continually personifying what it means to be a leader off the court. Williams took part in a special selfie with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu during an April 27 groundbreaking ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr. ‘The Embrace’ memorial.
But that just skims the surface of why Williams would be a great addition to any organization.
Let’s take a look at what makes a guy like him so valuable.
Worthy of a Raise
This year, Williams is making about $2.6 million, by all accounts a team-friendly deal befitting a late first-round pick on his rookie contract. His salary is due to increase to $4.3 million next season, according to Spotrac, after which he will become a restricted free agent.
Grant Williams Contract & Salary Details
Contract length: 4 years
Total value: $11,802,681
Average annual value (AAV): $2,950,670
Restricted free agency: 2023
If Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens wasn’t already mulling offering Williams an extension prior to the playoffs, he may be seriously considering it now after he put on a defensive show in round one of the postseason against Brooklyn.
Coming off the bench for the C’s in their four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, the 6’6 power forward proved to be a lockdown defender against the likes of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — two of Brooklyn’s most dynamic scorers.
He quietly averaged 29 minutes per game, putting up some decent numbers (11.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks per game). He also established himself as a threat from beyond the arc, going 8 for 16 for the series.
Williams also put up historic numbers in Game 2, not missing a single shot, going 4-4 from the field-goal and 6-6 from the line. The perfect shooting night helped Williams make Celtics history, matching a feat only achieved by Don Nelson during Boston’s 1974 championship season.
But that’s kind of been the story for Wiliams all throughout his career in the NBA: consistent improvement and showing up when it counts. It’s why he’s earned the trust of his teammates so early in his career. It’s why he has the nickname “Batman” — even if he gave it to himself.
And that’s just the Williams we know when he’s balling. His story off the court is just as exceptional.
Away from basketball, Williams appears to be a man of many talents and interests.
A former chess champion and a reported outer space enthusiast, Williams is also a math whiz, who excelled so much while studying supply chain management at Tennessee — the school he chose over Harvard and Yale — that he earned his degree in only three years.
And the excellence appears to run in the family. Williams’ mother is an engineer for NASA, and his father is a jazz musician who was not only a college basketball player but also a bodyguard for Prince.
Perhaps most importantly, Williams appears to truly care about his community —no matter if it’s showing up for team functions, putting support behind his friends in the LGBTQ community, or shouting out his fellow ballers in the WNBA.
Here’s a little more you may not know about Williams:
- Vice President, National Basketball Players Association
- The first player to win SEC Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons since 1995
- Former Chess Champion
- In high school, he played several instruments, studied three languages, and performed in his school musical.