It looks like the SEC has another player off the board, with Tennesee’s Grant Williams going next on our community draft board. An elder player who could translate as a tweener given his height, he also developed plenty of skills to work as a central fulcrum of the Volunteers squad last season.
Some of the draftniks I follow on Twitter have seemed very high on Grant Williams, the junior forward coming off a top-ranked Tennessee team in country. He was one of their most consistent performers during their program’s leap atop the polls this past year, flashing some inside scoring that anchored their offense. From a raw measurable standpoint, he’s no singular specimen, standing at 6’7” with a nearly 6’10” wingspan. That’ll obviously do in college, but there are probably some questions about whether that height will be an issue at the next level were he to continue working in the post.
The Ringer points out Boris Diaw as a potential comp, who slotted in at just about Williams height. Williams also had plenty of opportunity to do what Diaw did, as Tennessee ran its offense through him on the block, allowing him to hit cutters or guys on the perimeter when he opted not to use his brute strength to finish at the rim. Power certainly won’t be an issue either, he led all combine participants with 20 reps on the bench. Scoring inside will be needed for him to make hay in the big leagues, but more importantly, he’ll have to show acumen as a pick-and-pop guy who can blast off brutal screens he sets with force.
His 3-point game was practically nonexistent in college, with just 103 attempts over his three years in college, and only a 29.1% conversion rate. That’s quite colored by his putrid 3-25 sophomore season, so it’s more informative to go to his prolific free throw performance. Banging around inside sent him to the line 661 times over his college career, where he connected on 75.8% of those. On top of that, as his attempts ticked up over his time at Tennesee, his shot only got better, capped by an 81.9% performance at the line his last year.
Rebounding may not be the strongest part of his game, with a 17.4% defensive rebounding percentage his final year, but that was the highest of his career. He’ll face an uphill climb getting boards over improved length in the NBA, but with his power, it’ll be just as important for him to box out other guys so teammates could grab the board. Without any sort of fast-twitch athleticism, his ability as a shot creator and switchable defender may be limited, but he fit incredibly well within the Volunteers’ defensive system.
More than anything, he seems like someone who is capable of adapting quickly to a new environment. He finds the right spots defensively, gets there with haste, and puts up a scrappy fight for anyone who wants to challenge him. Sometimes, being in the right spot is as good a defense as any. Case in point - Ersan this past postseason. Williams carries more athleticism than Turkish Thunder of course, and sports a significantly better passing game, but you get the jist. I’m fascinated to see how Williams translates to the next level. He seems like a guy every team would love to have on their squad, but his ceiling seems relatively limited. Paul Millsap seems like the apex of what he could be, which would be one hell of a career, but the league continues to change so quickly that who knows if Williams will be able to even carve out that type of impact going forward.
If you’re looking for a game to encapsulate Williams, I recommend watching clips from the Georgia contest. You get a little bit of everything, including him dealing somewhat with NBA length given prospect Nic Claxton is either doubling Williams or awaiting him at the rim. Williams strength makes it easy for him to finish through slight guys, but he also has a decent midrange pull-up game. Other important elements include a sublime bounce pass entry to an awaiting man at the free throw line, a pick-and-pop triple and dishing to a trailing shooter in transition. My favorite sequence was when his point guard gets out of position defensively when gambling, and threatens penetration while Williams man drips out to the perimeter. Instead of panicking and following his man, Williams calmly stays between his beaten teammate’s player and the basket, stopping him cold and forcing him into a poor decision and a turnover. That summed him up well for me.
If he fell to the Bucks, I’d love to have him just given his potential as a shooter, dogged defensive acumen and attitude to go along with premier passing ability. His assist percentage hit its peak his final season and he sees the floor well. Milwaukee will need forward depth in the years going ahead, so Williams falling would be an absolute coup. Sadly, I doubt it happens barring some late draft process revelation.
If you’re looking for further, far superior analysis of Williams game, I highly recommend this detailed breakdown at The Stepien. Time for 25.
My pick for the #25 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Matisse Thybulle - SF, Washington
Talen Horton-Tucker - SF, Iowa State
Dylan Windler - SF, Belmont
Nic Claxton - C, Georgia
Jontay Porter - C, Missouri
Carsen Edwards - SG, Purdue
Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Zion Williamson - PF, Duke
- Ja Morant - PG, Murray State
- Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech
- R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke
- Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt
- Coby White - SG, UNC
- De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia
- Cam Reddish - SF, Duke
- Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France
- Nassir Little - SF, UNC
- Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas
- Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga
- Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga
- Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association
- P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
- Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
- Bol Bol - PF, Oregon
- Tyler Herro - SG, Kentucky
- Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Virginia Tech
- Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC
- Ty Jerome - SG, Virginia
- Keldon Johnson - SF, Kentucky
- Grant Williams - PF, Tennessee